Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Simone Weil

A wise insight from the extraordinary French mystic Simone Weil. She died of anorexia, but that is a bald way to describe a death in which others have found, with whatever justification, deep meaning. Rowan Williams wrote, in a poem in her voice, 'at least I can be light and hungry, hollowing my guts / till I'm a bone the sentenced god can whistle through.'

I have always loved the following bleak, profound statement of hers: The extreme affliction which overtakes human beings does not create human misery, it merely reveals it.

But that is not the axiom which I intended to quote. Instead, it was this which caught my attention:

Each religion is alone true, that is to say, that at the moment we are thinking of it we must bring as much attention to bear on it as if there were nothing else...A "synthesis" of religion implies a lower quality of attention.


Justine said...

That Rowan Williams quote reminds me of a poem by Hafiz - I am a hole in a flute that Gods breath moves through,listen to this music.x

Bo said...

Hm, that is similar. Knowing old RW, I'm sure it was deliberate.

Yvonne said...

Emptiness and fullness, emptiness and fullness.

It's true what she said about needing to focus on one religion and not attempt a synthesis (strangely enough, an axiom of chaos magic) but that shouldn't be used as an excuse for denying the reality of other religions.

Bo said...

I don't think that's what she meant: I think she's making the same point as you are here. Thanks for all your comments!