S. Weil

Quotes

A doctrine serves no purpose in itself, but it is indispensable to have one if only to avoid being deceived by false doctrines.
Simone Weil

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

A mind enclosed in language is in prison.
Simone Weil

A science which does not bring us nearer to God is worthless.
Simone Weil

A self-respecting nation is ready for anything, including war, except for a renunciation of its option to make war.
Simone Weil

A test of what is real is that it is hard and rough. Joys are found in it, not pleasure. What is pleasant belongs to dreams.
Simone Weil

All sins are attempts to fill voids.
Simone Weil

An atheist may be simply one whose faith and love are concentrated on the impersonal aspects of God.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached.
Simone Weil

Beauty always promises, but never gives anything.
Simone Weil

Charity. To love human beings in so far as they are nothing. That is to love them as God does.
Simone Weil

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

Difficult as it is really to listen to someone in affliction, it is just as difficult for him to know that compassion is listening to him.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

Every perfect life is a parable invented by God.
Simone Weil

Every time that I think of the crucifixion of Christ, I commit the sin of envy.
Simone Weil

Evil being the root of mystery, pain is the root of knowledge.
Evil, when we are in its power, is not felt as evil, but as a necessity, even a duty.
Simone Weil

For when two beings who are not friends are near each other there is no meeting, and when friends are far apart there is no separation.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty, liberty, and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace.
Simone Weil

Humility is attentive patience.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

I can, therefore I am.
Simone Weil

I suffer more from the humiliations inflicted by my country than from those inflicted on her.
Simone Weil

I would suggest that barbarism be considered as a permanent and universal human characteristic which becomes more or less pronounced according to the play of circumstances.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

If we are suffering illness, poverty, or misfortune, we think we shall be satisfied on the day it ceases. But there too, we know it is false; so soon as one has got used to not suffering one wants something else.
Simone Weil

Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

In struggling against anguish one never produces serenity; the struggle against anguish only produces new forms of anguish.
Simone Weil

In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock!
Simone Weil

In the Church, considered as a social organism, the mysteries inevitably degenerate into beliefs.
Simone Weil

In the intellectual order, the virtue of humility is nothing more nor less than the power of attention.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

It is not the cause for which men took up arms that makes a victory more just or less, it is the order that is established when arms have been laid down.
Simone Weil

It is only the impossible that is possible for God. He has given over the possible to the mechanics of matter and the autonomy of his creatures.
Simone Weil

Life does not need to mutilate itself in order to be pure.
Simone Weil

More than in any other performing arts the lack of respect for acting seems to spring from the fact that every layman considers himself a valid critic.
Simone Weil

Most works of art, like most wines, ought to be consumed in the district of their fabrication.
Simone Weil

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

Nothing is less instructive than a machine.
Simone Weil

One cannot imagine St. Francis of Assisi talking about rights.
Simone Weil

Oppression that is clearly inexorable and invincible does not give rise to revolt but to submission.
Simone Weil

Petroleum is a more likely cause of international conflict than wheat.
Simone Weil

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

The contemporary form of true greatness lies in a civilization founded on the spirituality of work.
Simone Weil

The danger is not lest the soul should doubt whether there is any bread, but lest, by a lie, it should persuade itself that it is not hungry.
Simone Weil

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

The future is made of the same stuff as the present.
Simone Weil

The highest ecstasy is the attention at its fullest.
Simone Weil

The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like the condemned man who is proud of his large cell.
Simone Weil

The most important part of teaching is to teach what it is to know.
Simone Weil

The most important part of teaching; to teach what it is to know.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

The only hope of socialism resides in those who have already brought about in themselves, as far as is possible in the society of today, that union between manual and intellectual labor which characterizes the society we are aiming at.
Simone Weil

The only way into truth is through one’s own annihilation; through dwelling a long time in a state of extreme and total humiliation.
Simone Weil

The poison of skepticism becomes, like alcoholism, tuberculosis, and some other diseases, much more virulent in a hitherto virgin soil.
Simone Weil

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

There can be a true grandeur in any degree of submissiveness, because it springs from loyalty to the laws and to an oath, and not from baseness of soul.
Simone Weil

There is no detachment where there is no pain. And there is no pain endured without hatred or lying unless detachment is present too.
Simone Weil

There is one, and only one, thing in modern society more hideous than crime namely, repressive justice.
Simone Weil

Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in this world but people capable of giving them their attention.
Simone Weil

To be a hero or a heroine, one must give an order to oneself.
Simone Weil

To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.
Simone Weil

To get power over is to defile. To possess is to defile.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

To want friendship is a great fault. Friendship ought to be a gratuitous joy, like the joys afforded by art or life.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

We are like horses who hurt themselves as soon as they pull on their bits – and we bow our heads. We even lose consciousness of the situation, we just submit. Any re-awakening of thought is then painful.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

We must prefer real hell to an imaginary paradise.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

What a country calls its vital… interests are not things that help its people live, but things that help it make war.
Simone Weil

Whatever debases the intelligence degrades the entire human being.
Simone Weil

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

When once a certain class of people has been placed by the temporal and spiritual authorities outside the ranks of those whose life has value, then nothing comes more naturally to men than murder.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

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.
Simone Weil

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