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Bertrand Russell Quotes

 

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1 2

 

 

No matter how eloquently a dog may bark, he cannot tell you that his parents were poor, but honest.
Why is propaganda so much more successful when it stirs up hatred than when it tries to stir up friendly feeling?
If any philosopher had been asked for a definition of infinity, he might have produced some unintelligible rigmarole, but he would certainly not have been able to give a definition that had any meaning at all.
Ethics is in origin the art of recommending to others the sacrifices required for cooperation with oneself.
The most valuable things in life are not measured in monetary terms. The really important things are not houses and lands, stocks and bonds, automobiles and real state, but friendships, trust, confidence, empathy, mercy, love and faith.
Against my will, in the course of my travels, the belief that everything worth knowing was known at Cambridge gradually wore off. In this respect my travels were very useful to me.
It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.
There's a Bible on the shelf there. But I keep it next to Voltaire-poison and antidote.
Boredom is... a vital problem for the moralist, since half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.
Unless one is taught what to do with success after getting it, achievement of it must inevitably leave him prey to boredom.
One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.
What men want is not knowledge, but certainty.
Almost everything that distinguishes the modern world from earlier centuries is attributable to science, which achieved its most spectacular triumphs in the seventeenth century.
There will still be things that machines cannot do. They will not produce great art or great literature or great philosophy; they will not be able to discover the secret springs of happiness in the human heart; they will know nothing of love and friendship.
The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic.
Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who'll get the blame.
Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
The place of the father in the modern suburban family is a very small one, particularly if he plays golf.
Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that, but hope and enterprise and change.
Most people would rather die than think: many do.
War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
All human activity is prompted by desire.
Although this may seem a paradox, all exact science is dominated by the idea of approximation. When a man tells you that he knows the exact truth about anything, you are safe in inferring that he is an inexact man.
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.
There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.
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.
To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.
We know too much and feel too little. At least, we feel too little of those creative emotions from which a good life springs.
In the revolt against idealism, the ambiguities of the word experience have been perceived, with the result that realists have more and more avoided the word.
Every philosophical problem, when it is subjected to the necessary analysis and justification, is found either to be not really philosophical at all, or else to be, in the sense in which we are using the word, logical.
An extra-terrestrial philosopher, who had watched a single youth up to the age of twenty-one and had never come across any other human being, might conclude that it is the nature of human beings to grow continually taller and wiser in an indefinite progress towards perfection; and this generalization would be just as well founded as the generalization which evolutionists base upon the previous history of this planet.
Organic life, we are told, has developed gradually from the protozoon to the philosopher, and this development, we are assured, is indubitably an advance. Unfortunately it is the philosopher, not the protozoon, who gives us this assurance.
Indignation is a submission of our thoughts, but not of our desires.
Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken.
The main things which seem to me important on their own account, and not merely as a means to other account, and not merely as a means to other things, are knowledge, art instinctive happiness, and relations of friendship or affection.
Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country.
Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, Thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought is great and swift and free.
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.
The fundamental defect with fathers is that they want their children to be a credit to them.
Freedom comes only to those who no longer ask of life that it shall yield them any of those personal goods that are subject to the mutations of time.
Folly is perennial, yet the human race has survived.
If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
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.
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?
There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate government action.
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.
Few people can be happy unless they hate some other person, nation, or creed.
Happiness is not best achieved by those who seek it directly.
In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.
Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.
The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy; I mean that if you are happy you will be good.
The secret to happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible.
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.
To be happy in this world, especially when youth is past, it is necessary to feel oneself not merely an isolated individual whose day will soon be over, but part of the stream of life slowing on from the first germ to the remote and unknown future.
What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.
Hatred of enemies is easier and more intense than love of friends. But from men who are more anxious to injure opponents than to benefit the world at large no great good is to be expected.
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.
Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.
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.
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.
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 degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts- the less you know the hotter you get.
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.
The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.
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.
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell.
The life of man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, towards a goal that few can hope to reach, and where none may tarry long.
Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.
The root of the matter… the thing I mean… is love, Christian love, or compassion. If you feel this, you have a motive for existence, a guide for action, a reason for courage, an imperative necessity for intellectual honesty.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
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.
Freedom in general may be defined as the absence of obstacles to the realization of desires.
Freedom of opinion can only exist when the government thinks itself secure.

 



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