In response to Simone Weil's Gravity and Grace
“Gravity. Generally what we expect of others depends on the effect of gravity upon ourselves, what we receive from them depends on the effect of gravity upon them. Sometimes (by chance) the two coincide, often they do not.”
Weil’s idea of Gravity carries a much deeper meaning compared to what we typically learn in science class. Could gravity represent our aura or essence? The thing we radiate onto others and within ourselves? This idea that man’s expectations of what we should receive from others must first be within us reminds me of §421 from The Wager. The aphorism explains that we cannot expect we are worthy enough to be loved by others. But what if Weil’s belief adds more depth to that idea? Maybe we cannot grasp the “gravity” of others if we do not even understand our own gravity, our worth. Weil later mentions the rareness of two gravities coinciding. When one individual tries to reach out to another, others tend to recede from it. While I read this, I imagined that our gravity is like a magnet. If there are two positive charges, they resist each other. If we radiate the same kind of gravity/aura against another human, maybe that is why the balance is off and we fail to coexist. However, there are times when one magnet could possibly flip, thus allowing these two magnets to click together. Is there an answer though to how we can achieve that?
“Too great affliction places a human being beneath pity: it arouses disgust, horror and scorn. Pity goes down to a certain level but not below it. What does charity do in order to descend lower? Have those who have fallen so low pity on themselves?”
Pity is typically associated with those who have hit rock-bottom or in general, suffer. I always thought it was strange that pity tends to be a harsher word than sympathy, even though they possess the same meaning. When someone pities you, the feelings that Weil mentions— disgust, horror and scorn— emerge within us. But when there are those who want to help you, why do we feel even lower? I agree with Weil’s question about why does charity cause those to descend further down into this realm of pity. Humans are humans. We make mistakes and we most definitely have bad days. Why does the guidance or comfort of others make us feel worthless rather than appreciative? Sometimes we need these things from others in order to make our worth, our “gravity,” ascend once again. Pitying oneself is often interpreted as an ignorant and weak excuse. We expect that when we feel sad about ourselves, others will automatically reciprocate a sense of compassion towards us. Humans do have the capability to pity themselves, but the intentions behind it can veer towards selfishness. If an individual remains in this pool of self-pity, they risk isolation from others due to their negative energy.
All quotes are from Gravity and Grace by Simone Weil