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2022 Ukrainian refugee crisis

Wikipedia read

Except: “An ongoing refugee crisis began in Europe in late February 2022 after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. More than 4.3 million refugees have since left Ukraine (as of 5 April 2022), while an estimated 6.5 million people have been displaced within the country (as of 18 March 2022). In total, more than ten million people – approximately one-quarter of the country’s total population – had left their homes in Ukraine by 20 March. By March 24, 2022, according to UNICEF, more than half of all children in Ukraine had been forced to leave their homes. The invasion has caused Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II and its aftermath,[6] the first of its kind in Europe since the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s, and one of the largest refugee crises in the world in the 21st century, with the highest refugee flight rate in the world . . . .” {notes ommitted}

Date visited: 5 April 2022


Nursing in Wartime: Edith Stein and Simone Weil on Empathic Attention

Ann W. Astell read

Abstract: Edith Stein and Simone Weil both trained as Red Cross nurses for wartime service. For both philosophers, the activity of a nurse demands empathic attention to the afflicted. Stein envisions herself as an attendant nurse in her memoirs; Weil similarly casts herself in a nurse’s role in her proposal for an elite, sacrificial nurses’ corps. This essay examines the practice of wartime nursing as a school for, and an expression of, their complementary philosophies of human beings seen in their physical, epistemological, and spiritual interrelatedness.

Journal of Continental Philosophy (Feb. 23, 2022)

Ann W. Astell is a professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.


A Study of Character: Simone Weil’s Psychological and Ethical Attention

Deborah Casewell read

 Abstract: In the later, ethically oriented writings of the philosopher Simone Weil, she develops her concept of attention. This involves using the body to train the mind and thus the soul, into an open, receptive state. This state is the first condition for any ethical action to take place. This article explores how Weil’s account of attention can provide a new perspective in philosophical and theological engagement with psychology, first in terms of moral psychology and virtue ethics, and second in statements on the malleability or plasticity of human nature. As Weil sees that human nature’s stress on activity tends to lead to suffering rather than ethical action, she proposes not ethical action per se, but an ethical attitude of attention instead. Habit-formation and character development can thus be approached differently as cultivating a state of openness rather than of particular virtues. This article will therefore explore the relationship of theology and psychology in terms of human nature as irremediably situated but also psychologically receptive for restoration. 

TheoLogica (An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology) (February 07, 2022)

The Author: Deborah Casewell holds a Humboldt Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Bonn.


Knitting with Simone Weil

Alejandra Oliva read

. . . Simone Weil, in her ponderously titled but wonderfully argued essay “Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God,” moves nimbly from a teacher’s order (“Pay attention!”) to prayer to the bedsides of the suffering. Her argument begins with the kind of attention a schoolchild might turn to a tricky Latin translation or mathematical proof—unfocused, somewhat unrewarding, aware of one’s own shortfalls. It’s the kind of attention I pay to the stitches clicking between needles during a meeting or to setting up a press release on the website. Weil reminds me that the time and attention taken to getting it right—and to messing up along the way—are as worthwhile when making a sweater as when struggling for justice.

The Christian Century (Nov. 16, 2022)


Simone Weil’s exemplary anti-fascism feels urgent today

Richard Penaskovic read

Excerpt: . . . . What can we learn from her today? Plenty. First, in these pandemic times, we need to focus on helping others in a way that makes our own ego disappear as we come to the aid of neighbors less fortunate than we are. Second, Simone suggests that we are to do God’s will and can be a unique presence of God on planet Earth. Third, Simone can be relatable to women today who are experiencing physical, mental, and emotional pain, since she suffered so much pain her entire life yet continued her important work of championing the marginalized.

Times Union (March 5, 2022)

Former Albany resident Richard Penaskovic went on to become a professor of religious studies at Alabama’s Auburn University. He earned his doctorate in theology at the University of Munich in Germany.