Simone Weil: Attention as Generosity


Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

Simone Weil (1909-1943; pronounced vay) was an extraordinary person. If you do not know her life story, I highly recommend watching Julia Haslett’s moving and deeply personal movie, “An Encounter with Simone Weil.” The movie opens with the filmmaker channelling Weil to ask, “What response does seeing human suffering demand of us?” 

Weil believed it demanded virtually all that we had to give: “always do what will cost you the most.” Her unflinching commitment to activism on behalf of “the afflicted” was a factor in her early death. It is not clear exactly how she died. It seems to have been tuberculosis exacerbated by poor nutrition. One story surrounding her death is wholly consistent with the way she lived. The story goes that on diagnosing her illness, Weil’s doctor ordered her to rest and to eat well–the only known remedies…

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This entry was posted in Being Human, mindworks, Other peoples words, paying attention, philosophy, sympathy and empahty, thinking in words and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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