Keynote Address, American Weil Society’s 2021 Colloquy.
This text, dedicated to the thought of Simone Weil, aims to show how misfortune and the experience of horror are the extreme consequence of an immoderate exercise of force, understood as one mode of the natural necessity. The purpose of Simone Weil’s reflections on human distress is to show that misfortune, by sharpening our faculty of attention, opens the way of its own excess.
This study juxtaposes Simone Weil’s exposition of God’s invitation to know and love the good through the divine signature of beauty stamped on the order of the world and Flannery O’Connor’s depiction of a society whose oppressive order allows some characters to oppose outright a divine order or to live under the illusion that the divine invitation is irrelevant because they, in their egoism and materialist values, are the centre of the universe. An examination of O’Connor’s and Weil’s ideas on order and beauty, grace and decreation, within the disorders of their contexts, reveals both writers’ skills in pointing prophetically through disorder to divine order, thus, disclosing bridges of revelation.
PhilosophicalInvestigations, vol. 43, nos. 1-2, pp. 101-114