Simone Weil

Paris, 1909 – Ashford, 1943

"El que sabem per endavant és que la vida serà menys inhumana en la mesura en què la capacitat individual de pensar i d’actuar sigui major"

Simone Weil was a deeply committed political thinker and a leading figure in the most dramatic events that determined the history of the first half of the 20th century, as well as one of the greatest mystics of that century. She was the author of a considerably complex and exceptionally dense oeuvre.

Amongst the most distinguishing features of her work, as well as the most problematic, we find her commitment to truth, which she understands as the “glimmer of the real”, a commitment which is expressed by her unconditional love of reality and the ruthless clarity with which she describes it. The effort to be authentic that defines her as an intellectual grants her writing universal reach. Such feature is itself compatible with the biographical trait of her writings, which originates from the fact that her thought is rooted in experience. This experience is the link between the political dimension of her contribution to Western thought and her experience of the supernatural. There is no aspect of her biography that is unconnected to her theoretical decision of adhering to the real, as well as to her ethical and political commitment of transforming it. Her idea of reality is forged by her contact with it and the realization of the demands it imposes on us.

Weil’s experiences—of her readings and studies, of factory and land work, of political and union life, of the war in Spain, as well as of God—are always extreme experiences. She experiences a reality which imposes itself on us with its necessities and that shapes the development of her thought into two main biographical and theoretical spheres—political life and religion—that intersect each other. We speak of two spheres of experience which are clearly distinguishable. The political the is continuously present throughout her trajectory; her activity in this field is rooted in the decision to be at the center of events, even if the consequences of such a decision are unpredictable. Her experience of these consequences shapes her conception of reality, the human being, and social life, as well as constitutes the medium from which she gathers the basis for her reflections and to which she permanently addresses her theoretical work. Weil’s religious experience, however, comes first. It is originally a mystical, exceptional and indescribable experience which remains as an irreducible element that sheds a particular light on her thought and her work.

Selected Works

1949, L’Enracinement, Paris: Gallimard.

1950, Attente de Dieu, Paris: La Colombe.

1951, La condition ouvrière, Paris: Gallimard.

1953, La source grecque, Paris: Gallimard.

1980, Réflexions sur les causes de la liberté et de l’oppression sociale, Paris: Gallimard.

Seconday Literature

BEA, Emilia (ed.), 2010, Simone Weil. La conciencia del dolor y de la belleza, Madrid: Trotta.

BIRULÉS, Fina & RIUS GATELL, Rosa (eds.), 2013, Lectoras de Simone Weil, Barcelona: Icaria.

CANCIANI, Domenico, 1996, Simone Weil. Il coraggio di pensare, Roma: Lavoro.

CHENAVIER, Robert, 2001, Simone Weil. Una philosophie du travail, Paris: du Cerf.

DIOTIMA, 1990, Simone Weil. La provocazione della verità, Naples: Liguori.

FIORI, Gabriella, 1981, Biografia di un pensiero, Milan: Garzanti.

PÉTREMENT, Simone, 1973, La vie de Simone Weil, Paris: Fayard.

REVILLA, Carmen (ed.), 1995, Simone Weil. Descifrar el silencio del mundo, Madrid: Trotta.

REVILLA, Carmen, 2003, Simone Weil. Nombrar la experiencia, Madrid: Trotta.