Sunday, 27 August 2017

Force of Death from Simone Weil on the Iliad

This is very fine:

War is then a lark and vulgarly loved. But for the majority, this situation does not last. A day comes when fear, defeat, the death of beloved comrades make the soul of the warrior succumb to necessity. War then ceases to be a game or a dream; the warrior finally understands that it actually exists. It is a harsh reality, infinitely too harsh to tolerate, for it embraces death. The idea of death is insupportable, except in short bursts, when one knows that death is in fact possible. It is true that every man is destined to die and that a soldier may grow old in battles, but for those whose soul is bent beneath the yoke of war, the connection between death and the future is not the same as for other men. For others, death is a limit imposed on the future. For soldiers, it is the future itself, the future their vocation allots. That men should have death for their future is unnatural. Once the practice of war has made clear the possibility of death contained in every moment, thought becomes incapable of passing from one day to the next without encountering the image of death. The spirit is then strained so much that it can endure only a short time; but every new dawn brings with it the same necessity; days joined to days fill out years. The soul undergoes duress every day. Each morning it amputates itself of all aspiration, for thought cannot travel in time without encountering death
(from The Iliad: The Poem of Force

1 comment:

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