Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The importance of being nothing

Simone Weil's insistence on the importance of being nothing has an implication for what we call the problem of suffering. It is the instinct for self-preservation, putting oneself at the centre of one's concern, that makes us ask, 'Why is this happening to me?' It is the same instinct that causes me to think that God sent suffering by an act of his will and for my good. But the chief use of suffering is to teach me that I am nothing.

In Gravity and Grace she writes, 'The extreme greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering but a supernatural use for it.' It is precisely because evil has no explanation, that the suffering can be used to show that one is nothing.

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