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Following from a surprising mention of Simone Weil by French president Emmanuel Macron, here’s why her philosophy and ideas about the myth of progress are especially relevant today

Following from a surprising mention of Simone Weil by French president Emmanuel Macron, here’s why her philosophy and ideas about the myth of progress are especially relevant today

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11 Comments


  1. tylmin

    July 19, 2017 at 2:41 am

    Martin Luther King Jr also said “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” so…

  2. LesDrosophiles

    July 19, 2017 at 2:41 am

    I do not follow Macron closely, so pardon my question, but maybe Macron was mentioning Simone Veil that recently passed away. Not the same persone: Simone Veil was a politician (known for making legal the contraceptive pill). Simone Weil is a long passed-away philosopher.

  3. subito_lucres

    July 19, 2017 at 2:41 am

    Thanks for showing me something new (to me), but I fundamentally disagree with the initial assumption.

    Christianity is not primarily a theology of historical progress. It’s a theology teaching that paradise is in the past, and that since the Fall, the world is degrading and heading towards destruction, only *after* which God restores us to paradise (maybe).

    EDIT: just to be clear, I don’t mean that there aren’t Christian progressives (e.g., political liberals), nor do I mean that Christian theology isn’t one of personal progress (e.g., progressing closer to God). I strictly mean “progress” in the context of historical arcs, as Simone Weil was using it. Historically, most Christian theologians have not portrayed the arc of history as a positive one, but as a negative one. That is all I am saying.

  4. of_course_you_agree

    July 19, 2017 at 2:41 am

    Interested parties might also like to see the essay “Is Progress Possible?” by C.S. Lewis.

  5. ujustdontgetdubstep

    July 19, 2017 at 2:41 am

    aaaaaaaaaand now I’ve ordered ‘Gravity & Grace’

    Thanks OP

  6. [deleted]

    July 19, 2017 at 2:41 am

    [removed]

  7. Ogatu

    July 19, 2017 at 2:41 am

    I agree with a lot of what Simone Weil has to say. Progress… it’s not a linear path in any means. It’s something humanity constantly has to struggle for. Even today in the 21st century in 2017 in the United States people are having to fight the good fight for freedoms that had been established a little more than 100 years ago. The Black community is under a lot of pressure from media and the police from what they can say with unjust police shootings. A lot of the gerrymandering and red-lining that was supposed to be abolished even longer ago is still ever so present currently.

    Another great example is how, even though we have passed laws for legality of marrying and legal ability to share estate, banking, etc. for the LGBTQ community these individuals are still being denied these exact services.

    Progress in general is more of a rising and falling slope. History is in no way linear. To assume that humanity will continue to progress to.. what near perfection? Is asinine to say the least.

    Humans cannot even come together on the most basic of ideas for a general consensus, such as murder.

    I’m not saying it’s pointless to attempt to progress, but it isn’t something we can idly sit on. We continually have to push and demand progress and freedoms for all or it will slowly dwindle back to the way things used to be.

  8. aggrojag

    July 19, 2017 at 2:41 am

    She was great in the Olympic gymnastics too.

  9. dewarr

    July 19, 2017 at 2:41 am

    Hm…hadn’t heard of Weil before, but it seems her work has a partial similarity with that of Eric Vogelin.

  10. MensaIsBoring

    July 19, 2017 at 2:41 am

    Really depressing.

  11. herbw

    July 19, 2017 at 2:41 am

    200 years ago we could only fly, at the vagaries of the wind, using hot air balloons. then in the 1880’s came gliders. Then by the early 20th C. came the Wrights and the plethora of different kinds of flying machines after them.

    By the 1950’s jets were in operation, faster and more luxurious than anything before.

    Now we can fly to other planets and send probes and other data gathering satellites to most any world in our solar system.

    the same kind of progress is being seen with the immense improvement over the centuries since the telescope was invented. To those huge scopes which can see further and better than any others just a couple generations ago, too.

    Progress is what this is called, and it’s not a myth, either. And it’s present in almost every major field from imaging, to pharmacology, to computers, CGI and much else.

    If this is mythology then the definition of myth has been woefully and badly mis-characterized!!!

    Come into the 21st C. of our progress.

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