Although he Bertrand Russell suffered unpopularity in some quarters for his role as a political dissenter, he enjoyed that role immensely. There was more than a touch of exhibitionism in the riskless sit-downs of his last years when he made well-publicized gestures to ‘Ban the Bomb’ that were as futile as they were ill-advised. I once wondered aloud to him whether his temperamental bias toward nonconformity and dissent was an expression not so much of intellectual courage as of the aristocrat’s disdain of the commoner and his desire to épater le bourgeois. He replied with disarming frankness: ‘Hook, I think you have something there…’
And so—since the conclusion of your syllogism (viz., that a stone is in no respect a man) is certain—you seem to me earlier to have obscured by your clever explanations the conclusion of my syllogism (a syllogism which is in every respect similar to yours). Hence, I now understand why you said that I have correctly understood but have not paid careful attention. For I correctly understood what you meant when you spoke to me, but I did not pay careful attention to the point you were making, because I did not realize how [what you said] was misleading me.
True to our traditions, we have avoided all extremes. We have steered clear of fascism, communism, dictatorship, and we have shown the world that democratic government, constitutional methods and ordered liberty are not inconsistent with progress and prosperity.
Christopher Wren, the leading architect of London's reconstruction after the great fire of 1666, lies buried beneath the floor of his most famous building, St. Paul's cathedral. No elaborate sarcophagus adorns the site. Instead, we find only the famous epitaph written by his son and now inscribed into the floor: si monumentum requiris, circumspice—if you are searching for his monument, look around. A tad grandiose, perhaps, but I have never read a finer testimony to the central importance—one might even say sacredness — of actual places, rather than replicas, symbols, or other forms of vicarious resemblance.
The outcome was equally fatal, whether the country fell into the hands of a wealthy oligarchy which exploited the poor or whether it fell under the domination of a turbulent mob which plundered the rich. In both cases there resulted violent alternations between tyranny and disorder, and a final complete loss of liberty to all citizens -- destruction in the end overtaking the class which had for the moment been victorious as well as that which had momentarily been defeated. The death-knell of the Republic had rung as soon as the active power became lodged in the hands of those who sought, not to do justice to all citizens, rich and poor alike, but to stand for one special class and for its interests as opposed to the interests of others.
If there be one thing on earth which is truly admirable, it is to see God's wisdom blessing an inferiority of natural powers, where they have been honestly, truly, and zealously cultivated.
By this we may understand, there be two sorts of knowledge, whereof the one is nothing else but sense, or knowledge original (as I have said at the beginning of the second chapter), and remembrance of the same; the other is called science or knowledge of the truth of propositions, and how things are called, and is derived from understanding.
Not believing in force is the same as not believing in gravitation.
What is the heart but a spring, and the nerves but so many strings, and the joints but so many wheels, giving motion to the whole body?
The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to everyone exactly the functions in which he is competent ... It is by dividing and subdividing these Republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations until it ends in the administration of everyman's farm by himself, by placing under everyone what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best.
The deep secrecy of my own being is often hidden from me by my own estimate of what I am. My idea of what I am is falsified by my admiration for what I do. And my illusions about myself are bred by contagion from the illusions of other men. We all seek to imitate one another’s imagined greatness.
When the absolute Reality is known, it is seen to be without any individual selves, and devoid of any objective forms;
All past [mental and physical] actions which lead to hell are instantly wiped away.
After the Awakening, there is only vast Emptiness; this vast universe of forms ceases to exist [outside of one's Self].
Here, one sees neither sin nor bliss, neither loss nor gain.
In the midst of the eternal Serenity, no questions arise;
The dust of ignorance which has accumulated on the unpolished mirror for ages,
Is now, and forever, cleared away in the vision of Truth.
The real turning point between the medieval age of faith and the modern age of unfaith came when the scientists of the seventeenth century turned their backs upon what used to be called 'final causes' ... [belief in which] was not the invention of Christianity [but] was basic to the whole of Western civilization, whether in the ancient pagan world or in Christendom, from the time of Socrates to the rise of science in the seventeenth century. ... They did this on the ground that inquiry into purposes is useless for what science aims at: namely, the predication and control of events. ... The conception of purpose in the world was ignored and frowned upon. This, though silent and almost unnoticed, was the greatest revolution in human history, far outweighing in importance any of the political revolutions whose thunder has reverberated through the world. ... The world, according to this new picture, is purposeless, senseless, meaningless. Nature is nothing but matter in motion. The motions of matter are governed not by any purpose, but by blind forces and laws. ... [But] if the scheme of things is purposeless and meaningless, then the life of man is purposeless and meaningless too. Everything is futile, all effort is in the end worthless. A man may, of course, still pursue disconnected ends, money, fame, art, science, and may gain pleasure from them. But his life is hollow at the center. Hence, the dissatisfied, restless, spirit of modern man. ... Along with the ruin of the religious vision there went the ruin of moral principles and indeed of all values. ... If our moral rules do not proceed from something outside us in the nature of the universe--whether we say it is God or simply the universe itself--then they must be our own inventions. Thus it came to be believed that moral rules must be merely an expression of our own likes and dislikes. But likes and dislikes are notoriously variable. What pleases one man, people or culture, displeases another. Therefore, morals are wholly relative.
His whole life is an epigram smart, smooth and neatly penn’d,
Plaited quite neat to catch applause, with a hang-noose at the end.
For washed in life's river, my bright mane forever shall shine like the gold as I guard o'er the fold.
How have you left the ancient love that bards of old enjoyed in you! The languid strings do scarcely move! The sound is forced, the notes are few!
The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire at the end of six thousand years is true, as I have heard from hell. For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at tree of life, and when he does, the whole creation will be consumed, and appear infinite, and holy whereas it now appears finite and corrupt.
The pure soul shall mount on native wings . . . and cut a path into the heaven of glory.
Strong feelings do not necessarily make a strong character. The strength of a man is to be measured by the power of the feelings he subdues not by the power of those which subdue him.
Is there any wilderness of sand in the deserts of Arabia, is there any prospect of desolation among the ruins of Palestine, which can rival the repelling effect on the eye, and the depressing influence on the mind, of an English country town in the first stage of its existence, and in the transition state of its prosperity?