Quotes by Simone Weil

“We can only know one thing about God - that he is what we are not. Our wretchedness alone is an image of this. The more we contemplate it, the more we contemplate him.”

“To want friendship is a great fault. Friendship ought to be a gratuitous joy, like the joys afforded by art or life.”

“Most works of art, like most wines, ought to be consumed in the district of their fabrication.”

“Beauty always promises, but never gives anything.”

“Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty, liberty, and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace.”

“To write the lives of the great in separating them from their works necessarily ends by above all stressing their pettiness, because it is in their work that they have put the best of themselves.”

“Two prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall. The wall is the thing which separates them but is also their means of communication. It is the same with us and God. Every separation is a link.”

“A test of what is real is that it is hard and rough. Joys are found in it, not pleasure. What is pleasant belongs to dreams.”

“Equality is the public recognition, effectively expressed in institutions and manners, of the principle that an equal degree of attention is due to the needs of all human beings.”

“The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made into an object of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be an object of contemplation.”

“An atheist may be simply one whose faith and love are concentrated on the impersonal aspects of God.”

“As soon as men know that they can kill without fear of punishment or blame, they kill or at least they encourage killers with approving smiles.”

“If Germany, thanks to Hitler and his successors, were to enslave the European nations and destroy most of the treasures of their past, future historians would certainly pronounce that she had civilized Europe.”

“The future is made of the same stuff as the present.”

“A science which does not bring us nearer to God is worthless.”

“Charity. To love human beings in so far as they are nothing. That is to love them as God does.”

“Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions reality can be attained only by someone who is detached.”

“Imagination is always the fabric of social life and the dynamic of history. The influence of real needs and compulsions, of real interests and materials, is indirect because the crowd is never conscious of it.”

“The only hope of socialism resides in those who have already brought about in themselves, as far as is possible in the society of today, that union between manual and intellectual labor which characterizes the society we are aiming at.”

“Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life.”

“The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like the condemned man who is proud of his large cell.”

“The role of the intelligence - that part of us which affirms and denies and formulates opinions is merely to submit.”

“Whatever debases the intelligence degrades the entire human being.”

“Evil being the root of mystery, pain is the root of knowledge.”

“I can, therefore I am.”

“Humility is attentive patience.”

“To get power over is to defile. To possess is to defile.”

“Evil, when we are in its power, is not felt as evil, but as a necessity, even a duty.”

“In the intellectual order, the virtue of humility is nothing more nor less than the power of attention.”

“More than in any other performing arts the lack of respect for acting seems to spring from the fact that every layman considers himself a valid critic.”

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

“The most important part of teaching is to teach what it is to know.”

“The only way into truth is through one's own annihilation through dwelling a long time in a state of extreme and total humiliation.”

“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.”

“A self-respecting nation is ready for anything, including war, except for a renunciation of its option to make war.”

“What a country calls its vital... interests are not things that help its people live, but things that help it make war.”

“The contemporary form of true greatness lies in a civilization founded on the spirituality of work.”

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