*Read-in* Existential Dilemmas & Mysticism: Reframing the Negative and Diving Deep into Suffering

Michael Prettyman at Chinatown Soup

Sun, Apr 23 at 7:30 p.m.   |   90 minutes

We tend to think of suffering as something that comes from the outside.Weil posits an alternate view: these factors, while real, do not create human misery, they reveal it.


For this read-in, we'll be looking at The Love of God and Affliction, an essay by Simone Weil.


“The sea is not less beautiful in our eyes because we know that sometimes ships are wrecked on it.” Simone Weil


Anxiety and depression have become markers of contemporary society. Simone Weil’s exploration of affliction as an intense form of suffering led to some of her most important ideas of mysticism and the nature of our common existential dilemmas. We tend to think of suffering as something that comes from the outside, that is a result of our actions or brain chemistry. Weil posits an alternate view: these factors, while real, do not create human misery, they reveal it. In this revelation we find an opportunity to reframe the so-called negative afflictions of life into what they really are: an opportunity to break through the everyday into a broader and deeper imagining of life as it is really lived.

Teacher: Michael Prettyman

Michael Prettyman is an artist and scholar of Eastern Religions. He holds a Masters Degree in Theology from the Harvard Divinity School and teaches on the subject of religion and the arts, Asian Religion and philosophy at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. He has been a visual artist for twenty years, with gallery shows in New York City, Hong Kong and Barcelona.


Venue: Chinatown Soup

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Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.