Education and the ethics of attention: The work of Simone Weil

Peter Roberts read

This paper argues that the influential French thinker, Simone Weil, has something distinctive and important to offer educational and ethical inquiry. Weil’s ethical theory is considered against the backdrop of her life and work, and in relation to her broader ontological, epistemological and political position. Pivotal concepts in Weil’s philosophy – gravity, decreation, and grace – are discussed, and the educational implications of her ideas are explored. The significance of Weil’s thought for educationists lies in the unique emphasis she places on the development of attention, a notion elaborated here via the key themes of truth, beauty, and love.

British Journal of Educational Studies (Aug. 22, 2022)


Decreation in Simone Weil’s Theology

Zahra Qasemzadeh & Mostafa Mousavi Azam read

Abstract: Decreation is one of the central ideas in Simone Weil’s mysticism that first was introduced by her into the theological and mystical discourse of Christianity. Understanding the idea of decreation depends on understanding Weil’s model of creation. She believed that God, out of love, withdraws from His divinity so that the world of creation to be realized. Just as, in creation, God empties Himself of His divinity in order for man and the world to exist, so in decreation, man, by imitating God, also must empty himself of what has been given to him so that he can participate in creation as God wills.

Decreation isn’t just imitating God detaching Himself from His divinity; rather, it is a passive action which, in practice, must be waited for after giving all the attachments and fantasies up. Simone Weil, through the act of decreation, explains how to deny selfishness and avoid self-centeredness.

Religions & Mysticism, vol. 54, no. 1 (Summer/Autumn 2021), pp. 195-215

Cinema as Metaxu

Anat Pick read

In this article, Simone Weil’s notion of the material world as “metaxu,” an in-between or bridge between this world (gravity) and the absolute (grace), is positioned within the tradition of cinematic realism to consider how the natural world in film functions as a bridge to the supernatural. In this way, the cinema intertwines ecology and theology in ways that are particularly resonant now, at a time of large scale environmental collapse and the search for new values to support human and other lives.

The Jugaad Project

Poetry As Decreation: Impersonality and Grace in T.S. Eliot and Simone Weil

Emily M. King read

This thesis posits that however separated T.S. Eliot and Simone Weil are by circumstance, political affinity, and Church affiliation, their thoughts intersect at a crucial point. While Weil’s theory of decreation and Eliot’s notion of impersonality are often cast as theological and poetic innovations, they both hearken back to the Christian mystical tradition – specifically, the aspect of via negativa. Placed alongside one another, Weil’s poetic mysticism and Eliot’s concern for the spiritual reveal the capacity of poems to decreate and bring the reader to a moment of void that awaits the fulfillment of grace. This thesis will study these topics with express consideration of Eliot’s Four Quartets and Weil’s notebooks, especially Gravity and Grace.

Honor’s Thesis, Department of English, Stanford University, May 2019.