Bertrand Russell (1872Ė1970)
Quotations


Indignation is a submission of our thoughts, but not of our desires.

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.

Conventional people are roused to fury by departures from convention, largely because they regard such departures as a criticism of themselves.

A sense of duty is useful in work but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked, not to be endured with patient resignation.

Those who forget good and evil and seek only to know the facts are more likely to achieve good than those who view the world through the distorting medium of their own desires.

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.

To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization.

The rules of logic are to mathematics what those of structure are to architecture.

Mathematics takes us still further from what is human, into the region of absolute necessity, to which not only the world, but every possible world, must conform.

People are said to believe in God, or to disbelieve in Adam and Eve. But in such cases what is believed or disbelieved is that there is an entity answering a certain description. This, which can be believed or disbelieved is quite different from the actual entity (if any) which does answer the description. Thus the matter of belief is, in all cases, different in kind from the matter of sensation or presentation, and error is in no way analogous to hallucination. A hallucination is a fact, not an error; what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it.

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.

It is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.

To save the world requires faith and courage: faith in reason, and courage to proclaim what reason shows to be true.

The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.

I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes... A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives' mouths.

Obscenity is whatever happens to shock some elderly and ignorant magistrate.

What is new in our time is the increased power of the authorities to enforce their prejudices.

Patriots always talk of dying for their country, and never of killing for their country.

Indignation is a submission of our thoughts, but not of our desires.

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.

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.

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.

Anything you're good at contributes to happiness.

Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence; it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.

Science is what you know, philosophy is what you donít know.

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.

The saviors of the world, society's last hope.

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

The universe may have a purpose, but nothing we know suggests that, if so, this purpose has any similarity to ours.

There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.

To choose one sock from each of infinitely many pairs of socks requires the Axiom of choice, but for shoes the Axiom is not needed.

War does not determine who is right -- only who is left.



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