I think it’s time for me to revisit Simone Weil. I was obsessed with her when I was in college – my broken little anorexic self was impossibly drawn to the similar rumors about her abstemious self-denial (she died of starvation at 34) and her penchant for elective suffering – but I stumbled away from her Christian martyrdom for a more pointed selfish variety after graduation. For some reason, recently, though, I started thinking about her again.
I’m not sure how to proceed; I’m not sure how to say why; and so I suppose I’ll just jump right in.
Over the past week or two, though nothing explicit or objective in my life has changed, I’ve been overcome by these absurd washes of love, which come from nowhere and which I can’t explain. I can’t focus on anything for too long or I get choked up by the perfection of whatever it is I’m seeing. It’s at turns absurd and embarrassing and it’s made even meditation difficult. I keep crying in the middle of my sits.
Yesterday, though, I remembered being struck at one point by Weil’s observation about the relationship between love and attention. “The highest ecstasy,” she wrote, “is the attention at its fullest.” I wish I remembered more of her spiritual algebra. I’m curious about the details of the equation.
(I remember something else she wrote that for years I was in a denial too deep to appreciate.
Life does not need to mutilate itself in order to be pure. )
This, though, is not something I’m so concerned with. I’m more interested, again, in the connection between paying attention to something, and loving it, and vice versa. I’m not sure whether or not I should be skittish about revisiting this particular Christian; I’m not sure what perversity in myself still exists that I want to associate mortification and mysticism. Certainly there is something laughable the fact that I still want to intellectualize everything; I want to know how it was she worked the details of this connection. I want the satisfaction of a map.
I’ll consider this a note to myself, then, to come back to this, and to come back soon. Right now I have a paper to finish.