Simone Weil

Simone Weil

Simone Weil (3 February 1909 – 24 August 1943) was a French philosopher, mystic, and political activist. Weil wrote throughout her life, though most of her writings did not attract much attention until after her death. In the 1950s and 1960s, her work became famous on continental Europe and throughout the English-speaking world. Her thought has continued to be the subject of extensive scholarship across a wide range of fields.

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Nothing is less instructive than a machine.

A hurtful act is the transference to others of the degradation which we bear in ourselves.

Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing, it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed to feel with them one cannot understand.

Nothing can have as its destination anything other than its origin. The contrary idea the idea of progress is poison.

Culture is an instrument wielded by teachers to manufacture teachers who in their turn will manufacture still more teachers.

With no matter what human being taken individually I always find reasons for concluding that sorrow and misfortune do not suit him, either because he seems too mediocre for anything so great or on the contrary too precious to be destroyed.

Imagination is always the fabric of social life and the dynamic of history. The influence of real needs and compulsions of real interests and materials is indirect, because the crowd is never conscious of it.

As soon as men know that they can kill without fear of punishment or blame they kill, or at least they encourage killers with approving smiles.

All sins are attempts to fill voids.

When a contradiction is impossible to resolve except by a lie then we know that it is really a door.

To set up as a standard of public morality a notion which can neither be defined nor conceived is to open the door to every kind of tyranny.

I am not a Catholic, but I consider the Christian idea which has its roots in Greek thought and in the course of the centuries has nourished all of our European civilization as something that one cannot renounce without becoming degraded.

I can therefore I am.

We can only know one thing about God - that he is what we are not. Our wretchedness alone is an image of this. The more we contemplate it the more we contemplate him.

The role of the intelligence - that part of us which affirms and denies and formulates opinions is merely to submit.

The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made into an object of affirmation and negation when in reality they should be an object of contemplation.

Who were the fools who spread the story that brute force cannot kill ideas? Nothing is easier. And once they are dead, they are no more than corpses.

The highest ecstasy is the attention at its fullest.

The destruction of the past is perhaps the greatest of all crimes.

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