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The Theme of Mediation in the Writings of Simone Weil

Janet Patricia Little read

A study of the theme of mediation necessarily involves a consideration of the two poles between which mediation takes place. This study therefore begins with an investigation of what Simone Weil saw to be man’s exile in this world, and his desire for the Good which is God. Since God is unknown and unknowable, this desire cannot be focussed on any particular object, and the soul must experience a void in which there is no compensation for spiritual energy expended. This process is unnatural, however, and painful to man, and he is frequently tempted to focus his desire for the Good on some earthly object; society, by creating the illusion of being greater than the individual, often fulfills this role, and becomes the object of man’s idolatry. If man refuses this idolatry and is willing to hold the contradiction posed by his dual nature he will find that all earthly creatures and objects can be mediators between himself and the God  he desires. In this way exile becomes a fulfilment, and the whole natural realm can speak to man of his supernat1;.ral home. All mediation-themes reach their culmination in Christ, whose suffering is seen as a perpetual cosmic process reconciling the universe with its creator. The study is therefore presented in three sections: dualism, idolatry (false mediation), and mediation proper. These are fully illustrated by reference to the whole sphere of Simone Weil’s meditations, religious, political and philosophical.

Durham University, PhD dissertation, 1970