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Simone Weil was a French philosopher, mystic, and political activist.

Taking a path that was unusual among twentieth-century left-leaning intellectuals, she became inclined towards mysticism as her life progressed. Weil wrote throughout her life, though most of her writings did not attract much attention until after her death. In the 1950s and 1960s, her work became famous in continental Europe and throughout the English-speaking world. Albert Camus described her as “the only great spirit of our times”

A precocious student, she was proficient in Ancient Greek by age 12. She later learned Sanskrit after reading the Bhagavad Gita. Like the Renaissance thinker Pico della Mirandola, her interests in other religions were universal and she attempted to understand each religious tradition as an expression of transcendent wisdom.

From her late teenage years, Weil would generally disguise her “fragile beauty” by adopting a masculine appearance, hardly ever using makeup and often wearing men’s clothes.

As a teenager, Weil studied at the Lycée Henri IV under the tutelage of her admired teacher Émile Chartier, more commonly known as “Alain”. During these years, Weil attracted much attention with her radical opinions. She was called the “Red virgin”, and even “The Martian” by her admired mentor.

At the age of 19 she gained admission to the École Normale Supérieure – a French grande école (higher education establishment outside the framework of the public university system). It trained in the critical spirit and secular values of the Enlightenment. It has since developed into an institution which has become a platform for a select few of France’s students to pursue careers in government and academia.

The principal goal of ENS is the training of professors, researchers and public administrators. Among its alumni there are 13 Nobel Prize laureates.

She finished first in the exam for the certificate of “General Philosophy and Logic”; Simone de Beauvoir finished second. READ HER 9 ENLIGHTENED TRUTHS (link in bio)

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