Thursday, November 07, 2013

Weil:Two types of people:eaters and lookers


“Man’s great affliction, which begins with infancy and accompanies him till death, is that looking and eating are two different operations. Eternal beatitude is a state where to look is to eat.” link

See also:
(In "Forms of the Implicit Love of God," Simone Weil stresses that although direct contact with God is rare, God is secretly present here below in religious ceremonies, our neighbor, friendship, and the beauty of the world. The following concerns that beauty:)

And yet at the present time ... the beauty of the world is almost the only way by which we can allow God to penetrate us.... a sense of beauty, although mutilated, ... is present in all the preoccpations of secular life. If it were made true and pure, it would sweep away all secular life in a body to the feet of God....

... The soul’s natural inclination to love beauty is the trap God most frequently uses in order to win it.... The beauty of the world is the mouth of a labyrinth....

The beauty of the world is the co-operation of divine wisdom in creation. "Zeus made all things," says an Orphic line, "and Bacchus perfected them." ... The beauty of the world is Christ’s tender smile for us coming through the matter. He is really present in the universal beauty. The love of beauty proceeds from God dwelling in our souls and goes out to the God dwelling in the universe. It is also like a sacrament.

This is only true of universal beauty. With the exception of God, nothing short of the universe as a whole can with complete accuracy be called beautiful. All that is in the universe and is less than the universe can be called beautiful only if we extend the word beyond its strict limits and apply it to things that share indirectly in the beauty, things that are imitations of it.
All these secondary kinds of beauty are of infinite value as openings to universal beauty. But, if we stop short at them, they are, on the contrary, veils; then they corrupt. They all have in them more or less of this temptation, but in very different degrees.

There are also a number of seductive factors that have nothing whatever to do with beauty but which cause the things in which they are present to be called beautiful through lack of discernment; for these things attract love by fraud, and all men, even the most ignorant, even the vilest of them, know that beauty alone has a right to our love. The most truly great know it too....

Beauty is the only finality here below. As Kant said very aptly, it is a finality which involves no objective. A beautiful thing involves no good except itself, in its totality, as it appears to us. We are drawn toward it without knowing what to ask of it. It offers its own existence. We do not desire something else, we possess it, and yet we still desire something. We do not know in the least what it is. We want to get behind beauty, but it is only a surface. It is like a mirror that sends us back our own desire for goodness. It is a sphinx, an enigma, a mystery which is painfully tantalizing. We should like to feed upon it, but it is only something to look at; it appears only from a certain distance. The great trouble in human life is that looking and eating are two different operations. Only beyond the sky, in the country inhabited by God, are they one and the same operation. ... It may be that vice, depravity and crime are nearly always ... in their essence, attempts to eat beauty, to eat what we should only look at. link

Link: Simone Weil, Attention or Destruction: The Paradox of the Eucharist 

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