He who treat as equals those who are far below him in human strength really makes them a gift of the quality of human beings, of which fate had deprived them. As far as it is possible for a creature, he reproduces the original generosity of the Creator with regard to them.

This is the most Christian of virtues. It is also the virtue which the Egyptian Book of the Dead describes in words as sublime even as those of the Gospel. “I have never caused anyone to weep. I have never spoken with a haughty voice. I have never made anyone afraid. I have never been deaf to words of justice and truth.”

Simon Weil from Forms of the Implicit Love of God

This gift is not a form of patronage. Rather we can only share with each other the gift of equality when we realise the ultimate emptiness of the other person’s power over us. However, this is only really possible if we can identify some source of self that is not locked into the natural world – with all the differences it throws up and reinforces.

We might also say that we have chosen equality as a moral ideal – but what lies behind the power of that ideal is not an empty choice or individual preference; instead it is a reflection of the true nature of things.