Simone Weil: The Need for Roots

Simone Weil: The Need for Roots

Because she concentrates on the relationship between the individual and the universal, man and God, Weil generally regards the collectivity, society, as an idol.  Whether we know it or not, most of us worship this idol, which means thinking and acting the way people in our position in society are supposed to think and act.  The world begins and ends with the society in which we live.

The need for roots

It comes as a surprise, then, to see how important the community is to Weil.  The Need for Roots, was written during the early months of 1943; she would be dead by the end of that summer.  Weil argues that “to be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.”  The damage that springs from rootlessness is the curse of contemporary life.  “Whoever is uprooted, himself uproots others.”

Though she spent a lifetime arguing against “the collective,” the Great Beast that is society, she recognizes that the collectivity is “the sole agency for preserving these spiritual treasurers accumulated by the dead.”  (Roots, 41, 45, 8).

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