The Rarity of Attention

  • Harold Schweizer


Attention to a poem prepares us to attend to another person. The sufferer, who shares with the gesture of flowers an intense, fleeting brevity, demands an attention, as Simone Weil claims, that is “a very rare and difficult thing; it is almost a miracle; it is a miracle.” If in the miracle rarity is exemplary, and if attention is a miracle, then attention is itself an exemplary rarity. In its tenuousness, its fragility and susceptibility to lapse or interruption, attention has a rarity that makes it receptive to the gesture of small flowers and of poems.


Human Face Narrative Medicine Difficult Thing Greek Text Poetic Work 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    Emmanuel Levinas, Entre Nous: Thinking-of-the-Other, trans. Michael B. Smith and Barbara Harshav ( New York: Columbia University Press, 1998 ), 168.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Rita Charon, Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness ( Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006 ), 134.Google Scholar
  3. 19.
    Beatrice Hanssen, Walter Benjamin’s Other History ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998 ), 156.Google Scholar
  4. 21.
    William H. Gass, Reading Rilke: Reflections on the Problems of Translation ( New York: Basic Books, 1999 ), 210.Google Scholar
  5. 34.
    Adi Ophir, The Order of Evils: Toward and Onthology of Morals, trans. Rela Mazali and Havi Carel (New York: Zone Books, 2005): “Suffering may demand a private language that will express with absolute precision, that will recognize its singular ity and the exclusive relationship of the one who suffers to her suffering…” (270).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Harold Schweizer 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harold Schweizer

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations