Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970) was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist and Nobel laureate. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had "never been any of these things, in any profound sense".

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Science is what you know philosophy is what you don't know.

It is preoccupation with possessions more than anything else that prevents us from living freely and nobly.

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.

War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion as organized in its Churches has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

Men who are unhappy like men who sleep badly are always proud of the fact.

Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.

I remain convinced that obstinate addiction to ordinary language in our private thoughts is one of the main obstacles to progress in philosophy.

Machines are worshipped because they are beautiful and valued because they confer power, they are hated because they are hideous and loathed because they impose slavery.

Work is of two kinds: first altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relative to other matter, second telling other people to do so.

Right discipline consists not in external compulsion but in the habits of mind which lead spontaneously to desirable rather than undesirable activities.

So far as I can remember there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.

A truer image of the world I think is obtained by picturing things as entering into the stream of time from an eternal world outside than from a view which regards time as the devouring tyrant of all that is.

Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who'll get the blame.

Many people would sooner die than think, in fact they do so.

The slave is doomed to worship time and fate and death because they are greater than anything he finds in himself and because all his thoughts are of things which they devour.

In America everybody is of the opinion that he has no social superiors since all men are equal but he does not admit that he has no social inferiors for from the time of Jefferson onward the doctrine that all men are equal applies only upwards not downwards.

Religions that teach brotherly love have been used as an excuse for persecution and our profoundest scientific insight is made into a means of mass destruction.

The fundamental defect of fathers in our competitive society is that they want their children to be a credit to them.

The theoretical understanding of the world which is the aim of philosophy is not a matter of great practical importance to animals or to savages or even to most civilised men.

Anything you're good at contributes to happiness.

A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy dare live.

Many a man will have the courage to die gallantly but will not have the courage to say or even to think that the cause for which he is asked to die is an unworthy one.

It seems to be the fate of idealists to obtain what they have struggled for in a form which destroys their ideals.

There is no need to worry about mere size. We do not necessarily respect a fat man more than a thin man. Sir Isaac Newton was very much smaller than a hippopotamus but we do not on that account value him less.

Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men, although he was twice married it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives' mouths.

If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others we could have a paradise in a few years.

It is possible that mankind is on the threshold of a golden age, but if so it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door and this dragon is religion.

Love is something far more than desire for sexual intercourse, it is the principal means of escape from the loneliness which afflicts most men and women throughout the greater part of their lives.

Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country.

If all our happiness is bound up entirely in our personal circumstances it is difficult not to demand of life more than it has to give.

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

The demand for certainty is one which is natural to man but is nevertheless an intellectual vice.

To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance to the citizens of a democracy.

Man needs for his happiness not only the enjoyment of this or that but hope and enterprise and change.

There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths.

I've made an odd discovery. Every time I talk to a savant I feel quite sure that happiness is no longer a possibility. Yet when I talk with my gardener I'm convinced of the opposite.

To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.

Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.

Admiration of the proletariat like that of dams power stations and aeroplanes is part of the ideology of the machine age.

Order unity and continuity are human inventions just as truly as catalogues and encyclopedias.

A process which led from the amoeba to man appeared to the philosophers to be obviously a progress though whether the amoeba would agree with this opinion is not known.

Why is propaganda so much more successful when it stirs up hatred than when it tries to stir up friendly feeling?

Awareness of universals is called conceiving and a universal of which we are aware is called a concept.

A sense of duty is useful in work but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked not to be endured with patient resignation.

Italy and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.

The most savage controversies are about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.

To teach how to live without certainty and yet without being paralysed by hesitation is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy in our age can do for those who study it.

Both in thought and in feeling even though time be real to realise the unimportance of time is the gate of wisdom.

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

Sin is geographical.

The fundamental concept in social science is Power in the same sense in which Energy is the fundamental concept in physics.

When the intensity of emotional conviction subsides a man who is in the habit of reasoning will search for logical grounds in favour of the belief which he finds in himself.

Collective fear stimulates herd instinct and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.

Aristotle could have avoided the mistake of thinking that women have fewer teeth than men by the simple device of asking Mrs. Aristotle to keep her mouth open while he counted.

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

Liberty is the right to do what I like, license the right to do what you like.

The megalomaniac differs from the narcissist by the fact that he wishes to be powerful rather than charming and seeks to be feared rather than loved. To this type belong many lunatics and most of the great men of history.

I believe in using words not fists. I believe in my outrage knowing people are living in boxes on the street. I believe in honesty. I believe in a good time. I believe in good food. I believe in sex.

Marriage is for women the commonest mode of livelihood, and the total amount of undesired sex endured by women is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution.

Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about nor whether what we are saying is true.

Almost everything that distinguishes the modern world from earlier centuries is attributable to science which achieved its most spectacular triumphs in the seventeenth century.

The degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts.

Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.

The place of the father in the modern suburban family is a very small one particularly if he plays golf.

No, we have been as usual asking the wrong question. It does not matter a hoot what the mockingbird on the chimney is singing. The real and proper question is: Why is it beautiful?

The true spirit of delight the exaltation the sense of being more than Man which is the touchstone of the highest excellence is to be found in mathematics as surely as poetry.

The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile.

There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.

The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.


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