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Benjamin P. Davis | Why We Return to Simone Weil: The Question of War

If we are return to Simone Weil to consider war, genocide, and siege, we might find a philosopher who asks us first to consider our own limitations and finitude as humans, who asks us to recognize how easily we can be swayed by nationalist thinking as well as by any use of power we think we can control. For Weil, the only just response to power is the refusal to use it. It is a negative use, a task that asks us not “to let right alone” but “to let force alone.” Simone Weil offers us a critical, political, educational, and legal task so striking in its strangeness, so foreign to history, that it would perhaps take divine inspiration to be carried out. Or at least, as she would write in her essay “Forms of the Implicit Love of God,” again returning to Thucydides in April 1942, to use asymmetrical force is to foreclose a relationship not just with others but also with the ethically and theologically charged world around us [continue to read here…]