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Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

(1872 - 1970)


British Philosopher, Logician, Mathematician, Historian, Socialist, Pacifist and Social Critic

"Free thought" means thinking freely... To be worthy of the name [freethinker] he must be free of two things: the force of tradition and the tyranny of his own passions. No one is completely free from either, and in the measure of a man's emancipation he deserves to be called a free thinker.
'Change' is scientific, 'progress' is ethical; change is indubitable, whereas progress is a matter of controversy.
A fanatical belief in democracy makes democratic institutions impossible.
A great deal of this is due to the inherent irrationality and credulity of average human nature. But this seed of intellectual original sin is nourished and fostered by other agencies, among which three play the chief part ? namely, education, propaganda, and economic pressure.
A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy can live.
A man who is to educate really well, and is to make the young grow and develop into their full stature, must be filled through and through with the spirit of reverence. It is reverence towards others that is lacking in those who advocate machine-made cast-iron systems.
A sense of duty is useful in work, but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked, not endured with patient resignation.
A stupid man's report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.
All great books contain boring portions, and all great lives have contained uninteresting stretches. Imagine a modern American publisher confronted with the Old Testament as a new manuscript submitted to him for the first time. It is not difficult to think what his comments would be, for example, on the genealogies.
All human activity is prompted by desire.