Simone Weil – Malheur
DOI link for Simone Weil – Malheur
Simone Weil – Malheur book
This chapter explores the life and work of French philosopher and activist Simone Weil and focuses on the theme of malheur as a practice of presence. Weil’s philosophy is centred around personal experiences of inadequacy, tension and suffering in early twentieth-century France. It specifically flags the workings and effects of party politics and bureaucratic systems, for having separated the individual from her own capacity to think and judge. Weil’s life and work, then, may be seen as an attempt to restore adequacy: an existence conscious in between gravity on the one hand, the brute forces of reality, and grace on the other hand, the ability to see and respond to an order within an enveloping reality, that is not of human making. From this issue her ideas for an alternative form of community. Specifically, this chapter discusses how malheur, a state worse than suffering, rather a forlornness and meaninglessness, constitutes for Weil nonetheless an appropriate practice of presence: it makes God and the Good visible precisely in revealing their absence. Weil showcases the most drastic antidote to externalisation: the dissolving of the self.