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Simone Weil

Geburtstag: 3. Februar 1909
Todesdatum: 24. August 1943
Andere Namen: Simone Weilová

Simone Adolphine Weil [ˌsiˈmɔn ˌadɔlˈfin ˈvɛj] war eine französische Philosophin, Dozentin und Lehrerin sowie Sozialrevolutionärin jüdischer Abstammung. Sie war politisch und sozial stark engagiert und hat Aktion und Kontemplation verbunden. Ihr Bruder war der Mathematiker André Weil.

Zunächst war sie eine agnostisch orientierte Gewerkschafterin und gleichwohl Kritikerin des Marxismus. Später entwickelte sie sich zu einer bekannten Mystikerin. Die Einheit von Politik und Religion gab sie niemals auf. Das Leben betrachtete sie als eine Suche nach dem Absoluten. Ihr Denken war von christlicher Mystik sowie von platonischen und buddhistischen Ansichten geprägt, darüber hinaus auch von der jüdischen Tradition, wozu sie sich aber nicht bekannte. Auf sie geht der Gedanke der „décréation“ zurück, der „totalen Selbstentäußerung des Menschen vor Gott“.

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Zitate Simone Weil

„Words like virtue, nobility, honor, honesty, generosity, have become almost impossible to use or else they have acquired bastard meanings; language is no longer equipped for legitimately praising a man’s character.“

—  Simone Weil

“The responsibility of writers,” p. 168
On Science, Necessity, and the Love of God (1968)
Kontext: Such words as spontaneity, sincerity, gratuitousness, richness, enrichment — words which imply an almost total indifference to contrasts of value — have come more often from their [the surrealists’] pens than words which contain a reference to good and evil. Moreover, this latter class of words has become degraded, especially those which refer to the good, as Valéry remarked some years ago. Words like virtue, nobility, honor, honesty, generosity, have become almost impossible to use or else they have acquired bastard meanings; language is no longer equipped for legitimately praising a man’s character.

„The surrealists have set up non-oriented thought as a model; they have chosen the total absence of value as their supreme value.“

—  Simone Weil

“The responsibility of writers,” p. 167
On Science, Necessity, and the Love of God (1968)
Kontext: Dadaism and surrealism … represented the intoxication of total license, the intoxication in which the mind wallows when it has made a clean sweep of value and surrendered to the immediate. The good is the pole towards which the human spirit is necessarily oriented, not only in action but in every effort, including the effort of pure intelligence. The surrealists have set up non-oriented thought as a model; they have chosen the total absence of value as their supreme value. Men have always been intoxicated by license, which is why, throughout history, towns have been sacked. But there has not always been a literary equivalent for the sacking of towns. Surrealism is such an equivalent.

„Friendship is not to be sought, not to be dreamed, not to be desired; it is to be exercised (it is a virtue).“

—  Simone Weil

p. 274
Love (1947)
Kontext: To wish to escape from solitude is cowardice. Friendship is not to be sought, not to be dreamed, not to be desired; it is to be exercised (it is a virtue).

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„It would be strange, indeed, that the word of Christ should have produced such results if it had been properly understood.“

—  Simone Weil, Letter to a Priest

Section 9
Letter to a Priest (1951)
Kontext: Besides, it is written that the tree shall be known by its fruits. The Church has borne too many evil fruits for there not to have been some mistake at the beginning. Europe has been spiritually uprooted, cut off from that antiquity in which all the elements of our civilization have their origin; and she has gone about uprooting the other continents from the sixteenth century onwards. Missionary zeal has not Christianized Africa, Asia and Oceania, but has brought these territories under the cold, cruel and destructive domination of the white race, which has trodden down everything. It would be strange, indeed, that the word of Christ should have produced such results if it had been properly understood.

„Every time that a man has, with a pure heart, called upon Osiris, Dionysus, Buddha, the Tao, etc., the Son of God has answered him by sending the Holy Spirit.“

—  Simone Weil, Letter to a Priest

Section 8
Letter to a Priest (1951)
Kontext: Every time that a man has, with a pure heart, called upon Osiris, Dionysus, Buddha, the Tao, etc., the Son of God has answered him by sending the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit has acted upon his soul, not by inciting him to abandon his religious tradition, but by bestowing upon him light — and in the best of cases the fullness of light — in the heart of that same religious tradition. … It is, therefore, useless to send out missions to prevail upon the peoples of Asia, Africa or Oceania to enter the Church.

„The proportions of good and evil in any society depend partly upon the proportion of consent to that of refusal and partly upon the distribution of power between those who consent and those who refuse.“

—  Simone Weil

Draft for a Statement of Human Obligation (1943)
Kontext: The proportions of good and evil in any society depend partly upon the proportion of consent to that of refusal and partly upon the distribution of power between those who consent and those who refuse.
If any power of any kind is in the hands of a man who has not given total, sincere, and enlightened consent to this obligation such power is misplaced.
If a man has willfully refused to consent, then it is in itself a criminal activity for him to exercise any function, major or minor, public or private, which gives him control over people's lives. All those who, with knowledge of his mind, have acquiesced in his exercise of the function are accessories to the crime.
Any State whose whole official doctrine constitutes an incitement to this crime is itself wholly criminal. It can retain no trace of legitimacy.
Any State whose official doctrine is not primarily directed against this crime in all its forms is lacking in full legitimacy.
Any legal system which contains no provisions against this crime is without the essence of legality. Any legal system which provides against some forms of this crime but not others is without the full character of legality.
Any government whose members commit this crime, or authorize it in their subordinates, has betrayed its function.

„Men of the most brilliant intelligence can be born, live and die in error and falsehood.“

—  Simone Weil

p. 69
Human Personality (1943)
Kontext: If a captive mind is unaware of being in prison, it is living in error. If it has recognized the fact, even for the tenth of a second, and then quickly forgotten it in order to avoid suffering, it is living in falsehood. Men of the most brilliant intelligence can be born, live and die in error and falsehood. In them, intelligence is neither a good, nor even an asset. The difference between more or less intelligent men is like the difference between criminals condemned to life imprisonment in smaller or larger cells. The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like a condemned man who is proud of his large cell.

„There is a reality outside the world, that is to say, outside space and time, outside man's mental universe, outside any sphere whatsoever that is accessible to human faculties.“

—  Simone Weil

Draft for a Statement of Human Obligation (1943)
Kontext: There is a reality outside the world, that is to say, outside space and time, outside man's mental universe, outside any sphere whatsoever that is accessible to human faculties.
Corresponding to this reality, at the centre of the human heart, is the longing for an absolute good, a longing which is always there and is never appeased by any object in this world.
Another terrestrial manifestation of this reality lies in the absurd and insoluble contradictions which are always the terminus of human thought when it moves exclusively in this world.
Just as the reality of this world is the sole foundation of facts, so that other reality is the sole foundation of good.
That reality is the unique source of all the good that can exist in this world: that is to say, all beauty, all truth, all justice, all legitimacy, all order, and all human behaviour that is mindful of obligations.
Those minds whose attention and love are turned towards that reality are the sole intermediary through which good can descend from there and come among men.
Although it is beyond the reach of any human faculties, man has the power of turning his attention and love towards it.
Nothing can ever justify the assumption that any man, whoever he may be, has been deprived of this power.
It is a power which is only real in this world in so far as it is exercised. The sole condition for exercising it is consent.
This act of consent may be expressed, or it may not be, even tacitly; it may not be clearly conscious, although it has really taken place in the soul. Very often it is verbally expressed although it has not in fact taken place. But whether expressed or not, the one condition suffices: that it shall in fact have taken place.
To anyone who does actually consent to directing his attention and love beyond the world, towards the reality that exists outside the reach of all human faculties, it is given to succeed in doing so. In that case, sooner or later, there descends upon him a part of the good, which shines through him upon all that surrounds him.

„The reality of this world is necessity. The part of man which is in this world is the part which is in bondage to necessity and subject to the misery of need.“

—  Simone Weil

Draft for a Statement of Human Obligation (1943)
Kontext: The respect inspired by the link between man and the reality alien to this world can make itself evident to that part of man which belongs to the reality of this world.
The reality of this world is necessity. The part of man which is in this world is the part which is in bondage to necessity and subject to the misery of need.
The one possibility of indirect expression of respect for the human being is offered by men's needs, the needs of the soul and of the body, in this world.

„It is not in a person's nature to desire what he already has. Desire is a tendency, the start of a movement toward something, toward a point from which one is absent.“

—  Simone Weil

p. 245
Prerequisite to Dignity of Labour (1957)
Kontext: It is not in a person's nature to desire what he already has. Desire is a tendency, the start of a movement toward something, toward a point from which one is absent. If, at the very outset, this movement doubles back on itself toward its point of departure, a person turns round and round like a squirrel in a cage or a prisoner in a condemned cell. Constant turning soon produces revulsion. All workers, especially though not exclusively those who work under inhumane conditions, are easily the victims of revulsion, exhaustion and disgust and the strongest are often the worst affected.

„Rights are always asserted in a tone of contention; and when this tone is adopted, it must rely upon force in the background, or else it will be laughed at.“

—  Simone Weil

p. 61
Human Personality (1943)
Kontext: The notion of rights is linked with the notion of sharing out, of exchange, of measured quantity. It has a commercial flavor, essentially evocative of legal claims and arguments. Rights are always asserted in a tone of contention; and when this tone is adopted, it must rely upon force in the background, or else it will be laughed at.

„Among those in whom the supernatural part of themselves has not been awakened, the atheists are right and the believers wrong.“

—  Simone Weil

"Faiths of Meditation; Contemplation of the divine" as translated in The Simone Weil Reader (1957) edited by George A. Panichas, p. 417
Kontext: Religion in so far as it is a source of consolation is a hindrance to true faith; and in this sense atheism is a purification. I have to be an atheist with that part of myself which is not made for God. Among those in whom the supernatural part of themselves has not been awakened, the atheists are right and the believers wrong.

„To believe that the desire for good is always fulfilled — that is faith, and whoever has it is not an atheist.“

—  Simone Weil

Last Notebook (1942) p. 137
First and Last Notebooks (1970)
Kontext: In order to obey God, one must receive his commands. How did it happen that I received them in adolescence, while I was professing atheism? To believe that the desire for good is always fulfilled — that is faith, and whoever has it is not an atheist.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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