Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

— Simone Weil

The most unconventional Simone Weil quotes that are glad to read

We must not wish for the disappearance of our troubles but for the grace to transform them.


Pain and suffering are a kind of currency passed from hand to hand until they reach someone who receives them but does not pass them on.


There are only two things that pierce the human heart. One is beauty. The other is affliction.


Just as the power of the sun is the only force in the natural universe that causes a plant to grow against gravity, so the grace of God is the only force in the spiritual universe that causes a person to grow against the gravity of their own ego.


The beautiful is that which we cannot wish to change.


If you want to know what a man is really like, take notice of how he acts when he loses money.


A hurtful act is the transference to others of the degradation which we bear in ourselves.


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


The needs of a human being are sacred.

Their satisfaction cannot be subordinated either to reasons of state, or to any consideration of money, nationality, race, or color, or to the moral or other value attributed to the human being in question, or to any consideration whatsoever.


The joy of learning is as indispensable in study as breathing is in running.


Real genius is nothing else but the supernatural virtue of humility in the domain of thought.


The afflicted are not listened to. They are like someone whose tongue has been cut out and who occasionally forgets the fact. When they move their lips no ear perceives any sound. And they themselves soon sink into impotence in the use of language, because of the certainty of not being heard.


About Simone Weil

Quotes 372 sayings
Nationality French
Profession Philosopher
Birthday February 3, 1909

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.


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.


What a country calls its vital economic interests are not the things which enable its citizens to live, but the things which enable it to make war. Petrol is more likely than wheat to be a cause of international conflict.


The vulnerability of precious things is beautiful because vulnerability is a mark of existence. The destruction of Troy. The fall of the petals from fruit trees in blossom. To know that what is most precious is not rooted in existence - that is beautiful.


Stars and blossoming fruit-trees: utter permanence and extreme fragility give an equal sense of eternity.


The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say, "What are you going through?


Love consents to all and commands only those who consent. Love is abdication. God is abdication.


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


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


Official history is a matter of believing murderers on their own word.


For when two beings who are not friends are near each other there is no meeting, and when friends are far apart there is no separation.


When a man's life is destroyed or damaged by some wound or privation of soul or body, which is due to other men's actions or negligence, it is not only his sensibility that suffers but also his aspiration toward the good. Therefore there has been sacrilege towards that which is sacred in him.


A man thinks he is dying for his country," said Anatole France, "but he is dying for a few industrialists." But even that is saying too much. What one dies for is not even so substantial and tangible as an industrialist.


To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.


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


Human existence is so fragile a thing and exposed to such dangers that I cannot love without trembling.


Justice consists in seeing that no harm is done to men.

Whenever a man cries inwardly: 'Why am I being hurt?' harm is being done to him. He is often mistaken when he tries to define the harm, and why and by whom it is being inflicted on him. But the cry itself is infallible.


Beauty captivates the flesh in order to obtain permission to pass right through to the soul. . . . When the feeling for beauty happens to be associated with the sight of some human being, the transference of love is made possible, at any rate in an illusory manner. But it is all the beauty of the world, it is universal beauty, for which we yearn.


Whenever one tries to suppress doubt , there is tyranny .


Imaginary evil is romantic and varied;

real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.


The sea is not less beautiful in our eyes because we know that sometimes ships are wrecked by it.


Love is not consolation, it is light.


Just as a person who is always asserting that he is too good-natured is the very one from whom to expect, on some occasion, the coldest and most unconcerned cruelty, so when any group sees itself as the bearer of civilization this very belief will betray it into behaving barbarously at the first opportunity.


The beauty of the world is Christ's tender smile for us coming through matter.


In struggling against anguish one never produces serenity;

the struggle against anguish only produces new forms of anguish.


Difficult as it is really to listen to someone in affliction, it is just as difficult for him to know that compassion is listening to him.


The joy of learning is as indispensable in study as breathing is in running.

Where it is lacking there are no real students, but only poor caricatures of apprentices who, at the end of their apprenticeship, will not even have a trade.


To be a hero or a heroine, one must give an order to oneself.


It is an eternal obligation toward the human being not to let him suffer from hunger when one has a chance of coming to his assistance.


At the centre of the human heart is the longing for an absolute good, a longing which is always there and is never appeased by any object in this world.


Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in this world but people capable of giving them their attention.


Every perfect life is a parable invented by God.


When once a certain class of people has been placed by the temporal and spiritual authorities outside the ranks of those whose life has value, then nothing comes more naturally to men than murder.


Love: To feel with one's whole self the existence of another being.


Patriotism is idolatry of the self.


Science is voiceless; it is the scientists who talk.


There is something else which has the power to awaken us to the truth.

It is the works of writers of genius. They give us, in the guise of fiction, something equivalent to the actual density of the real, that density which life offers us every day but which we are unable to grasp because we are amusing ourselves with lies.