In her book L’Enracinement (The Need for Roots), which she wrote while working with De Gaulle’s Free French in London, Weil does not just address issues like. L’enracinement by Simone Weil, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. Simone Weil, The Need for Roots: Prelude to a Declaration of Duties towards Mankind. tags: duties, obligations, responsibilities, Simone Weil, L’ enracinement.

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Weil also makes a distinction between physical needs such as for food, heating and medical attention and non-physical needs that are concerned with the “moral side” of life. A leading theme is the need to recognise the spiritual nature of work.

A man, considered in isolation, only has duties, amongst which are certain duties towards himself. Weil claims that while rights are subject to varying conditions, obligations are “eternal”, “situated above this world” and “independent of conditions”, applying to all human beings. Articles containing French-language text. Eliot praised the work’s balanced judgement, shrewdness and good sense.

Weil advises that an ideal society ought to involve a balance of equality and inequality. She also suggests the movement towards recognising the spirituality of work could be embraced by all section of society – it would be welcomed by progressives and conservatives alike, with even atheist communists not opposing the idea, as certain quotes from Marx deplored the lack of spirituality in the capitalist world of work – so the movement could create unity.

Weil says providing workers with high culture in a form they can suggest is much simpler than objectors expect. Disciplinary punishments help to reinforce an individual’s good conscience, by providing external support in the battle against falling into vice. Inspiring a nation is therefore a task that ought to be undertaken methodically. Weil asserts that prior to about the 16th century religion and science were united by the search for Truth, but have since become separated and in some cases even mutually hostile, with religion often the loser in the battle for public opinion.


With regards to the family for example, for most people it has contracted just to the nuclear unit of man, wife and children.

The relationships between various educational topics and everyday life as experienced by the workers should be explored.

The other obstacles are idolisation of money, a degraded sense of Justice, and a lack of religious inspiration. Want to Read saving…. Most of the work discusses the general case and is of broad and lasting relevance.

For the urban poor without work it’s even worse, unemployment is described as “uprootedness squared. Propaganda should be banned and people who deliberately lie in the media should be liable to severe penalties.

The Best Books of Prelude to a Declaration of Duties towards Mankind. The actual relationship between the two is as between object and subject.

Part 3 is undivided and discusses the possibilities for inspiring a nation.


Both the left and right include activists who want the working class to be rooted again, but on the left there is sizeable contingent who merely want slmone to be enraciement to the same level of unrootedness as the proletariats, and on the right a section who want the workers to remain unrooted the better to be able to exploit them.

Only a small part of the book discusses the specific solutions that were of unique applicability to France in the s. Part 1 begins with a discussion of obligations and rights. Weil goes into some detail on collectives. Weil proposes various measures to address urban uprootedness.


Reforms in education would also be needed. Le contre-transfert Harold Searles. Sign in with Facebook Sign in options. Like any elevated idea, care should be taken when promoting the union of work and spirituality lest it become discredited due to cynicism and suspicion, and thereby impossible to achieve.

The Need for Roots – Wikipedia

Brothers and sisters are already a little bit distant, with very few ever giving the slightest consideration to relatives that died more than 10 years before they were born, or to those who will be born after they have died. Weil writes of the importance of a system of hierarchy in which one feels devotion towards superiors, not as individuals, but as symbols. Four obstacles are listed that make it difficult to inspire a people towards genuine goodness.

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In communities where all essential needs are satisfied there will be a “flowering of fraternity, joy, beauty and happiness”. To accomplish the task it’s essential to simultaneously point people in the direction of the good while at the same time providing the necessary motivation, so as to provide energy for the required effort.

Weil suggests similar parallels could be targeted for urban workers. Many academics have become obsessed with learning not for a desire for knowledge for its own sake but due to the utility it offers for attaining social prestige. Equality is an essential need when defined as a recognition that everyone is entitled to an equal amount of respect as a human being, regardless of any differences.