First off, I should admit to being a pretty poor intellectual, though any solid attention aimed at my writing would reveal my imposter-like habit of feasting on other’s idea. But that is how I am; I like to take a spoonful of something incredible, chew on it until it softens and melts in my mouth, so it becomes inseparable from my own body, my own ever-changing way of being in the world. It is then that I might honour its creator and think or feel something worthwhile, something fresh and unknown. We could steal a bone from Tara Brach’s world and call it radical eating.
This is the ideal of the Great Feast: we must all be generous diners, feasting well on the kindness of those others who have questioned and birthed this world in all its human sadness and glory into being. We are meant to be inspired, to be filled with revelation, but it need not be pointed to God, or the solipsistic pursuit of personal freedom, or the heady thrill of pop activism. Grace defines those who refuse the allure of the frenzies of our age, but engage carefully, to the point of mastering a soft touch, where needed, and a heavy blow when necessary; though in this man’s case, of the non-physical sort.
I am not sure I am an Anarchist despite Glenn Wallis’s rather seductive invitation to think of one’s self as such in his most recent book on the topic (check out the interview). I am too ignorant to make up my mind about the sort of political stance I should commit too when they all appear so imperfect and so deeply flawed. I am muddling through at best and seeking to participate where I feel most driven to do so. I am though always appreciative of Glenn’s careful and considerate thought and this piece on Simon Weil is a delight to read and touches on very deep themes that transcend much of the utilitarian discourse surroundings its material and insights. I recommend it. If Glenn continues to write so sweetly (in the dining sense of the word), his will be a feast worth dining at.
Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.
Simone Weil (1909-1943; pronounced vay) was an extraordinary person. If you do not know her life story, I highly recommend watching Julia Haslett’s moving and deeply personal movie, “An Encounter with Simone Weil” (at the bottom of this post). The movie opens with the filmmaker channelling Weil to ask, “What response does seeing human suffering demand of us?”
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