The torment of beauty (Simone Weil)
September 8, 2013
Beauty is the supreme mystery in this world. It is a brilliance that attracts attention but gives it no motive to stay. Beauty is always promising and never gives anything; it creates a hunger but has in it no food for the part of the soul that tries here below to be satisfied; it has food only for the part of the soul that contemplates. It creates desire, and it makes it clearly felt that there is nothing in it [beauty] to be desired, because one insists above all that nothing about it change. If one does not seek out measures by which to escape from the delicious torment inflicted by it, desire is little by little transformed into love, and a seed of the faculty of disinterested and pure attention is created.
(Écrits de Londres et dernières lettres, Paris: Gallimard, 1957, p. 37; translation by Rush Rhees, in Discussions of Simone Weil, p. 32)
That is a perfect encapsulation of Weil’s philosophy, which is always theology as well.