How Paying Attention Leads to Kindness

Simone Weil’s radical conception of attention leads us to be kinder

Bio Med Center

Desire Activates Attention

For Simone Weil, it’s desire — not willpower — that activates attention. While commonly taught notions of attention emphasize zeroing in on a task while looking for an expected answer, Weil is not preoccupied with finding one.


Attention is Like a Translator

Attention is like a translator creating a new text from a pre-existing one. If the translator wants to represent the sentiment and language of the original text accurately, their personality and thoughts do not get in the way of the translation. They’re thinking about what to put on the page, but the author’s words shape their answers. They’ll represent the original text in meaning, word selection, and delivery if they’re a good translator.



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