Mesocosm

"A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us." – Franz Kafka

What is inhuman?

with 2 comments

This morning I’m reading Simone Weil’s essay “The Iliad, or the Poem of Force,” and wonder if what I love most about the poem is precisely what Weil loves least – its unflinching recognition and affirmation of the simple truth that much within humanity’s heart is not itself, human. To the moralist and idealist, this is an insufferable torment; to me, it is the beginning of redemption.

Weil evokes lines from the final book of the Iliad:

No one saw Priam enter. He stopped,
Clasped the knees of Achilles, kissed his hands,
Those terrible man-killing hands that slaughtered so many of his sons.

And for a moment at least, re-reading these lines, I think that Homer is even greater than Shakespeare, and I love him for giving us an image of human beings reduced to their essence by the uttermost extremity of conflict, yet neither is evil.

Such a view holds them, and us, in acceptance, and does not require us to purge ourselves of inhumanity, and to become, thereby, inhuman.

Her essay: http://biblio3.url.edu.gt/SinParedes/08/Weil-Poem-LM.pdf

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Written by Mesocosm

September 15, 2015 at 6:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. ” To the moralist and idealist, this is an insufferable torment; to me, it is the beginning of redemption.” Agreed. No better description of the discovery of Buddha-Nature. I wonder if there is a “Buddha-Nature” of all things. Japanese “Noh” (and Shinto) would be begin to make sense to me, if so.

    Paul S.

    September 15, 2015 at 10:51 am

  2. Reblogged this on Ante Quem.

    coerdia

    September 17, 2015 at 9:52 am


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