“Enivrez-Vous” (From a Correspondent)

January 13, 2023

In Letters To Finkelstein

I just wanted to drop a note and say thank you for your lectures on Youtube. I have listened to many, and I am currently listening and taking avid notes on your free class done at the Brooklyn Library some years ago, entitled No Free Speech for Fascists. I have also watched your others on Plato’s Republic, Utopia and Notes from Underground. I do not exaggerate when I say that these classes were so beneficial for me, and I’m so glad I invested the time into these lectures. I am a 23 year old from Asheville, North Carolina who is currently trying to figure out what to do with her life. I graduated a year ago with a degree in French literature and also went to Oberlin Conservatory to study music. I am now in France teaching English in French middle schools. I want to strengthen my aptitudes as Plato acknowledges and you really inspire me to commit myself to academic excellence. I can’t wait to thoroughly read your books and immerse myself in the truth, but also in dissenting opinion as we know that this is also important to really understand the other side.


I am reminded of the poem by Charles Baudelaire in his collection of 50 poems known as Spleen of Paris. The poem is entitled “Enivrez-vous” or one who intoxicates oneself on a subject, and I must say that the level to which you “intoxicate” yourself within academia/activism/life is remarkable. He declares “in order not to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk constantly!” I will admit sometimes I envy those who are drunk on knowledge and perfect their aptitudes, but this is my ego talking. Time is so fleeting and your lectures have reminded me to make the most of it. I want to be like you when I am old and hopefully wise (fingers-crossed).


P.S,  I think you might enjoy the Queen of Spades opera by Tchaikovsky. Quite riveting! Although all of his operas are. I feel like Dostoevsky would love Shostakovich as well. And of course, whenever I am in times of despair, there is nothing like Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.


Best wishes and Vive la révolution!