The Need for Roots: Prelude to a Declaration of Duties towards Mankind

The Need for Roots: Prelude to a Declaration of Duties towards Mankind

The Need for Roots: Prelude to a Declaration of Duties towards Mankind

The Need for Roots: Prelude to a Declaration of Duties towards Mankind

Synopsis

Hailed by Andre Gide as the patron saint of all outsiders, Simone Weil's short life was ample testimony to her beliefs. In 1942 she fled France along with her family, going firstly to America. She then moved back to London in order to work with de Gaulle. Published posthumously The Need for Roots was a direct result of this collaboration. Its purpose was to help rebuild France after the war. In this, her most famous book, Weil reflects on the importance of religious and political social structures in the life of the individual. She wrote that one of the basic obligations we have as human beings is to not let another suffer from hunger. Equally as important, however, is our duty towards our community: we may have declared various human rights, but we have overlooked the obligations and this has left us self-righteous and rootless. She could easily have been issuing a direct warning to us today, the citizens of Century 21.

Excerpt

The only kind of introduction which could merit permanent association with a book by Simone Weil would be-like that provided by M. Gustave Thibon to Gravity and Grace -an introduction by someone who knew her. The reader of her work finds himself confronted by a difficult, violent and complex personality; and the assistance of those who had the advantage of long discussions or correspondence with her, especially those who knew her under the peculiar conditions of the last five years of her life, will be of permanent value in the future. I lack these qualifications. My aims in writing this preface are, first, to affirm my belief in the importance of the author and of this particular book; second, to warn the reader against premature judgment and summary classification-to persuade him to hold in check his own prejudices and at the same time to be patient with those of Simone Weil. Once her work is known and accepted, such a preface as this should become superfluous.

La Pésanteur et la Grace.

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