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

Bertrand
Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell
1872
1970

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

Author Quotes

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 in history.

The instinct of conventionality, horror of uncertainty, and vested interests, all militate against the acceptance of a new idea.

The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell.

The happiness that is genuinely satisfying is accompanied by the fullest exercise of our faculties, and the fullest realization of the world in which we live.

The free intellect is the chief engine of human progress.

The central problem of our age is how to act decisively in the absence of certainty.

That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and fears, his loves and beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual beyond the grave; that all the laborers of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of man’s achievements must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins – all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand.

Social cohesion demands a creed, or a code of behavior, or a prevailing sentiment, or best, some combination of all three; without something of the kind, a community disintegrates, and becomes subject to a tyrant or a foreign conqueror.

Since no way can be found for deciding a difference in values, the conclusion is forced upon us that the difference is one of tastes, not one as to any objective truth.

Religious toleration, to a certain extent, has been won because people have ceased to consider religion so important as it was once thought to be.

Perhaps when we know more we shall be able to say that the best sexual ethic will be quite different in one climate from what it would be in another, different again with one kind of diet than from what it would be with another.

Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.

One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.

One of the most interesting and harmful delusions to which men and nations can be subjected is that of imagining themselves special instruments of Divine Will.

One must care about a world one will not see.

Nine times out of ten a man’s politics can be predicted from the way in which he makes his living.

No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.

Most people, at a crisis, feel more loyalty to their nation than to their class.

Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth more than ruin more even than death.... Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.

Man is cosmically unimportant, and… a (God), if there were one … would hardly mention us (in the history of the universe).

Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.

Love of truth is the basis of all real virtue.

It is only in marriage with the world that our ideals can bear fruit: divorced from it, they remain barren.

Into every tidy scheme for arranging the pattern of human life, it is necessary to inject a certain dose of anarchism.

In the visible world, the Milky Way is a tiny fragment; within this fragment, the solar system is an infinitesimal speck, and of the spec our planet is a microscopic dot. On this dot, tiny lumps of impure carbon and water, of complicated structure, with somewhat unusual physical and chemical qualities, crawl about for a few years, until they are dissolved again into the elements of which they are compounded.

Author Picture
First Name
Bertrand
Last Name
Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell
Birth Date
1872
Death Date
1970
Bio

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