Risk is an essential need of the soul. The absence of risk
produces a type of boredom which paralyses in a different
way from fear, but almost as much. Moreover, there are
certain situations which, involving as they do a diffused
anguish without any clearly defined risks, spread the two
kinds of disease at once.
Risk is a form of danger which provokes a deliberate
reaction; that is to say, it doesn’t go beyond the soul’s
resources to the point of crushing the soul beneath a load
of fear. In some cases, there is a gambling aspect to it; in
others, where some definite obligation forces a man to
face it, it represents the finest possible stimulant.
The protection of mankind from fear and terror doesn’t
imply the abolition of risk; it implies, on the contrary, the
permanent presence of a certain amount of risk in all
aspects of social life; for the absence of risk weakens
courage to the point of leaving the soul, if the need should
arise, without the slightest inner protection against fear.
All that is wanted is for risk to offer itself under such
conditions that it is not transformed into a sensation of
-Simone Weil, The Need for Roots