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Emilio Aguinaldo College

SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL


Congressional East Ave., Burol Main,
City of Dasmariñas, Cavite 4114, Philippines

Understanding Simone Weil’s Concept of Attention and EDUCATION


by Mr. Enrique B. De La Torre

Simone Weil‘s educational banner “to teach what is to know” is her philosophy of
education1 that the sole purpose of education is to teach the concept of Attention.2 For Weil,
Attention means consists of suspending our thought, leaving it detached, empty, and ready to
be penetrated by the object; our thought must be empty, waiting, not seeking anything, but
ready to receive in its naked truth the object that is to penetrate it. 3 Her definition of Attention is
subject of philosophical investigation in regards to the nature of ability, in this case, “it is
tendencies to act in a certain manner.” Thus for Weil, the concept of Attention is a way to see
the truth, ―when we pay attention to others, putting aside our own interests and projections and
let them reveal themselves to us,‖4 and patiently to wait to understand the reality of other. ―It is
view that the ultimate good – the foundation of all good lies outside the material world, outside
of our everyday empirical experience of the world.‖ 5 In this case, Weil‘s concept of Attention is a
form of transcendentalism. In the other hand, to prepare the students, ―to be opened to the
reality of others and to the natural world,‖ 6 is the role of education. Teaching should have no aim
but to prepare the students, by training the possibility of an act of Attention. Weil concludes ―the
same faculty (attention) which was central to religious contemplation was also the essence of
application to studies and not only the study of theology and philosophy but all subjects.‖ 7 In
fact, she contends that the academic works is most valuable because it is a ―road to sanctity
that demands nothing less than a (kenosis), an emptying of self.‖8
Indeed, Weil‘s definition of Attention as a capacity to relate to the other, perhaps as an
orientation to the reality of the other can understand into four categories. This may serve as a
caveat for Simone Weil‘s definition of Attention as what she perceived the purpose of study.

1
Literally Simone Weil do not have any written educational theory, however her concept of education is
seen in her essay, ―Reflection on the right use of school studies with a view to the love of God,‖ she wrote
in the last sentence in her notebook found after her death was: ―The most important part of education is to
teach the meaning of to know (in the scientific sense).‖ See, Simone Weil‘s Waiting For God, xi.
2
I will use the word Attention with a capital ―A‖ to designate Weil‘s theory while the same word in the
lower case carries other meanings. See, Simone Weil Waiting for God and Gravity and Grace.
3
Simone Weil, “Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God,” in
Waiting for God, trans. Emma Crawford, 109.
4
Simone Weil, The Simone Weil Reader, in ―Looking With a Just and Loving Gaze: The concept of
Attention in the Writings of Simone Weil and Irish Murdoch,” Karen Ravensbergen, (Simon Fraser
University: Thesis Project, 2011), 9.
5
The Philosophy of Simone Weil (revised version), http://catherinemcdonald.net/Articles/PhilWeil.pdf
(Accessed June 22 2015)
6
Simone Weil, Waiting for God, trans. Emma Crawford, (New York: G. P. Putman‘s Sons, Capricorn
Books ed., 1951), 21.
7
Hellman John, Simone Weil: An Introduction to Her Thought, (Wilfrid Laurier University Press;
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1982), 84.
8
Jeanne Heffernan, ―Academic Studies and the Love of God,” Leaven: Vol. 9: Issue 2 The Academy
and the Church, Article 3. (2001), 1. http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/leaven/vol9/iss2/3 (Accessed
July 23, 2015)

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Emilio Aguinaldo College
SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL
Congressional East Ave., Burol Main,
City of Dasmariñas, Cavite 4114, Philippines

First, Attention as loving someone as they are rather than as whom we would like them to be,
in the same manner as, to see the reality is not just interpreting it but reading it. 9 ―An attention to
God is Weil‘s main concern which greatly involves detachment from the material world of need
and desire for these is distractions and can never satisfy; that so-called detachment or self-
emptying is what she called decreation.‖ 10 With this it has a connection to her view on God,
―Attention is a transformation of the self towards the acceptance of God‘s will, the idea of ‗thy
will be done,‘ in the Christian prayer of the ‗Our Father.‘‖11
Second, Attention is waiting for God. We cannot go straight towards God unless God comes to
us. However, we can choose to be oriented to God, having first emptied ourselves of our
personal conception about God and in a sense, loving God in the void 12 and patiently waiting
and that is Attention.
Third, Attention is prayer; it is a consent to God‘s presence. One consents through exercise of
the faculty of Attention.13
Fourth, Attention is entering the world and worldview of others, seeing things from his
perspective and obliterating one‘s preconceived thoughts.14
Again, more or less, Attention is self-emptying or renunciation is setting aside our
preconceived thoughts in order that the self is open to the reality of others. It is a
transformation of the self to reverse one’s position from being occupied to be oriented
towards the reality, the ultimate good, and that is God. As she emphasized that ―Attention
are the authentic and pure values—truth, beauty and goodness - in the activity of a human
being which are the result of one and the same act, a certain application of the full attention to
the object.‖15
Therefore, ―for Weil, Attention is not simply a discipline of concentration, of attending to the task
at hand, but rather the ‗orientation of all‘ … which the soul is capable towards God.‖ 16

1. Weil’s Attention and Education


For Weil, to redirect the process of attention is a means to access the truth, which is the
reality itself. In the approach of psychology of education the meaning of attention, as Weil points
out, in her essay, Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of
God, she says that most often attention is confused with a kind of muscular effort. To cite an
9
See, Weil, Waiting for God, ―Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of
God.‖
10
Edward Kruk, interviewed by Enrique De La Torre, Gmail, August 18, 2015
11
Dr. D.W. Ekstrand, Spiritual Insights of Simone Weil (website), (Accessed August 10, 2015)
12
―Void‖ is Simone Weil‘s technical term which means ―an inner tension to which nothing in one‘s
external situation corresponds.‖ See, Simone Weil, First and Last notebooks, trans. Richard Ress, (London:
Oxford University Press, 1970), 159.
13
See, Simone Weil, “Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God,”
Waiting for God.
14
Definition given by Edward Kruk, interviewed by Enrique De La Torre, Gmail, August 18, 2015
15
Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, trans. Emma Crawford and Mario von der Ruhr (London and new
York: Routledge Classics, 2002), 119-120.
16
Emma Eppurt, “Altering Habits of Attention in Education: Simone Weil and Emmanuel Levinas” in
‖Spirituality and Ethics in Education (Philosophical, Theological and Radical Perspectives), ed., Hanan
Alexander, (UK: Sussex Academic Press, 2004), 124.

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Emilio Aguinaldo College
SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL
Congressional East Ave., Burol Main,
City of Dasmariñas, Cavite 4114, Philippines

example, if one says to one‘s pupils: ―Now you must pay attention,‖ one sees them contracting
their brows, holding their breath, stiffening their muscles. If after two minutes they are asked
what they have been paying attention to, they cannot reply. They have been concentrating on
nothing. They have not been paying attention. They have been contracting their muscles.17
Weil, on the other hand, wants us to see the object of our attention that entails the meaning
of reality and that must be the focus of our orientation. In short, to give attention is ―… to come
to understand with our whole self the truths which are evident.‖ 18 Moreover, the word attention in
the language of Weil has important point to consider, Theorist Michael Ross explains Weil‘s use
of word “attendre or/ attente,” he says,

Attendre and Attente refer to the arrival of the other to the one who waits, whereas
attention and attentive have to do with the way the other is presented in a correlation
to the one who receives this presentation. It is critical to note that this
phenomenology of presentation and reception as described in these words also has
to do with specific practices of care (sion), concern and considerateness. As Weil
used them, they unmistakably and deliberately convey the sense that when we wait
on another‘s arrival, or pay attention to the appearance of another, we are attending
in concrete ways to their good.19

For this reason, Weil‘s account on Attention would give another approach on teaching as ―a
just and loving gaze directed upon the individual reality.‖ 20 The ability to orient the self towards
the reality of the other that is the student leads into an authentic dialogue of teaching to them.
With emphasis to this, I dare to connect this idea ―to have a power of reflection on the acquired
knowledge, the depth of their understanding and the chances of widening of opinion and value
judgments‖ that carries the attitude both student and the teacher on how they interact to one
another. For Weil, the truth is the needs for others to attend to the students‘ needs. In short,
Weil‘s educational banner, ―to teach what is to know‖ is precisely to pin point what is that needs
of the student through the practice of Attention.
With this, the teachers might understand the nature of the person to be educated, the
students. In the process of Weil‘s concept of Attention, the teacher is engaging into the spiritual
realm of the human person because of deep contemplation. What I mean in the ‗spiritual realm‘
is the degree of receptivity in focusing one‘s attention outside the self, we valued much the
object of our attention in order for us to reorient ourselves guiding us in a genuinely interaction.
As a result, teacher‘s quality approach in teaching would serves as ―… role models for telling the
truth, respecting others, accepting and fulfilling responsibilities, … and living a moral life.‖ 21

17
Weil, Waiting for God, “Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of
God,” 109.
18
Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, trans. Emma Crawford and Mario von der Ruhr (London and New
York: Routledge Classics, 2002), 118.
19
Karen Ravensbergen, Looking With a Just and Loving Gaze: The concept of Attention in the Writings
of Simone Weil and Irish Murdoch, (Simon Fraser University: Thesis Project, 2011),10.
20
Irish Murdoch, The Sovereignty of God, (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970), 34.
21
Angela Lumpkin, ―Teachers as Role Models Teaching Character and Moral Virtues,‖ Joperd, Vol. 79
Issue No. 2. (February 2008), 49.

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Emilio Aguinaldo College
SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL
Congressional East Ave., Burol Main,
City of Dasmariñas, Cavite 4114, Philippines

Society is best served when teachers teach and model, and students develop, character and
moral virtues. This is Simone Weil‘s would like to suggest that the quality of teaching is best
serve when we open ourselves to the reality of others as she points out:

Every time that a human being succeeds in making an effort of Attention with the
sole idea of increasing his grasp of truth, he acquires a greater aptitude for grasping
it, even if his effort produces no visible fruit.22

As Peter Roberts asserts Weil‘s contentions in her views on education that she reminds us of
the need of humility in teaching he says,

Weil prompts us to rethink the process of knowing. Developing our capacity for
attention is both epistemological and a moral process. … A desire to know, as
applied through an effort of attention, thus becomes a process of knowing, even if
this is not self-evident to the power of time. 23

Above all, Weil‘s concept of Attention is a technique to access the truth about quality
education that resides outside the self through contemplating the reality of the students as the
object of Attention. Indeed, the concept of Attention is an indirect pedagogical approach that
nurtures the quality of teaching methodology.

2. The Process of Attention: Decreation and Affliction


In this section, I will try to expose how does Attention takes place, in its nature as a
tendency to act in a certain manner. Attention is best to apply in the notion of empathy. Since,
the word ―empathy involves having the feelings of another (involuntarily) aroused in us, of the
contagion between what one person feels and what another comes to feel.‖ 24 More or less,
Simone Weil‘s Attention is an ability to be an empathic person in a certain manner in which the
other persuades you conditionally.
There are two elements to consider in order that Attention is achieved. These are the notion
of decreation as self-emptying or renunciation, this is the reversal of the ego from subjective
into objective point of view. Then, the knowledge of affliction serves as the moral energy to
conduct a compassionate action towards the other. Here, the goal of Attention is to give way to
receive the reality of the other.

2.1. Knowledge of Affliction


For instance, we often visited funeral, sick relative, encountered beggars that caused us to feel
suffer perhaps our self is with them, in thoughts, as well as disturbance in the human soul that
22
Simone Weil, ―Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God,‖ in
Waiting for God, trans. Emma Crawford, (New York: G. P. Putman‘s Sons, Capricorn Books ed., 1951),
107.
23
Peter Roberts, Attention, Asceticism and Grace: Simone Weil and Higher Education, (Published in
Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, vol. 10 no. 3, 2011), 325.
http://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/bitstream/10092/7312/1/12615020Attention,%20Aceticism%20and%20Grace.pdf
(accessed July 23,2014)
24
Michael Slote, The Ethics of Care and Empathy, (London and New York: Routledge, 2007), 13.

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SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL
Congressional East Ave., Burol Main,
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pushes us to feel a compassionate reaction towards them. In other words, this human
experience is affliction with the participation of affection not feeling brings us to undergo deep
realization. Therefore, through the knowledge of affliction orients us to have a humble approach
towards the reality of others. Simone Weil emphasized affliction as quite different from simply
suffering.

Affliction takes possession of the soul and marks it through and through with the
mark of slavery. Pain that is only physical is a very unimportant matter and leaves no
trace in the soul… on the other hand, affliction is an uprooting of life, a more or less
attenuated equivalent of death. There is not real affliction unless the event that has
seized and uprooted a life attacks it in all its parts social, psychological and physical.
The great enigma of human life is not suffering but affliction, at the very best, he who
is branded by affliction will keep only half his soul.25

Considering this passage, the knowledge of affliction makes the ―I‖, (who) in the reality of the
other person and the other person as (what) is this other person means to me? 26 This means to
say, that the knowledge of affliction presupposes our understanding in regards to our disposition
towards the other. Disposition here may understand as our internal relation which includes our
emotions, feeling, intuitions, et cetera to the other. In other words, external relation in terms of
social interaction suggests locating our dispositional displacement within the system of our
thought to relate to the other better.27 To put it differently, human person possess their own
value system this is:

A configuration of culture, the dominant motivations and basic principles of people‘s


behavior, the cultural ethics…their views about the rightness and wrongness,
desirability or undesirability, appropriateness or un appropriateness of
actions… their concept of what is important… their attitudes towards themselves
and others, towards nature, the universe and God, their perception of reality, …the
meaning they attach to things.28

In this value system, human person uses this as a language of interpretation, conception
and understanding of a person in the process of social interaction. This implies to arrange the
sequences of our thought in handling, dealing and accepting the reality of the other person. We
intend to understand the reality in reference to our own value system. Similar to Weil, she says,

25
Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, trans. Emma Crawford and Mario von der Ruhr (London and New
York: Routledge Classics, 2002), 117-120.
26
William Robert, A Mystic Impulse: From Apophatics to Decreation in Pseudo-Dionysius, Meister
Eckhart and Simone Weil: Surface.‖ Religion: College of Arts and Science (2012): 113-132, 124.
http://surface.syr.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1084&context=rel (Accessed July 18, 2015)
27
What I intend to point out here is ―to locate ourselves into our own value system‖ which caused us to
have evaluation of one‘s understanding about the reality, particularly the other person.
28
Tomas Andres, Understanding Filipino Values A Management Approach, (Quezon City, Philippines,
New Day Publisher, 1981), page?

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Congressional East Ave., Burol Main,
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the world is an ordered system it is like a pattern to be followed, the universe for her, is an act of
full obedience and she called this as necessity.29
In obedience, the necessity refers to, as an action takes place we arrange the sequence of
thoughts, as if we realign new sets of thought in order to do the particular action. To make it
clear, on how the knowledge of affliction serves as an epistemology. Simone Weil emphasized
her notion of knowledge from her dissertation paper, Science and perception in Descartes by
replacing Rene Descartes, epistemological banner, ―I think therefore I exist‖ to ―I can act
therefore I exist.‖ She asked, ―What is next after the certainty that you are a thinking being?‖
Weil explained that thinking is an action: According to Weil, the moment we think entails for an
action to be acted, which Descartes does not emphasize. 30 For Weil, what is important is the
way the formula is characterized as thought itself as activity. Furthermore, Weil explains that,
―when a man thinks, he is acting‖ her point is that thinking is an activity. Say for example, when
we act towards the other, we presuppose thinking as action and within the very action, it carries
affection, for Weil, intellect and feeling is inseparable in which thinking and action are the same.
Simone Weil emphasized that the consciousness of human being begins with sensation. It was
in the mind that we came to realize it. ―We have certain innate desires and tendencies which are
developed into evaluative attitudes toward these objects, these evaluative attitudes direct their
actions.‖31
At this moment Weil guides us that the emphasis of the knowledge of affliction is to orient us
to the situated condition of the other person or/ human condition. This may serve as an
orientation that might reveal the necessary full human functioning. 32 This knowledge of affliction
(malheur), which is an intellectual awareness of the suffering of others, gives the concept of
what truth is. Truly, Attention as defined in the beginning, ― … our thought must be empty,
waiting, not seeking anything, but ready to receive in its naked truth the object that is to
penetrate it.‖

2.2. Notion of Decreation


Simone Weil views this differently, given that there are only two faculties where actions
spring: the reason and the will. Considering that we set aside these former, wherein she says,
―to correct the reality is not by means of acts of the will but through Attention.‖ In contrast, the
will, for Weil, ―what language designates as will is something suggestive of muscular effort,‖ 33 it
is a natural inclination of our great activity where we are driven by our desire to act. ―It is
because the will has no power to bring salvation … the will in what is, so to speak, it‘s most

29
Simone Weil, Lectures on Philosophy trans. Hugh Price intro. Peter Winch, (New York: Cambridge
University Press, 1978), 13.
30
Ibid. 9-13.
31
Ibid. 114-115.
32
―Man are bounded by duty of service to the other.‖ Simone Weil, The Needs for Roots Prelude to a
Declaration of Duties Towards Mankind trans. Arthur Wills preface by T.S. Eliot, (London and New York:
Routledge, 1949)
33
Simone Weil, Waiting for God, trans. Emma Crawford, (New York: G. P. Putman‘s Sons, Capricorn
Books ed., 1951), 193.

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muscular aspect.‖34 She illustrates, ―the weeds are pulled up by the muscular effort of the
peasant, but only sun and water can make the corn grow.‖ 35 In this quotation, and in relation to
education, Simone Weil explains that,

Will power, the kind that, if need be, makes us set our teeth and endure suffering, is
the principal weapon of the apprentice engaged in manual work. But, contrary to the
usual belief, it has practically no place in study. The intelligence can only be led by
desire. For there to be desire, there must be pleasure and joy in the work. The
intelligence only grows and bears fruit in joy. The joy of learning is as
indispensable in study as breathing is in running. Where it is lacking there are
no real students, but only poor caricatures of apprentices who, at the end of their
apprenticeship, will not even have a trade.36

Weil clearly stresses that in all our actions to learn we cannot separate both affective and
cognitive aspect of learning. It is happened that our approach in teaching should both serve the
two domains of learning. In order to do that, however, it is through the notion of decreation as
self-emptying, leaving the self-open and ready to be penetrated by the truth (outside the self), in
which the knowledge of affliction can takes place. Wherein, to decreates (notion of decreation)
the self in order to understand the other, it should have begun with receptive desire (knowledge
of affliction) to act.

Decreation is the reversal of the objective and the subjective. Similarly, reversal of
the positive and the negative… We are born and live in an inverted fashion, for we
are born and live in sin which is an inversion of the hierarchy. The first operation is
one of reversal—Conversion… It has to die in order to liberate the energy it bears
within it so that with this energy new forms may be developed. So we have to die in
order to liberate a tied up energy, in order to possess an energy which is free and
capable of understanding the true relationship of things.37

By renouncing the self or/ in Weil‘s term decreates the self, our action carries both
understanding and feelings, it seems that it affects the ―ego/the self‖ leading to the reversal of
the self from first to third person point of view. As it gives a way for the receiving of the other as
if we donate the ―I‖ to the other, in essence, this elaborates empathy. Thus, within the value of
empathy we identify ourselves and as the self-relocate within the reality of the other, the self is
precisely in the act of relation.
Moreover, the notion of decreation is the authenticity of the human person certainly
because it caters the knowledge of affliction. Consequently, it provides an understanding that
our journey to become fully human functioning, is a spiritual journey which begins and ends in
the heart of the self to think and to act compassionately. Certainly, Weil specified, ―Know

34
Ibid. 195.
35
Ibid. 193.
36
Ibid. 110.
37
That is also the meaning of the philosophy of the Upanishads. Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, trans.
Emma Crawford and Mario von der Ruhr (London and New York: Routledge Classics, 2002), 34-35.

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yourself, means ‗Do not identify yourself with your thought.‘‖38 Weil argues that we are not
supposed to derive the idea from an act of mental abstraction unless you act what you think.
―We simply do act; we operate, what is more, our actions, our perception, exhibit a pattern.‖ 39
Nevertheless, Attention gives another comprehension into the life of the mind and the self and it
makes us to take a humble approach to the other, the self and the reality.

3. “To teach what is to know”: The educational purpose of Weil’s Attention


In one sense, the process of Attention would serves as an aid to inculcate that human person
is not just good by nature but human person is a holy man, there was a sacred core in the
consciousness of the human person.40 Meanwhile, Attention as an orientation towards the self
and the other is seems to read the reality of the students, ―… when in reality they should be an
object of contemplation.‖41 According to Weil, compassionate action rests upon a deep
knowledge of affliction: when we look at the person, find the affliction within the person captured
it then review it to your own experience (empathy), if you cannot relate to it, then ask the
person42 ―what are you going through?‖43 This question demands ethical behavior that promotes
a compassionate action that develops intrinsic values. ―This is a way of looking, is first of all
attentive. The soul empties itself of all its own concerns in order to receive into itself the being it
is looking at, just he is, in all his truth‖44
In short, to put great Attention to the afflicted side of the person leads us to compassionate
action and eventually to contemplate the revelation of what obligation is to be performed. In this,
we are fully penetrated by the object of our attention through affliction the person makes his
action and thinking pure as new sets of understanding attained from contemplation then the
movement towards the absolute Good (God) is achieved.
Therefore, Attention is a means of deepening one‘s ethical character. It is a dynamic rather
than static understanding of the ethics.45As a result, the person who practices Attention would
see another perspective of looking at the things he/she encounters and that different radical
vision is a moral perception. This means to say, that the way a person look at the reality
connotes deep ethical evaluation.

38
Sharon Cameron, ―The Practice of Attention: Simone Weil‘s Performance of Impersonality,‖ Critical
Inquiry 29 (2003), 216-252, www.jstor.org (accessed January 10, 2016)
39
Peter Winch, Simone Weil, The Just Balance, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 53.
40
Edward Kruk, The Spiritual Transformation of Social (Justice) Work: A Character of Social
Responsibilities Corresponding to vital Human Needs, http://www.stu.ca/~spirituality/Kruk.pdf (Accessed
July 18, 2015)
41
Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, trans. Emma Crawford and Mario von der Ruhr (London and New
York: Routledge Classics, 2002), 129.
42
Simone Weil, Waiting for God, trans. Emma Crawford, (New York: G. P. Putman‘s Sons, Capricorn
Books ed., 1951) in Edward Kruk, The Spiritual Transformation of Social (Justice) Work: A Character of
Social Responsibilities Corresponding to vital Human Needs.
43
Simone Weil, Waiting for God, trans. Emma Crawford, (New York: G. P. Putman‘s Sons, Capricorn
Books ed., 1951), 115.
44
Ibid.
45
Karen Ravensbergen, ―Looking With a Just and Loving Gaze: The concept of Attention in the Writings
of Simone Weil and Irish Murdoch,” 35.

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In this case, I suggest having deep reflection in classroom management and in the
approach of teaching. Besides, what is lacking in classroom management is the habit of
wondering, why they are doing and what they do? Unless asked directly the students, ―What are
you going through?‖ to wait the answer, that is the product of the teacher‘s contemplation
towards his students as Weil suggested. For this purpose, teaching as a means to develop the
concept of Attention through giving ourselves to others – attending to them and reducing our
focus on ourselves.46
In sum, the virtue of humility in teaching as a product of Attention is the source of our moral
energy that lies outside of us in understanding the self and the other. Perhaps, Weil allows us to
rethink the process of knowing by asking, ―What are you going through?‖ to review and evaluate
the student‘s values system. Now, if we realized the value of recognition of the other then this
would be our preparation to mature spiritually. Since, what is important is the moral energy of
compassionate looking to the others, of which it caused us to act passionately, perhaps in
approach in our teaching methodology. The goal of the teachers is to purify the way they read
the reality to achieve a morally upright personality. It includes the moral and spiritual task is to
purify our desire by the rigorous renunciation of the ego, its position, its rights, and its account of
its individual wants.47 Weil says,

There is something in our soul which has a far more violent repugnance for true
attention than the flesh has for bodily fatigue. This something is much more closely
connected with evil than is the flesh. That is why every time that we really
concentrate our attention, we destroy the evil in ourselves. If we concentrate with this
intention, a quarter of an hour of attention is better the many good works. 48

The importance of Simone Weil‘s Attention is the understanding of our reality, which is
inseparable to progress both in human life and in spiritual maturity. Nevertheless, the field of
education brings not only intellectual training but at the same time allows man to transcend his
rationality which must be first seen in classroom setting. Both an orientation that lead towards a
view of spiritual maturity and classroom management within the perspective and influence of the
teachers that brings both integration and values education.

46
Peter Roberts, ―Attention, Asceticism and Grace: Simone Weil and Higher Education.”
47
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edwards Craig, gen. ed. (London and New York: Routledge,
1998), p. 699.
48
Simone Weil, “Reflection of the Right use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God,” Waiting
for God, p. 72;
Henry Leroy Finch, ―Simone Weil and the Intellect of Grace‖, 2.

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