simone weil – balance and lever

simone weil gravity and graceThe cross as a balance, as a lever. A going down, the condition of a rising up. Heaven coming down to earth raises earth to heaven.

A lever. We lower when we want to lift. In the same way ‘he who humbleth himself shall be exalted’. There are necessity and laws in the realm of grace likewise. Even hell has its laws (Goethe). So has heaven.

A strict necessity which excludes all that is arbitrary or dependent on chance rules over mathematical phenomena. Although they are free, there is if possible even less arbitrariness and chance in spiritual matters.

One—the smallest of the numbers.
‘The One that alone is wise.’ That is the infinite. A number which increases thinks that it is getting near to infinity. It is receding from it. We must stoop in order to rise.
If  is God, is the devil.

It is human misery and not pleasure which contains the secret of the divine wisdom. All pleasure-seeking is the search for an artificial paradise, an intoxication, an enlargement. But it gives us nothing except the experience that it is vain. Only the contemplation of our limitations and our misery puts us on a higher plane. ‘Whosoever humbleth himself shall be exalted.’

The upward movement in us is vain (and less than vain) if it does not come from a downward movement.

Statera facta corporis. It is the crucified body which is a true balance, the body reduced to its point in time and space.

We must not judge. We must be like the Father in heaven who does not judge: by him beings judge themselves. We must let all beings come to us, and leave them to judge themselves. We must be a balance. Then we shall not be judged, having become an image of the true judge who does not judge.

When the whole universe weighs upon us there is no other counterweight possible but God himself—the true God, for in this case false gods cannot do anything, not even under the name of the true one. Evil is infinite in the sense of being indefinite: matter, space, time. Nothing can overcome this kind of infinity except the true infinity. That is why on the balance of the cross a body which was frail and light but which was God, lifted up the whole world. ‘Give me a point of leverage and I will lift up the world.’ This point of leverage is the cross. There can be no other. It has to be at the intersection of the world and that which is not the world. The cross is this intersection.

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Excerpted from Simone Weil‘s Gravity and Grace. First French edition 1947. Translated by Emma Crawford. English language edition 1963. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.

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