The Need for Roots

Prelude to a Declaration of Duties Towards Mankind (Routledge Classics)

320 pages

English language

Published Nov. 9, 2001 by Routledge.


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4 stars (1 review)

The Need for Roots: prelude towards a declaration of duties towards mankind (French: L'Enracinement, prélude à une déclaration des devoirs envers l'être humain) is a book by Simone Weil. It was first published in French in 1949, titled L'Enracinement. The first English translation was published in 1952. Like all of Weil's books it was published posthumously. The work diagnoses the causes of the social, cultural and spiritual malaise which Weil saw as afflicting 20th century civilisation, particularly Europe but also the rest of the world. 'Uprootedness' is defined as a near universal condition resulting from the destruction of ties with the past and the dissolution of community. Weil specifies the requirements that must be met so that peoples can once again feel rooted, in a cultural and spiritual sense, to their environment and to both the past and to expectations for the future. The book discusses the political, cultural and …

23 editions

Making Contact with a Great Soul

4 stars

In the introduction to this book, TS Eliot writes: "I cannot conceive of anybody’s agreeing with all of her views, or of not disagreeing violently with some of them. But agreement and rejection are secondary: what matters is to make contact with a great soul." This, to me, summarises The Need for Roots well. This book is less about what is written and more about the framing of moral, social and political philosophy that Weil offers.

Written in 1943 and published just after WWII, this book was commissioned to understand why France capitulated so easily at the beginning of the war. It offers that and much more. Part 1: "The Needs of the Soul" is strong by itself. It is a treatise on how "rootedness" is necessary for people to be connected to place. The ideas predate many sociological ideas about place that were later taken on by pheonomenological philosophers …