Quotations From SIMONE WEIL

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  • 1.
    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 (1909-1943), French philosopher, mystic. repr. In Simone Weil: An Anthology, ed. Sian Miles, trans. by Mary McCarthy (1986). "The Iliad or the Poem of Force," Cahiers du Sud (Marseilles, Dec. 1940/Jan. 1941).

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  • 2.
    Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in this world but people capable of giving them their attention.
    Simone Weil (1909-1943), French philosopher, mystic. "Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies," Waiting on God (1950). Also see Weil's comment under "sympathy."

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  • 3.
    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 (1909-1943), French philosopher, mystic. "The Great Beast: Conclusion," (written 1939-1940), published in Selected Essays, ed. Richard Rees (1962).
  • 4.
    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 (1909-1943), French philosopher, mystic. "The Great Beast," pt. 3, Selected Essays, ed. Richard Rees (1962).

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  • 5.
    Whatever debases the intelligence degrades the entire human being.
    Simone Weil (1909-1943), French philosopher, mystic. Letter, March 30, 1936. Seventy Letters (1965).
  • 6.
    In struggling against anguish one never produces serenity; the struggle against anguish only produces new forms of anguish.
    Simone Weil (1909-1943), French philosopher, mystic. Draft of letter to André Weil, 1940. Seventy Letters, pt. 2, no. 39 (1965).
  • 7.
    A self-respecting nation is ready for anything, including war, except for a renunciation of its option to make war.
    Simone Weil (1909-1943), French philosopher, mystic. repr. In Selected Essays, ed. Richard Rees (1962). "The Power of Words," Nouveaux Cahiers (April 1 and 15, 1937).

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  • 8.
    Nothing can have as its destination anything other than its origin. The contrary idea, the idea of progress, is poison.
    Simone Weil (1909-1943), French philosopher, mystic. "The New York Notebook," 1942, First and Last Notebooks, ed. Richard Rees (1970).
  • 9.
    Life does not need to mutilate itself in order to be pure.
    Simone Weil (1909-1943), French philosopher, mystic. Published in First and Last Notebooks, ed. Richard Rees (1970). The Pre-War Notebook (1933-1939).

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  • 10.
    The poison of skepticism becomes, like alcoholism, tuberculosis, and some other diseases, much more virulent in a hitherto virgin soil.
    Simone Weil (1909-1943), French philosopher, mystic. "East and West," (written 1943), first published in Selected Essays, ed. Richard Rees (1962).
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