Quotes by Simone Weil

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Simone Weil (February 3, 1909August 24, 1943) was a French philosopher and mystic.

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Real genius is nothing else but the supernatural virtue of humility in the domain of thought.

The future is made of the same stuff as the present.
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.
Force is as pitiless to the man who possesses it, or thinks he does, as it is to its victims; the second it crushes, the first it intoxicates. The truth is, nobody really possesses it.
There is something else which has the power to awaken us to the truth. It is the works of writers of genius. They give us, in the guise of fiction, something equivalent to the actual density of the real, that density which life offers us every day but which we are unable to grasp because we are amusing ourselves with lies.
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.
Evil is neither suffering nor sin; it is both at the same time, it is something common to them both. For they are linked together; sin makes us suffer and suffering makes us evil, and this indissoluble complex of suffering and sin is the evil in which we are submerged against our will, and to our horror.
Equality is the public recognition, effectively expressed in institutions and manners, of the principle that an equal degree of attention is due to the needs of all human beings.
A man whose mind feels that it is captive would prefer to blind himself to the fact. But if he hates falsehood, he will not do so; and in that case he will have to suffer a lot. He will beat his head against the wall until he faints. He will come to again
The most important part of teaching is to teach what it is to know.
A doctrine serves no purpose in itself, but it is indispensable to have one if only to avoid being deceived by false doctrines.
Nothing can have as its destination anything other than its origin. The contrary idea, the idea of progress, is poison.
The real stumbling-block of totalitarian r?gimes is not the spiritual need of men for freedom of thought; it is men's inability to stand the physical and nervous strain of a permanent state of excitement, except during a few years of their youth.
The payment of debts is necessary for social order. The non-payment is quite equally necessary for social order. For centuries humanity has oscillated, serenely unaware, between these two contradictory necessities.
Culture is an instrument wielded by teachers to manufacture teachers, who, in their turn, will manufacture still more teachers.
Two prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall. The wall is the thing which separates them but is also their means of communication. It is the same with us and God. Every separation is a link.
If Germany, thanks to Hitler and his successors, were to enslave the European nations and destroy most of the treasures of their past, future historians would certainly pronounce that she had civilized Europe.
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.
Charity. To love human beings in so far as they are nothing. That is to love them as God does.
To write the lives of the great in separating them from their works necessarily ends by above all stressing their pettiness, because it is in their work that they have put the best of themselves.
An atheist may be simply one whose faith and love are concentrated on the impersonal aspects of God.
Art is the symbol of the two noblest human efforts: to construct and to refrain from destruction.
It is an eternal obligation toward the human being not to let him suffer from hunger when one has a chance of coming to his assistance.
The needs of a human being are sacred. Their satisfaction cannot be subordinated either to reasons of state, or to any consideration of money, nationality, race, or color, or to the moral or other value attributed to the human being in question, or to any consideration whatsoever.
Misfortunes leave wounds which bleed drop by drop even in sleep; thus little by little they train man by force and dispose him to wisdom in spite of himself. Man must learn to think of himself as a limited and dependent being; and only suffering teaches
What a country calls its vital economic interests are not the things which enable its citizens to live, but the things which enable it to make war. Petrol is more likely than wheat to be a cause of international conflict.
The contemporary form of true greatness lies in a civilization founded on the spirituality of work.