“Gravity and Grace” – Thoughts on Leverage

My favorite description of Simone Weil, writer of the notes collected into “Gravity and Grace” (PDF here), is TS Eliot’s: “A woman of genius, a genius akin to that of the saints.”

As we envision a shared ownership economy my mind turns to the meditations on leverage in these pages. Certainly as an entrepreneur I know I am always trying to create a space – in the broadest sense – where people are able to relax hold on their leverage positions and let themselves fall back on shared vulnerability – engaging the resulting need for trust and responsibility, and benefiting from the community this creates.

I’ll cite one example from Gravity and Grace that points from spirituality to behavioral economics: “People owe us what we imagine they will give us. We must forgive them this debt. To accept the fact that they are other than the creatures of our imagination is to imitate the renunciation of God.”

In my own experience, can the inner leverage felt from “holding something over the other’s head” be cashed in for any genuine advantage or happiness? Or, is there more potency in the paradoxical leverage gained by letting go of the debt – the leverage point – and engaging from the other party’s level? Looked at from the other side of this equation: what draws forth my respect and elicits action aligned with the other party’s intention?

As we move through this month I’ll be thinking about to design a small economic community (a mutual banking node) in a way that collects leverage to offer it up, and I’ll be continuously referencing the overlay of physical, psychic, and spiritual laws that Simone Weil calls attention to so well.

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