Review of ‘The Simone Weil Handbook’ by Jacqueline Pearson

I had never heard of Simone Weil until I read a book review of ‘The Visionaries: Arendt, Beauvoir, Rand and Weil’ by Wolfgang Eilenberger in The Economist magazine.
The comments about Weil piqued my interest. There is a lot to read about her, so I started with this short book by Jacqueline Pearson. It has whet my appetite and I will definitely seek more.

It is a quick, easy read and I recommend it for anyone like me who doesn’t know where to start.
She had such a short, tragic life. That Albert Camus thought so highly of her influenced me. He said in 1950 she was ‘The only great mind of our time’, and had created ‘a body of work whose full impact we can as yet only guess’.
I feel this book opens a door to a wonderful adventure.

Below is a short collection of Weil’s quotes that affected me.
So many wonderful quotes.

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

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.

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

All sins are attempts to fill voids.

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

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

Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.

Liberty, taking the word in its concrete sense, consists in the ability to choose.

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

I definitely give this book five stars.

Review of ‘The Simone Weil Handbook’ by Jacqueline Pearson
ISBN 9781489125095

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September 5, 2023