This is a guest post by Rebecca Rozelle-Stone and Lucian Stone, the editors of our recent publication on Simone Weil: Relevance of the Radical.
The Roots We Need to Cultivate:
Reflections on The Relevance of the Radical: Simone Weil 100 Year Later
It is more than a little ironic to devote a book of essays to a person who would maintain that the truly great and profound insights and works of beauty we have received from the past are “essentially anonymous.” Simone Weil (1909-1943), the late French philosopher, mystic, and social activist, would no doubt eclipse her personhood on this occasion of her 100th year, were she still alive. It was not uncommon for her to write things like, “May I disappear in order that those things that I see may become perfect in their beauty from the very fact that they are no longer things that I see.”1 However, she never shied from elaborating her thoughts on ethics, religion, politics, force, suffering, work, beauty, and a multitude of other critical issues, and although in our book we reflected on these themes while acknowledging their unity in her life and her writings, the thesis of the collection is the universality – and in that sense, the anonymity – of Weil’s insights.