The French Way I - French Philosophy I - Simone Weil

Human Personality - Published posthumously in 1950
Simone Weil (1909-1943 AD)

If a captive mind is unaware of being in prison, it is living in error. If it has recognized the fact, even for the tenth of a second, and then quickly forgotten it in order to avoid suffering, it is living in falsehood. Men of the most brilliant intelligence can be born, live and die in error and falsehood. In them, intelligence is neither a good, nor even an asset. The difference between more or less intelligent men is like the difference between criminals condemned to life imprisonment in smaller or larger cells. The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like a condemned man who is proud of his large cell.

Posted by Veritas

From Simone Weil: An Anthology by Siân Miles.

In this essay Weil maintains that there is something sacred at the center of every human being - and that sacred center is not the personality, that combination of attitudes and habits produced by historical circumstances. No, it is divine spark, an impersonal core that enables human beings to produce Gregorian chant, Romanesque architecture, the Illiad. Those who are unaware of this inner spark are reduced to considering themselves the products of social forces. And they are trapped in language, as captive minds.
- The Poet's Work: An Introduction to Czeslaw Milosz by Leonard Nathan, Arthur Quinn.

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