Real students and the joy of learning

“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.

It is the part played by joy in our studies that makes of them a preparation for spiritual life, for desire directed toward God is the only power capable of raising the soul.  Or rather, it is God alone who comes down and possesses the soul, but desire alone draws God down.”

Weil, S. (1951).  Waiting for God.  HarperCollins Publishers: New York.

One response

  1. Three cheers for Simone Weil. She really sees clearly the connection between academic study and spiritual life. She should be read by every high school student; and how much more should she be read regularly by those who teach.

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