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

Men sometimes speak as though the progress of science must necessarily be a boon to mankind, but that, I fear, is one of the comfortable nineteenth century delusions which our more disillusioned age must discard.

Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth- even more than death. Thought is subversive, and revolutionary, destructive and terrible; though its merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless to the well-trained wisdom of ages. 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. But if thought is to become the possession of the many, and not the privilege of the few, we must have done with fear. It is fear that holds man back - fear that their cherished beliefs should prove delusions, fear lest the institutions by which they live should prove harmful, fear least they themselves prove less worthy to the respect they have supposed themselves to be.

Men can be stimulated by hope or driven by fear, but the hope and the fear must be vivid and immediate if they are to be effective without producing weariness.

Matter is less material and the mind less spiritual than is generally supposed. The habitual separation of physics and psychology, mind and matter, is metaphysically indefensible.

Mathematics... possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty - a beauty cold and austere, like that of a sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show.

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

Love, children, and work are the great sources of fertilizing contact between the individual and the rest of the world.

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.

It is because modern education is so seldom inspired by a great hope that it so seldom achieves a great result. The wish to preserve the past rather than to hope of creating the future dominates the minds of those who control the teaching of the young.

In all affairs, love, religion, politics or business, it's a healthy idea, now and then, to hang a question mark on things you have long taken for granted.

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

If one man offers you democracy and another offers you a bag of grain, at what stage of starvation will you prefer the grain to the vote?

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.

I do not believe that any peacock envies another peacock his tail, because every peacock is persuaded that his own tail is the finest in the world. The consequence of this is that peacocks are peaceable birds.

History, in every country, is so taught as to magnify that country: children learn to believe that their own country has always been in the right and almost always victorious, that it has produced almost all the great men, and that it is in all respects superior to all other countries.

Government can easily exist without law, but law cannot exist without government.

Happiness is not best achieved by those who seek it directly; and it would seem that the same is true of the good.

Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of conforming convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day.

Every advance in civilization has been denounced as unnatural while it was recent.

Drunkenness is temporary suicide: the happiness that it brings is merely negative, a momentary cessation of unhappiness.

Don't accept superficial solutions of difficult problems. It is better to do a little than much harm.

A fanatical belief in democracy makes democratic institutions impossible.

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