Simone de Beauvoir: Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter

16 October 2019

She [Simone Weil] intrigued me because of her great reputation for intelligence and her bizarre get-up … A great famine had broken out in China, and I was told that when she heard the news she had wept: these tears compelled my respect much more than her gifts as a philosopher. I envied her having a heart that could beat right across the world. I managed to get near her one day. I don’t know how the conversation got started; she declared in no uncertain tones that only one thing mattered in the world: the revolution which would feed all the starving people of the earth. I retorted, no less peremptorily, that the problem was not to make men happy, but to find the reason for their existence. She looked me up and down: ‘It’s easy to see you’ve never been hungry,’ she snapped.

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