'Ff'lo (fflo) wrote,
'Ff'lo
fflo

poor substitute

I'm reading about Simone Weil. Pretty sure she's the right Simone.

I am a woman of steel.

Below is something from a worth-a-read (great draw-you-in opening) review Susan Sontag did in 1963 of a posthumously-published book of Weil's essays. Actually it looks like this review appeared in the first-ever issue of the New York Review of Books: Volume 1, Number 1. At one point Sontag refers to Weil's "anguished and unconsummated love affair with the Catholic Church," which is a fun/funny way of putting it. Anyway, here's the excerpt I'm 'cerptin' for ya:

Some lives are exemplary, others not; and of exemplary lives, there are those which invite us to imitate them, and those which we regard from a distance with a mixture of revulsion, pity, and reverence. It is, roughly, the difference between the hero and the saint (if one may use the latter term in an aesthetic, rather than a religious sense). Such a life, absurd in its exaggerations and degree of self-mutilation — like Kleist's, like Kierkegaard's — was Simone Weil's. I am thinking of the fanatical asceticism of Simone Weil's life, her contempt for pleasure and for happiness, her noble and ridiculous political gestures, her elaborate self-denials, her tireless courting of affliction; and I do not exclude her homeliness, her physical clumsiness, her migraines, her tuberculosis. No one who loves life would wish to imitate her dedication to martyrdom nor would wish it for his children nor for anyone else whom he loves. Yet so far as we love seriousness, as well as life, we are moved by it, nourished by it. In the respect we pay to such lives, we acknowledge the presence of mystery in the world — and mystery is just what the secure possession of the truth, an objective truth, denies. In this sense, all truth is superficial; and some (but not all) distortions of the truth, some (but not all) insanity, some (but not all) unhealthiness, some (but not all) denials of life are truth-giving, sanity-producing, health-creating, and life-enhancing.
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