Friday, August 23, 2013

Simone Weil and the 2013 Federal Election

Today  we mark the 70th anniversary of the death of Simone Weil. For many years now I have carried around a copy of her "Gateway to God" as a treasured text.It will be my reading companion for this weekend

Simone Weil's appeal is that she speaks to both contemporary politics and  to Catholicism. Her biography defies a Readers Digest easy grab. She has been described variously as a French philosopher, Christian mystic and  political activist.She lived her life in extremes of asceticism, tragedy and what the New York Times describes as a "tormented relationship with the Roman Catholic Church".

Albert Canus decribed her as " the only great spirit of our times" A meta study from the University of Calgary found that between 1995 and 2012 over 2,500 new scholarly works had been published about her.

I suggest that for Australians this anniversary provides an opportunity to bring a bit of mature reflection into the juvenile antics offered as the 2013 Federal Election campaign.A new edition of Weil's "On the Abolition of All Political Parties" has recently been published by Black Inc. The translator of the text is Simon Leys. Will Heyward has an excellent review here. You can also read an extract of the text thanks to the Melbourne Review here. You will now be armed with some pretty mind numbing questions for your local candidates.

Simone Weil Quotes
Simone Weil on goodreads
Simone Weil wikiquotes
Simone Weil by Susan Sontag

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