The only way into truth is through one's own annihilation; through dwelling a long time in a state of extreme and total humiliation.
— Simone Weil
It is not the cause for which men took up arms that makes a victory more just or less, it is the order that is established when arms have been laid down.
Evil, when we are in its power, is not felt as evil, but as a necessity, even a duty.
Petroleum is a more likely cause of international conflict than wheat.
To set up as a standard of public morality a notion which can neither be defined nor conceived is to open the door to every kind of tyranny.
The most important part of teaching is to teach what it is to know.
We are like horses who hurt themselves as soon as they pull on their bits - and we bow our heads. We even lose consciousness of the situation, we just submit. Any re-awakening of thought is then painful.
The poison of skepticism becomes, like alcoholism, tuberculosis, and some other diseases, much more virulent in a hitherto virgin soil.
To get power over is to defile. To possess is to defile.
There can be a true grandeur in any degree of submissiveness, because it springs from loyalty to the laws and to an oath, and not from baseness of soul.
There is no detachment where there is no pain. And there is no pain endured without hatred or lying unless detachment is present too.
When once a certain class of people has been placed by the temporal and spiritual authorities outside the ranks of those whose life has value, then nothing comes more naturally to men than murder.
A mind enclosed in language is in prison.
The role of the intelligence - that part of us which affirms and denies and formulates opinions is merely to submit.
We must prefer real hell to an imaginary paradise.
In struggling against anguish one never produces serenity; the struggle against anguish only produces new forms of anguish.
Real genius is nothing else but the supernatural virtue of humility in the domain of thought.
As soon as men know that they can kill without fear of punishment or blame, they kill; or at least they encourage killers with approving smiles.
There is one, and only one, thing in modern society more hideous than crime namely, repressive justice.
A science which does not bring us nearer to God is worthless.
A self-respecting nation is ready for anything, including war, except for a renunciation of its option to make war.
Force is as pitiless to the man who possesses it, or thinks he does, as it is to its victims; the second it crushes, the first it intoxicates. The truth is, nobody really possesses it.
Most works of art, like most wines, ought to be consumed in the district of their fabrication.
To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.
One cannot imagine St. Francis of Assisi talking about rights.
The destruction of the past is perhaps the greatest of all crimes.
The only hope of socialism resides in those who have already brought about in themselves, as far as is possible in the society of today, that union between manual and intellectual labor which characterizes the society we are aiming at.
Evil being the root of mystery, pain is the root of knowledge.
Nothing is less instructive than a machine.
Every time that I think of the crucifixion of Christ, I commit the sin of envy.
A hurtful act is the transference to others of the degradation which we bear in ourselves.
Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty, liberty, and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace.
We can only know one thing about God - that he is what we are not. Our wretchedness alone is an image of this. The more we contemplate it, the more we contemplate him.
The future is made of the same stuff as the present.
In the intellectual order, the virtue of humility is nothing more nor less than the power of attention.
The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like the condemned man who is proud of his large cell.
What a country calls its vital... interests are not things that help its people live, but things that help it make war.
Oppression that is clearly inexorable and invincible does not give rise to revolt but to submission.
In the Church, considered as a social organism, the mysteries inevitably degenerate into beliefs.
The contemporary form of true greatness lies in a civilization founded on the spirituality of work.
With no matter what human being, taken individually, I always find reasons for concluding that sorrow and misfortune do not suit him; either because he seems too mediocre for anything so great, or, on the contrary, too precious to be destroyed.
Life does not need to mutilate itself in order to be pure.
Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand.
A test of what is real is that it is hard and rough. Joys are found in it, not pleasure. What is pleasant belongs to dreams.
I suffer more from the humiliations inflicted by my country than from those inflicted on her.
Every perfect life is a parable invented by God.
Whatever debases the intelligence degrades the entire human being.
When a contradiction is impossible to resolve except by a lie, then we know that it is really a door.
I would suggest that barbarism be considered as a permanent and universal human characteristic which becomes more or less pronounced according to the play of circumstances.
It is only the impossible that is possible for God. He has given over the possible to the mechanics of matter and the autonomy of his creatures.