Manisha Parekh

07 Feb – 04 Mar 2017

Line of Light

Two forces govern the universe, the French mystic, Simone Weil believed— light and gravity. “The source of man’s moral energy is outside him, like that of his physical energy (food, air etc.). He generally finds it, and that is why he has the illusion—as on the physical plane—that his being carries the principle of its preservation within itself,” she writes in the beginning of her posthumously published treatise, Gravity & Grace. “Privation alone makes him feel his need. And in the event of privation, he cannot help turning to anything whatever which is edible,” she elaborates. Eating is thus a remedial act, a means by which one sustains one’s existence. However, if the ultimate end is transcendence, the anything whatever that is ingested in order to either satisfy hunger or fulfil a bodily demand for nutrition must be qualified. 

Weil’s prescription was deliciously simple, one that bridged the relationship between the biology of the human and the sentience of the plant world: “a chlorophyll conferring the faculty of feeding on light”. Where Nietzche, in Thus Spake Zarathushtra, had preached that man’s original sin was that primarily “as long as mankind has existed, man has felt too little joy”, Weil proposes that all sin, even the original sin stemmed from a single fault: “incapacity to feed upon light, for where capacity to do this has been lost all faults are possible.”

Download Rosalyn D'Mello's complete text here