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Episode #172 ... Simone Weil - Attention

2022-11-21 | 🔗

Today we begin some general discussions in the direction of the thought of Simone Weil and tell some stories from her life. 

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hello, everyone, I'm stephen west, this is philosophize. This thank you for making the show possible through patriarch, patron dot, com, slash philosophize. This could never do this without your help or the help of everyone else. For that matter. The people leaving reviews of the pond cast on their respective apps. Thank you. The people liking on instagram and tik tok lately philosophize this pod cast one word been making these one minute philosophy: videos trying to get better at it, philosophize this dot org for everything else now this is a serious, have been looking forward to for a long time. This is episode one on these short, but incredible life of Simone veil. I hope he loved the show today. So when the year, nineteen, twenty eight a youngster. and by the name of Simone veil, applied to one the most prestigious universities in the entire world. It was located in france, known for its science and philosophy programmes, the sky. was called the cold non miles superior early sets
say said here in amerika had our philosophy hoedown said we have anyway. If you were a kid, and you want to be a famous philosopher when you weapon for some reason you got into this school you'd fit right in with the people around you, I mean tons of famous thinkers, went there. You got John Paul sort, shocked, erudite michel for co, more names and anyone out there really cares to here right now pointless. It was a pretty competitive schooling into when Simone veil applied and eventually got accepted, and when she did He was one of only eleven people that were accepted in her class of those eleven people. She was the only woman accepted and upon completion of the certificate in general philosophy and logic. She scored the highest marks out of any one that was taken. The test at the time taking first place second place, it turns out, went to the only other woman who was going for the certificate at the time. Her name was simone day beauvoir surmounted before would later, right years later about a conversation, she had one time with Simone veil during their time
at the school. There was a famine that happened in china in nineteen. Twenty eight lasted a couple years. The two of them were obviously well informed about all that was going on and you can, in them standing in the halls of this beautiful school in france, with its archways and its art work in them. Having a conversation about what the response should be HU, this famine, that's killing millions of people out there to which, Simone veil was completely adamant in the conversation saying that one thing that matters here that we should all be focusing on in that is the revolution that needs to happen. That's going to feed all the people around the world who are starving, now Simone de beauvoir thinking like an existentialist philosopher future author of the second sex and the ethics of ambiguity. She hears distances back to her, but look. The problem is not to make people happy, said, the problem is to find a reason for their existence, at which point apparently Simone veil takes a step. Back. Looks
Only beauvoir up and down had to her feet and says. Well, it's easy to say you ve never gone hungry. Let this be the first moment in this serious that illustrates an ongoing contrast between two very different approaches. To what philosophy is. None of this is too important work of some only de beauvoir, by the way, many out there, no she's my favorite hanging on the wall. Next to the desk, I record every one of these podcast episodes. That is a framed picture of Simone veil right next to a canvas painting of simone de beauvoir mad respect to both of these philosophers. But Simone veil was just a different kind of beast when it comes to living philosophy, if you anybody that tries to live by values that matter to you in this world. If you're in way trying to improve as a person, but the time you got left on this planet, I don't even know if it's even possible for you to read the journals of simone veil and not feel embarrassed at the level. You obviously need to be stepping your game up. This is a woman that at the age of thirty four years old, laying in the hospital sick with complications from
burke yellows denying most of her meals cause she refused to eat more than the rations at the people. Fighting in the french resistance is a person who starve to death with food, all around her, because she was unwilling to compromise her ethical integrity should be said. There's different interpretations of her final days at the hospital, but the point of trying to illustrate here is that there is a clear difference between philosophers throughout history, are academics, abstract, theoretical masterminds. They write dozens of books undeniably make tons of progress when it comes to human thought, and then there's people throughout history, whose very existence just is their philosophy. and even more so than someone like diogenes rebel atheists or even socrates. For me, please. Finally, there was no better example of a living philosophy. Then Simone veil, to her. It's like. What's the point of sitting around talking about philosophy all day
Having all these conversations, if you're gonna live a life that doesn't correspond with any of the insights of gained at a certain point, it just seems like a waste of time, spinning your life's studying the absolute perfect way to play tennis to think about tennis, every thousands of ours invested into it, but then never playing tennis or playing tennis, and you choosing to be horrible at it. For some reason, and it's because of this mindset, she had as well as just a short duration of her life that a lot of people when talking about simone veil, we'll try to describe, her by telling anecdotes from her early life we'll talk about the time she was six years old and she too her mom and dad that she refused to each sugar or where socks could she heard about the soldiers on the front line in what they have to go through all the time? She was a teenager and taught herself sanskrit, so she could read the of a gaeta, its original language. These are supposed to be stories, were people say after the fact wow While we should start the writing on the wall. With this one early on, didn't we, but to me
sort of naturalised, Simone veil in a way that really isn't fair to her. It suggests that she was just born someone with a genetic predisposition to live in the way she did born to be a person, some religious people were. Who was an actual modern day, saint born be what albert camus called the only great spirit of our time to be the person, some before envied for having a heart that could be right across the world. She said. No. If we were understand the incredibly rare exception to humanity that once Simone veil, we have to understand how her life was lived and all the beautiful chow just that go on when you're someone is truly open to what the universe has to offer as she was, and no one is simply born with the genius that she developed. This is going to be a series on the life and work of simone v and vi
myself in a rough spot at the beginning of all this. As someone who does a thirty minute, podcast free, although listen to there, is so much to talk about here between stories from her life and the philosophy that came out of those stories that I think it's impossible to do any semblance of justice with any single episode. But I also think that's potentially a strength because again to be someone that does a thirty minute podcast, I'm not relegated to a curriculum here, I'm not trying to cover a comprehensive history of philosophy with this podcast I'm trying to do what I always do, which the way I We think of it as an I'm trying to talk to you listening right now, like I'm trying to talk to a friend about something from philosophy. That's inspired thinking in me and with that in mind, at a certain point, I've accepted that I have just come to a level of peace with this first thirty minute instalment whatever it ends up being, knowing that there are other installments yet to come. My hope here today throughout this episode. We can at least start thinking about the type of person that Simone veil was an to start. Thinking
the direction. Her philosophy is eventually going to take us in as we covered deeper and deeper levels of detail and to get us going in that direction. One philosophical theme that we're going to be returning back to throughout this series and varying degrees of detail is the idea of attention. Attention was for Simone v. an absolutely crucial skill to develop. If you are going to live life in a way that wasn't at the mercy of other forces in the world around, you see just learning the proper way to direct your attention. Not only can it change your life It can change the lives of the people around you and then with that it can go to change the world and in the course of human history, along with it. Consider for a second just how important the way we pay attention really is. Not only does the quality of the attention that you have dictate every experience that you ever have, but even more important than that, your attention also dictates which experiences are even pass.
Well for you to experience now. This point is gonna, be critical when understanding how important attention is it practically, every level of our existence will see it applied in her a pistol malagigi her cause, Malagigi ontology I mean there's a lobby that exists in the world where I think we're gonna covered eventually dory, but I think a helpful place to start making the case for an ethics of attention and to just get started. Thinking in this direction. That Simone v is eventually headed. I think it might be useful to talk about the importance of attention at maybe the most basic everyday level. You possibly could everybody listening to. This knows that, throughout your day to day existence The way that you orient yourself towards the things that are going on in your world can have a drastic impact on the experience that you end up, having of the thing that's going on. For example, someone invites you ought to get together with some friends a social meet up. Let's call it now most of the people going to this made up cool with, but then there's that one guy that's going and he's a guy that, but now you think about it, maybe talk to
three dumbest people you ve ever laid eyes upon he's the absolute you really do want to go to this thing, but your friend asked you to go, see you go anyway and when you do almost like magic, that person is horrible. As usual, and you end up having the negative experience it you were expecting to have going into it now contrast this situation with some other day of the week, totally different made up different people and this one at the start of it. You know it's gonna be boring again, you don't want to go, but this time You decide you're going to channel a little neater little, a more fatty, except that which is necessary this time, you're going to go to the meetup and you're, going to just be open to the experience. Whatever happens, you do this and then again magically, sometimes in a spot like this, up surprising yourself. You end up getting something. So pricing the useful out of a situation you otherwise thought you'd hate, Simone. Might wanna ask at this point. What was different about these two approaches, these different orientation,
that you had towards each of the meat ups that you went to and before any of you out there in your open, toad sandal start talking about the power of positive thinking. You know the the second time you just recognise how blessed you were to be alive. Man, that's what you did No, no, nobody willed themselves into being positive in the second made up. If anything, Simone veil would say you did less the second time around. You just decided to remove some of the baggage you are bringing to the first get together. Now the big difference, really, when you think about it, was at the second meet up. You were just more open to a different kind of experience being available to you. In other words, your attention was different in the second meet up You were far more prepared to be receptive to an entirely different red on the situation,
embarrassing other how basic it may seem, but this is a concept that actually hit me pretty hard. When I first read Simone veil years ago, the idea that a different experience of everything you do is available to you right now, all around you almost like a like a radio station, that's constantly broadcasting a show but you're not currently tuning into, and that at any moment you can tune into that station. You can just choose to be open to a different kind of experience. That's all no possibility. On the other hand, though, you can also choose to just never be open to any. periods that you're not arriving at by default and then you can spend, the rest of your life only having your default perception of things and the first thing that bubbles up into your head. That's a real possibility to this, a sense in which that experience, where you got thing profound at something that otherwise could have been boring. That experience was always possible for you to have but unless, if you were willing to tune in to that specific frequency for all intents and purposes, that experience doesn't exist in your world and here's the really
important part of the deeper levels of her philosophy that experience was impossible for you to ever receive until you were open to receiving it. Think about somebody that lives in the most beautiful place in the world, but they never stop any look around them and appreciate the beauty of the place they live in stuff around them just become some blurry set and setting a song playing in the background as they drive from place to place running errants. Think of the experience of the person- that's possible, When running those kinds of errands, someone's so focused on the menial tasks, they got to get done to maintain their life today, oh god, I gotta pay the electric bill today, I gotta do it they're so focused on the electric. that they dont remain open to the moments are living in right now and what lessons the universe may be, disclosing that they're just not paying attention to like the person sitting in the lobby of a restaurant waiting for their to go order staring down at their phone, paying attention to a screen only to glance up everything, often at the world lamenting
about how they don't have a meaningful connection to anything. All of this has to do with the way that we pay attention The things going on around us and Simone, It was totally aware of all this more than that He was aware of the fact that most people seemed to fall into a sort of default state of attention given to them part only by their biology, but mostly from things grow into their heads from the time their babies, which has to beg the question? Where exactly do we get this default state of attention? How much thought and effort? any of us really put into the way we orient ourselves to reality and no doubt this tons of people that meditate or pray out there whose hands are starting chief from putting themselves on the back so much right about now? I know exactly what Simone veil talking about here and look. No doubt what you're doing is a good start, not at all. I'm just saying, let's be sure, to respect the work of Simone veil as well, because the kind of attention that she's writing about in these journals of hers,
the kind of attention that can actually offer sacrament to the rest of the world around you. That is something incredibly rare, something that spans across multiple different landscapes of our thinking. Starch is something you can get from an app that for ten bucks a month. I ll tell you to pay attention to your shoulders really hard right now and whenever you already come back to the sound of my voice and pretend- life of misery. Now we learn how to pay attention and horrible ways from the world we live in, and let's talk about one of the first, places we learn to pay attention horribly. The way we were educated in school, which also conveniently happens to be the next section in the story of Simone veil life member. I said that if you want to be a famous philosopher, a good idea would be to go to the really nice schooled. Simone veil went to well here's another important thing. You should understand about Simone veil. She didn't care whatsoever about becoming a fee
miss philosopher. She certainly wasn't famous when she was alive. Quite frankly, she was far too busy living life to ever pause enough in this world to become a famous person. She graduates from the fancy school shuffles around for a bit and eventually decides at the best placed to apply herself right at a school is to get a job teaching the next generation of students, and it is clear that even the super early stage in her life she or ready knew that there was a big problem with the way students were being educated and taught how to pay attention to the world around them in a narrow way, because when you read the stories from the students that were in her classes simone. Vague, wasn't like other teachers. At the time she didn't give grades like other teachers, she didn't give tests like other teachers, there's a story from a student that talks about her teaching geometry one day where all they did was they went outside they gathered together under a tree, and the student described what they did that day as they just sat there and sort of sought out
new problems in geometry, meaning this wasn't like a typical classroom. Simone Baden hand out a bunch of geometrical, puzzles that the students were supposed to find answers to before the end of the class. Now they just sat under a tree and thought as openly as they possibly could about the problems of geometry, not really looking. An answer necessarily but trying to remain as open as they could to whatever it was the came out of their process of thinking It was a new line of thought about the problems. Maybe it was a connection between similar kinds of problems. Maybe it was just the discovery of new unsolved problems. All of that was to sum up ray now. Why would any teacher think it was a good idea to educate students this way. Is simone veil, like one of the super progressive teachers, it doesn't give grades anymore. She's gives the kids like they are ready, anger rule for all the effort they put in today. No, it wasn't about that. It was much more about teaching in a way that doesn't inherently limit the way the students orient themselves towards problems in general
in other words it was about not destroying the students, ability to think openly by fixing them when agenda, where they're always searching for an answer to the problem. This was a need, this limitation for simone veil, because that's how it typically isn't school right, you're, given problems to solve you search for the answer. Those problems, you memorize the answers and then you're tested at the end of the week, to see how many answers you ve memorized. What could possibly be wrong with that strategy? I don't know, but this is what we do in schools right. We train kids, who then grow up to be the adults of the world And we tell them that when you come across a situation in your life that you're confused about that, there must be some distinct answer to that question that you have out there waiting to be found, the obvious job than for any person is confirmed, it's about the world in any way is to go out searching for those answers. You search long enough, you're, probably going to find the answer- and this is great when it comes to questions like one plus one It was too, but what happens when question start to get a little more complicated than that later on in life? What happened
when there isn't a single correct answer to be found. Questions like what's the right way to govern a society or what's the best way to live life. Political questions like what's the best way, to provide health care to people what's the best way to regulate the economy, but what happened? Simone veil thinks it's people go out in search of these answers to their difficult questions and they end up settling on incomplete answers. They end up at hearing there. thinking to a false sidle. They ve been so condition to search for the answer to whatever problem. They have that anything that even seem to them. Like an answer. Well looks like I found the answer that their folks as the into my education on the matter now my life. it comes about defending my answer, which at this point now has just become my position and I'm going to vehemently defend my position against all the wrong answers and dumb positions that are out there, the very process of setting out searching for answers. Bringing that expectation oriented your attention in that way to whatever it is you're trying to learn about just like the person that
finds the negative experience with the annoying person at the meet up. People find complete answers that limit their ability to receive deeper levels of understanding the hardest job of teaching. Simone veil thought is to shake people out of this collectivist way of thinking where they ve already decided. What? positions are, and now it's not about thinking so much anymore. Now it's about reciting predetermine collectively approve positions that they memorized But this isn't the only way to learn about stuff contrast that, with another possible, we are paying attention, that's more open, where you acknowledge, at the start of any conversation that whatever position your currently holding on something is at best a partial truth and under if any that exists on a spectrum where there's always more to learn that the world can disclose to you through experiences, but you're not approaching those new experiences with any sort of agenda excited to find that in point what would happen. Simone bay wonders if more people embodied an attitude that is more detached from expectations, more open
receptive, but at the same time it doesn't ignore the knowledge you ve already gained in a particular area. It just make sure that you're not sure to that knowledge unable to move. She gives a great met. A foreigner journals, one time she says quote Our thoughts should be in relation to all particular and already formulated thoughts, as a man on a mountain who, as he looks forward, sees also low him without actually looking at them a great many forests and planes. Above all, our thoughts should be empty waiting, not seeking anything but ready to receive in its naked truth. The object is to penetrate it. End quote: this is a totally different method of paying it, inch into the experiences that you're having and it's going to have clear parallels in the world of eastern philosophy by the way. So when we talked about all the way back in two thousand and thirteen on this podcast, the idea of passive activity, the basic question at the core of this line of thought is
how exactly should we be engaging with our day to day reality? How much effort should you be putting into that process because there's a few different common answers to this question on one hand, some people putting close to zero effort. On the other hand, some people's in almost every second of their life trend to wield the reality into existence. The problem with both these approach when it comes to learning more about the world around. You is that if you put in zero effort You only learn at the rate that thing circumstantially arise in your life. It's lazy and you ultimately have no control over it, but to spend every I can try to will solutions into existence through tons and tons of effort. Will that doesn't work either to Simone veil? You end up just project yourself on the reality to such an extent that it distorts what you end up learning from the world, but then there's a third approach, a middle path that instead of no activity or over aggressive activity, but Simone veil calls a sort.
negative activity, words not sitting around doing nothing. It's not try to force things when you walk this middle path. Your definitely pudding in effort, but it's a different kind of effort it's an effort where you remove something from your experience, you remove your own personal prejudices that you're bring into things. She describes at one point, as quote the effort which brings a soul. The salvation is like the effort of looking or listening, in quote, in other words, its not searching its or like waiting, it's not reasoning for hours coming to an abstract conclusion about something it's more being open and detached from your own selfishness, long enough to receive something that the universe has yet to disclose to you. One of my favorite quotes from her that just embodies the spirit she brought to every day of her life is quote. The great human error is to reason in place of finding out end quote, and let this be another moment in the series where we can see by the choices that Simone veil actually made in her life to extremely differently.
its of conducting philosophy in real time. I mean just put yourself in her shoes think about what it would be like to be simone veil. At this point. In her life, she's young, she has a world class philosophical education, comfy job teach in the next generation of students. How easy would it have been four simone veil to just stay in her safe, comfortable classroom? onto events, robin elbows, with famous friends, reading statistics at her desk and then to spend the rest of her life criticising, the world from far away writing books in articles just drinkin, champagne accepting awards writing off into the sunset. How many people out there make the choice to do just that with their life, but that wasn't good enough for Simone veil. It wasn't enough to just read about what was good on in the world. She wasn't the kind of person it was just gonna sit around and reason to conclusions about how things are out there. She was gonna, go out
and find out about it first hand, for example, in nineteen thirty six she hears about the spanish civil war. That's going on the legendary fight at this point between the spanish republic in the fascist that were in power and just consider first, second, the kind of person that we're talking about here, didn't just you know right an open letter to the fascist, telling everyone how upset she was with them. Shouldn't go down to the parking lot of a burger king in the suburbs screaming at a building for three hours. No, she tried. Pacifism wasn't gonna work. So this is a person that literally went into the trenches she joined the front of the spanish civil war and fights alongside the people that are defending the spanish republic against the fascists and people than one a letter at first. It wasn't an easy path, but she was so determined to get. the front lines were the fighting was going on that she lie. Eyes and says that she's a journalist, so she can infiltrate a militia next to the inner c and keep in mind a few things
Simone veil in particular here she gets to the front and she was incredibly far sighted as a person which I'm not saying she was no spread damas. Far sighted cheek, she was actually like her vision with super blurry. She makes a joke to one of our friends in a letter, one and she says that her vision is so bad that no one in the war really needs to worry cause, there's no risk her killing anyone, even if she's aiming at them. This is a in heading into a war zone with zero combat experience not even be able to see very well, I mean this is an act of courage based on a moral conviction. That's honestly gotta be hard for most people alive to even relate to I mean I have a hard time sticking to a diet if there's bad food in the house, I'm going to just you know not bring the devil into my house. This is a woman who was truly ready to die in service of this conviction that you needed to actually be there present detached open to what the universe has to disclose to you, and that We consider the source of any purely academic speculation going on from the sidelines in others and others
we have more time in the war where the officers were looking for people to carry out some sort of coal mission that was behind enemy lines, where you'd have to be able to speak. Spanish and blended with the enemy Simone veil instantly volunteers herself at point they kind of look at her and say: well, you don't speak spanish, and you don't even really look spanish they're gonna spot you in a second. This would be the equivalent of sacrificing yourself to which he apparently said back to them. While I do have the right to sacrifice myself for a cause, don't I this is the kind of person Simone veil was now after some time on the front. She has a bit of an accident one day, she's walkin around the camp and she stepped into a pot or a vat of boiling oil that was sitting on the ground, and you can blame her eyesight for this. If you want people do including her. But for me I blame other philosophers. I blame the people that were taken their sweet time do and work in another important area philosophy. This time, people examining the problematic nature boiling oil in a place where someone can step in it. I mean who does that honestly
anyway. She scalded multiple places across her body. Long story short. It ends her time. Funding on the front lines and genes ends going back home as it turns out the unit that she was fighting with was slaughtered in a battle shortly after she get sent home and she definitely would have been one of em. You know it should be said her time in the spanish civil war was definitely an intense example of her willingness to immerse herself into a situation in this effort to not reason about but to find out about the world, but this was far from the first time she where did something like this and even further from being the most life changing times? You ever did something like this, because before she ever witten fought in the war as a philosophy student and as a teacher right out of school, she was super well educated in the marxist critique of the capitalist means of production. She was well aware, of the arguments surrounding the alienation of the worker from their labour re affection. How politically disenfranchised and voiceless the worker is, she would have read the testimony of the people on the front lines of this factory work again.
How easy would it have been at this point to just sit around and write about this stuff for the rest of your life to just by a cost, amber from amazon, with your initials in it and just scream about revolution into the void, but no four simone veil That was not enough, so she quit her job as a teacher and actually goes and works doing the physical labor in an auto factory. For months of her life, she was going to become a worker to truly be able to understand what it was like to be. A worker so her first day on the job she shows up this factory, and it doesn't take long to realise that something is very wrong about working in one of these places and anyone who has ever worked a job like this, even if it was at a lesser degree than a factory in the early twentieth century. You will instantly know the kind of situation she's talking about one of the first thing. She notices that when you're working in a place like this,
There is a clear hierarchy of what the priorities really are around here. There's the top of the priority list, which is whatever the quota of the day, is the work or the pace of work. That needs to be done and then there's everything else that falls beneath that priority, whether that's how people feel about the work there doing, whether that's people's health and safety, but that's people's human dignity. The quota is ultimately what matters most at a place like this and something else she notices is that one invariably has to happen in a worse situation where the quota matters more than the people is that thinking is the first thing you have to give up as a worker. What she means is that thinking is antithetical to the entire process. Going on to be a worker that survives in these conditions. You have to stop thinking any thought that you ever have about the work. You are doing the purpose. It serves in the world around you, your position and anxiety as a factory worker, any thought just gets in the way of
ability to meet the work quota and again anybody user. work a job like this has to come to accept that fact. Eventually, if not your first day, some of you know my experience with this is that I, eight years of my life doing physical labor at a warehouse just stack and heavy boxes on the pilots all day long. What's simone veil saying here was true for us at this warehouse. You know thinking about stuff in this kind of environment, just isn't possible. You think about stuff. While you're working you fall below the production standards, you get fired. That's the nature of the job, and this doesn't just To be physical, labour, there's probably a lot of people listening out there that can relate to this general acceptance of the fact that the quota of the work that you are doing matters. More than you do working at a job like this try thinking going up to your managers? Are your fellow coworkers talkin about you know when I realized I never get to see where all these beautiful boxes go and how they brightened people's lives at the end of the day,
which I was thinkin. You ever thought about our relative socio economic position within the industrial do whatever they say. Let me stapi thereby you're wasting. My time right now why you're wasting your time get back to work. This isn't a college seminar right now. This work, you want to talk about economics, go talk to a professor or to the monopoly guy but as long as we're here, let's just get the job done and we can all go home. How about that? And the funny thing is that person is right about the mindset that you have to adopt to survive in a place like this. Thinking is the first thing to go. Then there's a tacit acceptance that you matter less than the quota that needs to be fulfilled and then there's the eventual acceptance. On top of that that you should be grateful to even have a job like this Simone veil says the fear of unemployment. Terror rises, people into accepting this degraded status when you start to see yourself as just a means to an end for some other distant persons, economic goals for the quarter. You are backed into a court,
of acceptance and learned helplessness. You were made into essentially a modern day slave or a robot, and if that seems dramatic, what's the difference she would ask. You are working killing yourself, sacrificing your mental and physical health, and then having zero connection to or possession of the stuff. It is that your producing and simone veil doesnt quit her first day and the job like most people. She goes back to this job at the factory every single day for months, and she writes about how this feeling of being a means to an end, slowly creeps in a beds itself into her psyche. She concludes that, while these factories produce a lot of things, they produce cars in her case groceries in my case, whatever you're producing at your job. The biggest thing these factories are producing to Simone veil is She calls affliction a state of spiritual, malays and hopelessness that people come to accept that they have to live in every day
Hey that there was no way out of that. They are at best. He means to someone else's economic end, not ends in themselves as people, so coming this conclusion: if you're simone veil around this time in her life we been talking about and your look but the world around you trying to diagnose what the problems are that maybe we can improve upon this psychological and spiritual crisis that she calls affliction. This is gonna be at the top of our list. This dehumanize state of learned helplessness has infected millions and millions of people all around the globe, which is also to say that you don't just find affliction and factory.
workers that are being treated like a means to some economic end or in soldiers, on the front line being treated as a means to a political end. You will find a friction, Simone vase as wherever you find people who are being transformed from human beings into things and then those things being grouped into collective that are easier to control and then, through various strategies, those people are rendered incapable of thinking their way out of this stuck place that they exist in all of this mediated by a sort of organizing principle of human political movement that Simone veil is going to refer to throughout her writing as force. Now what is force it's hard to sum up in a simple explanation, without leaving some important things out. The way I saw it put in a new book released last year by roberts or russky. Was that a way to think Simone veil concept of force is to say that force is to the human events of the world, as gravity is to the physical events of the world, meaning you won't understand why materials move the way they do, how they move, in relation to the things around them study gravity, but you want to understand.
Human events and how they move, study, force, Simone bay, would say we're going to be talking about her concept of force in detail next episode, but just know for now that force is not the same thing as power to Simone v. Power itself is not the problem to her hierarchies themselves are not the problem. The real problem is closer to what she would call the pursuit of power. It's this thing that doesn't seem to ever stop in our world. It's the absolute guarantee that, with the systemic design of our society, that people will be turned by others into things instead of people and that, when they're turned into these things, those things will then be used as a resource to carry out some go driven, consumptive project in the pursuit of power and yes, that soldiers on a battlefield, that's workers in a factory, but it even comes down to you and the way that you act in your life because yeah, here's where it takes a turn from a distant political critique of nameless, faceless people. We don't ever have to look at two people like you and me, the transactional discourse
between seemingly good individuals that are just making decisions front to maintain their lives. The salesman that sees you as a commission, the business woman that sees you as a client any time that you protect yourself in your own personal power, jack's onto the people around you and see the merely in terms of what they can do for you in your own personal bottom line. Point is, You and I are not exactly innocent in this whole process, so if you're, Simone veil and you're trying to find a way forward through this pandemic of affliction. That's going on seems clear, at least at this point in her life that she was considering two different possible path forward. And we'll talk about both of these next time. But I ll leave you with the elevator pitch here and try to think about which these may be a better strategy for moving forward it's a combination of both but anyway, to pass forward. Here. There was away, to move forward by bringing about political change, and there was a way move forward by bringing about spiritual change. The political way forward might start by saying that forget any fantasy
you have about inciting a religious or spiritual revolution, and people religion is the opiate of the masses. What we need is a totally secular political revolution rebuilding the way we structure our societies. Here's where we ve gone wrong. Human beings have needs needs like food water. Shelter. Great societies recognize it doesn't help anyone to have a population where these needs are not being met, so they make sure to get these things for people, but are he's the only needs that people have or other other needs that are just as essential for a person to live that are not. oddly needs, but a Simone veil calls them needs of the soul, and might there be a political path for We can change the way we structure. Society were me, getting these needs of the soul is one of our highest priorities. That's the political elevator pitch, certainly interesting to think about, but then there is the potential spiritual path forward, and this is an entirely different way to see the potential of progress
because if we accept the fact that we have a lot of these people living around us in various states of affliction, Simone veil calls it people going through hard stuff in their life people to feel sort of trapped and disconnected the kind of person all of us may know or see. Every day if we accept that just think about your role in that entire process? She uses a metaphor, if a person laying in a ditch somewhere, in someone laying in a ditch clearly going through a tough spot in their life? Now most people see the person laying there and they just walk by, don't even pay attention. Some people are so distracted by their own lives and the screens they watch that they don't even see the person suffering and then there's some people who do see the person next to them suffering, but they don't do anything about it and again, metaphorically a few minutes later they forget about what they even saw, but all it takes is one person she
has to stop and pay attention to this person to potentially change their life to change the entire way they see themselves and the possibilities that they have. How else does it ever happen really, but hold on Simone veil would say this doesn't just come from any kind of attention. This comes from the right kind of attention that we can only direct to the people that needed if we practise it the same kind of openness detached from expectations that allows people to learn and see the world in a new way. Have new troops be revealed to them the same kind of receptivity? That allows you to be open to the profound experience at the meet up that you otherwise thought you'd hate when you truly pay attention to someone and you're not just for getting yourself onto their experience. You know think in what I would do if I was in their spot, or what can this person do for me eventually in what I want when you suspend your own personal agenda for a second and try to just see that person as they are simone veil, believes that this can be the equivalent of a religious baptism for someone your actions can effectively. Sir,
if the same function as a priest that was giving sacrament for this person to be reborn into a new body with a whole different attitude. When considering the possibility of a spiritual path forward for humanity, I think she'd want us all to ask. The question is religion. Truly, the opiate of the masses, as Karl Marx would say, or simone they might say back to someone like Karl Marx, has revolution, become the new opiate of the masses. Thank you for listening. Talk to you. Next time and keep your eyes peeled for part two of this series coming soon, maybe sooner than you think, thanks again to all the people that are sharing the show, leaving reviews, I truly couldn't do this without you. Don't know what to say without sounding cringe here, but have a good rest of your day
Transcript generated on 2022-11-23.