Bertrand Russell

Born: May 18, 1872

Die: February 2, 1970

Occupation: Philosopher

Quotes of Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell

Throughout the long period of religious doubt, I had been rendered very unhappy by the gradual loss of belief, but when the process was completed, I found to my surprise that I was quite glad to be done...

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Bertrand Russell

One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.

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Bertrand Russell

There is... in our day, a powerful antidote to nonsense, which hardly existed in earlier times - I mean science. Science cannot be ignored or rejected, because it is bound up with modern technique; it...

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Bertrand Russell

In the first place a philosophical proposition must be general. It must not deal specially with things on the surface of the earth, or within the solar system, or with any other portion of space and time....

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Bertrand Russell

If a philosophy is to bring happiness it should be inspired by kindly feelings. Marx pretended that he wanted the happiness of the proletariat; what he really wanted was the unhappiness of the bourgeois.

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Bertrand Russell

Education ought to foster the wish for truth, not the conviction that some particular creed is the truth.

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Bertrand Russell

This illustrates an important truth, namely, that the worse your logic, the more interesting the consequences to which it gives rise.

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Bertrand Russell

Mathematics rightly viewed possesses not only truth but supreme beauty.

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Bertrand Russell

For my part I distrust all generalizations about women, favorable and unfavorable, masculine and feminine, ancient and modern; all alike, I should say, result from paucity of experience.

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Bertrand Russell

Man is a rational animal. So at least we have been told. Throughout a long life I have searched diligently for evidence in favor of this statement. So far, I have not had the good fortune to come across...

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Bertrand Russell

Bolshevism is to be reckoned with Mohammedanism rather than with Christianity and Buddhism. Christianity and Buddhism are primarily personal religions, with mystical doctrines and a love of contemplation....

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Bertrand Russell

These illustrations suggest four general maxims[...]. The first is: remember that your motives are not always as altruistic as they seem to yourself. The second is: don't over-estimate your own merits....

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Bertrand Russell

A word is used "correctly" when the average hearer will be affected by it in the way intended. This is a psychological, not a literary, definition of "correctness". The literary definition would substitute,...

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Bertrand Russell

The whiter my hair becomes, the more ready people are to believe what I say.

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Bertrand Russell

The main things which seem to me important on their own account, and not merely as means to other things, are knowledge, art, instinctive happiness, and relations of friendship or affection.

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Bertrand Russell

I did not, however, commit suicide, because I wished to know more of mathematics.

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Bertrand Russell

Few people can be happy unless they hate some other person, nation, or creed.

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Bertrand Russell

Philosophy is an unusually ingenious attempt to think fallaciously.

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Bertrand Russell

Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination.

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Bertrand Russell

A smile happens in a flash, but its memory can last a lifetime.

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Bertrand Russell

The more you complain the longer God lets you live

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Bertrand Russell

If we were all given by magic the power to read each other’s thoughts, I suppose the first effect would be almost all friendships would be dissolved; the second effect, however, might be excellent, for...

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Bertrand Russell

We have in fact, two kinds of morality, side by side: one which we preach, but do not practice, and another which we practice, but seldom preach.

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Bertrand Russell

Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile.

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Bertrand Russell

There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our thoughts.

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Bertrand Russell

People are zealous for a cause when they are not quite positive that it is true.

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Bertrand Russell

Philosophy, from the earliest times, has made greater claims, and achieved fewer results, than any other branch of learning.

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Bertrand Russell

Even in the most purely logical realms, it is insight that first arrives at what is new.

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Bertrand Russell

He will see himself and life and the world as truly as our human limitations will permit; realizing the brevity and minuteness of human life, he will realize also that in individual minds is concentrated...

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Bertrand Russell

Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, the chief glory of man.

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Bertrand Russell

It's not what you have lost, but what you have left that counts.

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Bertrand Russell

To realize the unimportance of time is the gate to wisdom.

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Bertrand Russell

The habit of looking to the future and thinking that the whole meaning of the present lies in what it will bring forth is a pernicious one. There can be no value in the whole unless there is value in the...

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Bertrand Russell

Language serves not only to express thought but to make possible thoughts which could not exist without it.

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Bertrand Russell

All the time that he can spare from the adornment of his person, he devotes to the neglect of his duties.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

All the labor of all the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius are destined to extinction. So now, my friends, if that is true, and it is true, what is...

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Bertrand Russell

As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one...

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Bertrand Russell

The average man's opinions are much less foolish than they would be if he thought for himself.

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Bertrand Russell

Philosophy arises from an unusually obstinate attempt to arrive at real knowledge. What passes for knowledge in ordinary life suffers from three defects: it is cocksure, vague and self-contradictory. The...

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Bertrand Russell

The law of causality, I believe, like much that passes muster among philosophers, is a relic of a bygone age, surviving, like the monarchy, only because it is erroneously supposed to do no harm.

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Bertrand Russell

I hate the world and almost all the people in it. I hate the Labour Congress and the journalists who send men to be slaughtered, and the fathers who feel a smug pride when their sons are killed, and even...

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Bertrand Russell

Passive acceptance of the teacher's wisdom is easy to most boys and girls. It involves no effort of independent thought, and seems rational because the teacher knows more than his pupils; it is moreover...

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Bertrand Russell

Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the georgeous trappings...

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Bertrand Russell

To a modern mind, it is difficult to feel enthusiastic about a virtuous life if nothing is going to be achieved by it.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

It is not my prayer and humility that you cause things to go as you wish, but by acquiring a knowledge of natural laws.

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Bertrand Russell

Belief in God and a future life makes it possible to go through life with less of stoic courage than is needed by skeptics.

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Bertrand Russell

There is no nonsense so errant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.

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Bertrand Russell

Brief and powerless is man's life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark.

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Bertrand Russell

I say people who feel they must have a faith or religion in order to face life are showing a kind of cowardice, which in any other sphere would be considered contemptible. But when it is in the religious...

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Bertrand Russell

I consider the official Catholic attitude on divorce, birth control, and censorship exceedingly dangerous to mankind.

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Bertrand Russell

For love of domination we must substitute equality; for love of victory we must substitute justice; for brutality we must substitute intelligence; for competition we must substitute cooperation. We must...

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Bertrand Russell

I don't like the spirit of socialism - I think freedom is the basis of everything.

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Bertrand Russell

The more we realize our minuteness and our impotence in the face of cosmic forces, the more amazing becomes what human beings have achieved.

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Bertrand Russell

To be able to concentrate for a considerable time is essential to difficult achievement.

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Bertrand Russell

It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true

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Bertrand Russell

More and more people are becoming unable to accept traditional [religious] beliefs. If they think that, apart from these beliefs, there is no reason for kindly behaviour, the results may be needlessly...

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Bertrand Russell

A democrat need not believe that the majority will always reach a wise decision. He should however believe in the necessity of accepting the decision of the majority, be it wise or unwise, until such a...

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Bertrand Russell

To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level.

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Bertrand Russell

To abandon the struggle for private happiness, to expel all eagerness of temporary desire, to burn with passion for eternal things-this is emancipation, and this is the free man's worship... United with...

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Bertrand Russell

The reformative effect of punishment is a belief that dies hard, chiefly I think, because it is so satisfying to our sadistic impulses.

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Bertrand Russell

Public opinion is always more tyrannical towards those who obviously fear it than towards those who feel indifferent to it.

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Bertrand Russell

The satisfaction to be derived from success in a great constructive enterprise is one of the most massive that life has to offer.

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Bertrand Russell

Emphatic and reiterated assertion, especially during childhood, produces in most people a belief so firm as to have a hold even over the unconscious.

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Bertrand Russell

Any pleasure that does no harm to other people is to be valued.

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Bertrand Russell

Fundamental happiness depends more than anything else upon what may be called a friendly interest in persons and things.

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Bertrand Russell

A world full of happiness is not beyond human power to create; the obstacles imposed by inanimate nature are not insuperable. The real obstacles lie in the heart of man, and the cure for these is a firm...

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Bertrand Russell

It appeared to me obvious that the happiness of mankind should be the aim of all action, and I discovered to my surprise that there were those who thought otherwise.

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Bertrand Russell

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...

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Bertrand Russell

For over two thousand years it has been the custom among earnest moralists to decry happiness as something degraded and unworthy

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Bertrand Russell

There is little of the true philosophic spirit in Aquinas. He does not, like the Platonic Socrates, set out to follow wherever the argument may lead.

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Bertrand Russell

A man without a bias cannot write interesting history - if indeed such a man exists.

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Bertrand Russell

You may, if you are an old-fashioned schoolmaster, wish to consider yourself full of universal benevolence and at the same time derive great pleasure from caning boys. In order to reconcile these two desires...

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Bertrand Russell

In any closet, you can find it, if it is too small, or out of style, or there is just one of it where there should be two

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Bertrand Russell

Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than...

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Bertrand Russell

Life and hope for the world are to be found only in the deeds of love.

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Bertrand Russell

Human life, its growth, its hopes, fears, loves, et cetera, are the result of accidents

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Bertrand Russell

It is because modern education is so seldom inspired by a great hope that it so seldom achieves great results. The wish to preserve the past rather that the hope of creatingfuture dominates the minds of...

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Bertrand Russell

There are certain things that our age needs. It needs, above all, courageous hope and the impulse to creativeness.

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Bertrand Russell

Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man.

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Bertrand Russell

On the one hand, philosophy is to keep us thinking about things that we may come to know, and on the other hand to keep us modestly aware of how much that seems like knowledge isn't knowledge

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Bertrand Russell

Thinking you know when in fact you don't is a fatal mistake, to which we are all prone

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Bertrand Russell

I am sometimes shocked by the blasphemies of those who think themselves pious.

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Bertrand Russell

If you think your belief is based upon reason, you will support it by argument rather than by persecution, and will abandon it if the argument goes against you. But if your belief is based upon faith,...

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Bertrand Russell

Of course not. After all, I may be wrong.

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Bertrand Russell

There is no excuse for deceiving children. And when, as must happen in conventional families, they find that their parents have lied, they lose confidence in them and feel justified in lying to them.

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Bertrand Russell

Most political leaders acquire their position by causing large numbers of people to believe that these leaders are actuated by altruistic desires

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Bertrand Russell

What men really want is not knowledge but certainty.

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Bertrand Russell

I hold all knowledge that is concerned with things that actually exist - all that is commonly called Science - to be of very slight value compared to the knowledge which, like philosophy and mathematics,...

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Bertrand Russell

All definite knowledge - so I should contend - belongs to science; all dogma as to what surpasses definite knowledge belongs to theology. But between theology and science there is a No Man's Land, exposed...

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Bertrand Russell

Something of the hermit's temper is an essential element in many forms of excellence, since it enables men to resist the lure of popularity, to pursue important work in spite of general indifference or...

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Bertrand Russell

Nothing of importance is ever achieved without discipline. I feel myself sometimes not wholly in sympathy with some modern educational theorists, because I think that they underestimate the part that discipline...

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Bertrand Russell

Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

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Bertrand Russell

Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty-a beauty cold and austere ... yet sublimely pure and capable of stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show.

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Bertrand Russell

(on A History of Western Philosophy) I was sometimes accused by reviewers of writing not a true history but a biased account of the events that I arbitrarily chose to write of. But to my mind, a man without...

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Bertrand Russell

Boys and girls should be taught respect for each other's liberty... and that jealousy and possessiveness kill love.

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Bertrand Russell

Love as a relation between men and women was ruined by the desire to make sure of the legitimacy of children.

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Bertrand Russell

I believe myself that romantic love is the source of the most intense delights that life has to offer. In the relation of a man and woman who love each other with passion and imagination and tenderness,...

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Bertrand Russell

no one ever gossips about the virtues of others

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Bertrand Russell

dont let the old break you; let the love make you

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Bertrand Russell

Moreover, the attitude that one ought to believe such and such a proposition, independently of the question whether there is evidence in its favor, is an attitude which produces hostility to evidence and...

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Bertrand Russell

St. Paul introduced an entirely novel view of marriage, that it existed primarily to prevent the sin of fornication. It is just as if one were to maintain that the sole reason for baking bread is to prevent...

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Bertrand Russell

Aristotle, in spite of his reputation, is full of absurdities. He says that children should be conceived in the Winter, when the wind is in the North, and that if people marry too young the children will...

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Bertrand Russell

You could live without the opera singer, but not without the services of the baker. On this ground you might say that the baker performs a greater service; but no lover of music would agree.

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Bertrand Russell

When conscious activity is wholly concentrated on some one definite purpose, the ultimate result, for most people, is lack of balance accompanied by some form of nervous disorder.

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Bertrand Russell

One must care about a world one will not see.

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Bertrand Russell

When you come to look into this argument from design, it is a most astonishing thing that people can believe that this world, with all the things that are in it, with all its defects, should be the best...

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Bertrand Russell

The man who has fed the chicken every day throughout its life at last wrings its neck instead, showing that more refined views as to the uniformity of nature would have been useful to the chicken.

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Bertrand Russell

Civilized people cannot fully satisfy their sexual instinct without love.

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Bertrand Russell

The Church no longer contends that knowledge is in itself sinful, though it did so in its palmy days; but the acquisition of knowledge, even though not sinful, is dangerous, since it may lead to pride...

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Bertrand Russell

Why repeat the old errors, if there are so many new errors to commit?

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Bertrand Russell

Collective wisdom, alas, is no adequate substitute for the intelligence of individuals. Individuals who opposed received opinions have been the source of all progress, both moral and intellectual. They...

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Bertrand Russell

The governors of the world believe, and have always believed, that virtue can only be taught by teaching falsehood, and that any man who knew the truth would be wicked. I disbelieve this, absolutely and...

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Bertrand Russell

The problem with the wise is they are so filled with doubts while the dull are so certain.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

Envy consists in seeing things never in themselves, but only in their relations. If you desire glory, you may envy Napoleon, but Napoleon envied Caesar, Caesar envied Alexander, and Alexander, I daresay,...

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Bertrand Russell

You must believe that you can help bring about a better world. A good society is produced only by good individuals, just as truly as a majority in a presidential election is produced by the votes of single...

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Bertrand Russell

Worry is a form of fear, and all forms of fear produce fatigue. A man who has learned not to feel fear will find the fatigue of daily life enormously diminished.

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Bertrand Russell

Are you never afraid of God's judgement in denying him? Most certainly not. I also deny Zeus and Jupiter and Odin and Brahma, but this causes me no qualms. I observe that a very large portion of the human...

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Bertrand Russell

I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue.

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Bertrand Russell

Certain characteristics of the subject are clear. To begin with, we do not in this subject deal with particular things or particular properties: we deal formally with what can be said about any thing or...

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Bertrand Russell

I do not think that the real reason why people accept religion has anything to do with argumentation. They accept religion on emotional grounds.

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Bertrand Russell

I mean by intellectual integrity the habit of deciding vexed questions in accordance with the evidence, or of leaving them undecided where the evidence is inconclusive. This virtue, though it is underestimated...

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Bertrand Russell

My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race. I cannot, however, deny that it has made some contributions to civilisation....

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Bertrand Russell

My whole religion is this: do every duty, and expect no reward for it, either here or hereafter.

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Bertrand Russell

No Carthaginian denied Moloch, because to do so would have required more courage that was required to face death in battle.

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Bertrand Russell

Modern American politicians have the same cowardice about denying an equally bloodthirsty even sillier god, Jehovah. None of us would seriously consider the possibility that all the gods of Homer really...

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Bertrand Russell

One is often told that it is a very wrong thing to attack religion, because religion makes men virtuous. So I am told; I have not noticed it.

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Bertrand Russell

The immense majority of intellectually eminent men disbelieve in the Christian religion, but they conceal the fact in public, because they are afraid of losing their incomes.

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Bertrand Russell

The objections to religion are of two sorts - intellectual and moral. The intellectual objection is that there is no reason to suppose any religion true; the moral objection is that religious precepts...

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Bertrand Russell

There are two ways of avoiding fear: one is by persuading ourselves that we are immune from disaster, and the other is by the practice of sheer courage. The latter is difficult, and to everybody becomes...

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Bertrand Russell

This, however, is a passing nightmare; in time the earth will become again incapable of supporting life, and peace will return.

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Bertrand Russell

When two men of science disagree, they do not invoke the secular arm; they wait for further evidence to decide the issue, because, as men of science, they know that neither is infallible. But when two...

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Bertrand Russell

You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of...

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Bertrand Russell

You may reasonably expect a man to walk a tightrope safely for ten minutes; it would be unreasonable to do so without accident for two hundred years.

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Bertrand Russell

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,...

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Bertrand Russell

One of the chief triumphs of modern mathematics consists in having discovered what mathematics really is.

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Bertrand Russell

Many a marriage hardly differs from prostitution, except being harder to escape from.

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Bertrand Russell

Even in civilized mankind faint traces of monogamous instinct can be perceived.

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Bertrand Russell

Love cannot exists as a duty; to tell a child that it ought to love its parents and its brother and sisters is utterly useless, if not worse.

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Bertrand Russell

The first essential character [of civilization], I should say, is forethought. This, I would say, is what distinguishes men from brutes and adults from children.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

Morality in sexual relations, when it is free from superstition, consists essentially in respect for the other person, and unwillingness to use that person solely as a means of personal gratification,...

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Bertrand Russell

When a man tells you that he knows the exact truth about anything you are safe in inferring that he is an inexact man.

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Bertrand Russell

It is the things for which there is no evidence that are believed with passion.

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Bertrand Russell

The morality of work is the morality of slaves, and the modern world has no need of slavery.

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Bertrand Russell

I feel as if one would only discover on one's death-bed what one ought to have lived for, and realise too late that one's life has been wasted. Any passionate and courageous life seems good in itself,...

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Bertrand Russell

I am paid by the word, so I always write the shortest words possible.

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Bertrand Russell

I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive.

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Bertrand Russell

What the world needs is not dogma but an attitude of scientific inquiry combined with a belief that the torture of millions is not desirable, whether inflicted by Stalin or by a Deity imagined in the likeness...

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Bertrand Russell

The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holders lack of rational conviction. Opinions in politics and religion...

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Bertrand Russell

If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something...

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Bertrand Russell

A habit of basing convictions upon evidence, and of giving to them only that degree or certainty which the evidence warrants, would, if it became general, cure most of the ills from which the world suffers.

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Bertrand Russell

In regard to the past, where contemplation is not obscured by desire and the need for action, we see, more clearly than in the lives about us, the value for good and evil, of the aims men have pursued...

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Bertrand Russell

We are condemned to kill time, thus we die bit by bit. - Octavio Paz The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

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Bertrand Russell

When you want to teach children to think, you begin by treating them seriously when they are little, giving them responsibilities, talking to them candidly, providing privacy and solitude for them, and...

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Bertrand Russell

Politics is largely governed by sententious platitudes which are devoid of truth

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Bertrand Russell

Happiness is not best achieved by those who seek it directly.

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Bertrand Russell

The essence of life is doing things for their own sakes.

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Bertrand Russell

When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

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Bertrand Russell

It is essential to happiness that our way of living should spring from our own deep impulses and not from the accidental tastes and desires of those who happen to be our neighbors, or even our relations.

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Bertrand Russell

Our instinctive emotions are those that we have inherited from a much more dangerous world, and contain, therefore, a larger portion of fear than they should.

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Bertrand Russell

The conception of the necessary unit of all that is resolves itself into the poverty of the imagination, and a freer logic emancipates us from the straitwaistcoated benevolent institution, which idealism...

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Bertrand Russell

In democratic countries, the most important private organizations are economic. Unlike secret societies, they are able to exercise their terrorism without illegality, since they do not threaten to kill...

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Bertrand Russell

And all this madness, all this rage, all this flaming death of our civilization and our hopes, has been brought about because a set of official gentlemen, living luxurious lives, mostly stupid, and all...

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Bertrand Russell

Against the vast majority of my countrymen, even at this moment, in the name of humanity and civilization, I protest against our share in the destruction of Germany. A month ago Europe was a peaceful comity...

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Bertrand Russell

I think the subject which will be of most importance politically is Mass Psychology... Its importance has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. Although this science...

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Bertrand Russell

At all times, except when a monarch could enforce his will, war has been facilitated by the fact that vigorous males, confident of victory, enjoyed it, while their females admired them for their prowess.

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Bertrand Russell

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...

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Bertrand Russell

War...seems a mere madness, a collective insanity.

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Bertrand Russell

Love should be a tree whose roots are deep in the earth, but whose branches extend into heaven.

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Bertrand Russell

The world that I should wish to see would be one freed from the virulence of group hostilities and capable of realizing that happiness for all is to be derived rather from co-operation than from strife....

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Bertrand Russell

Respectability, regularity, and routine - the whole cast-iron discipline of a modern industrial society - have atrophied the artistic impulse, and imprisoned love so that it can no longer be generous and...

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Bertrand Russell

No man is liberated from fear who dare not see his place in the world as it is; no man can achieve the greatness of which he is capable until he has allowed himself to see his own littleness.

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Bertrand Russell

You must believe that you can help bring about a better world.

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Bertrand Russell

A man is rational in proportion as his intelligence informs and controls his desires.

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Bertrand Russell

Speaking psycho-analytically, it may be laid down that any "great ideal" which people mention with awe is really an excuse for inflicting pain on their enemies. Good wine needs no bush, and good morals...

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Bertrand Russell

One of the most powerful of all our passions is the desire to be admired and respected.

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Bertrand Russell

Men have physical needs, and they have emotions. While physical needs are unsatisfied, they take first place; but when they are satisfied, emotions unconnected with them become important in deciding whether...

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Bertrand Russell

Machines deprive us of two things which are certainly important ingredients of human happiness, namely, spontaneity and variety.

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Bertrand Russell

Machines have altered our way of life, but not our instincts. Consequently, there is maladjustment.

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Bertrand Russell

Understanding human nature must be the basis of any real improvement in human life. Science has done wonders in mastering the laws of the physical world, but our own nature is much less understood, as...

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Bertrand Russell

There is an element of the busybody in our conception of virtue: unless a man makes himself a nuisance to a great many people, we do not think he can be an exceptionally good man.

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Bertrand Russell

To speak seriously: the standards of "goodness" which are generally recognized by public opinion are not those which are calculated to make the world a happier place. This is due to a variety of causes,...

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Bertrand Russell

Official morality has always been oppressive and negative: it has said "thou shalt not," and has not troubled to investigate the effect of activities not forbidden by the code.

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Bertrand Russell

Human nature being what it is, people will insist upon getting some pleasure out of life.

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Bertrand Russell

Moral indignation is one of the most harmful forces in the modern world, the more so as it can always be diverted to sinister uses by those who control propaganda.

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Bertrand Russell

We love our habits more than our income, often more than our life.

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Bertrand Russell

It is a natural propensity to attribute misfortune to someone's malignity.

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Bertrand Russell

We do not like to be robbed of an enemy; we want someone to hate when we suffer. It is so depressing to think that we suffer because we are fools; yet, taking mankind in the mass, that is the truth.

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Bertrand Russell

The root of the matter is a very simple and old fashioned thing... love or compassion. If you feel this, you have a motive for existence, a guide for action, a reason for courage, an imperative necessity...

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Bertrand Russell

Stupidity and unconscious bias often work more damage than venality.

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Bertrand Russell

None of our beliefs are quite true; all have at least a penumbra of vagueness and error.

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Bertrand Russell

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

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Bertrand Russell

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

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Bertrand Russell

To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.

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Bertrand Russell

I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.

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Bertrand Russell

To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.

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Bertrand Russell

The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.

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Bertrand Russell

Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who'll get the blame.

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Bertrand Russell

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.

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Bertrand Russell

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

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Bertrand Russell

Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

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Bertrand Russell

Anything you're good at contributes to happiness.

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Bertrand Russell

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

Dogmatism and skepticism are both, in a sense, absolute philosophies; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing. What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or ignorance.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

Boredom is... a vital problem for the moralist, since half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.

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Bertrand Russell

We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

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...

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Bertrand Russell

The secret to happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.

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Bertrand Russell

Science is what you know, philosophy is what you don't know.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

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...

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

The fundamental concept in social science is Power, in the same sense in which Energy is the fundamental concept in physics.

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Bertrand Russell

A life without adventure is likely to be unsatisfying, but a life in which adventure is allowed to take whatever form it will is sure to be short.

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Bertrand Russell

It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.

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Bertrand Russell

Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.

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Bertrand Russell

Marriage is for women the commonest mode of livelihood, and the total amount of undesired sex endured by women is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution.

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Bertrand Russell

Contempt for happiness is usually contempt for other people's happiness, and is an elegant disguise for hatred of the human race.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

Why is propaganda so much more successful when it stirs up hatred than when it tries to stir up friendly feeling?

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.

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Bertrand Russell

The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.

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Bertrand Russell

A hallucination is a fact, not an error; what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it.

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Bertrand Russell

Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.

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Bertrand Russell

The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

The degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts.

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Bertrand Russell

Drunkenness is temporary suicide.

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Bertrand Russell

Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.

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Bertrand Russell

No one gossips about other people's secret virtues.

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Bertrand Russell

Religions, which condemn the pleasures of sense, drive men to seek the pleasures of power. Throughout history power has been the vice of the ascetic.

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Bertrand Russell

Ethics is in origin the art of recommending to others the sacrifices required for cooperation with oneself.

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Bertrand Russell

The demand for certainty is one which is natural to man, but is nevertheless an intellectual vice.

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Bertrand Russell

Extreme hopes are born from extreme misery.

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Bertrand Russell

Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact.

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Bertrand Russell

Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.

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Bertrand Russell

The place of the father in the modern suburban family is a very small one, particularly if he plays golf.

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Bertrand Russell

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.

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Bertrand Russell

None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

I remain convinced that obstinate addiction to ordinary language in our private thoughts is one of the main obstacles to progress in philosophy.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

Freedom of opinion can only exist when the government thinks itself secure.

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Bertrand Russell

Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.

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Bertrand Russell

Freedom in general may be defined as the absence of obstacles to the realization of desires.

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Bertrand Russell

Mathematics takes us into the region of absolute necessity, to which not only the actual word, but every possible word, must conform.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

All movements go too far.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

I've made an odd discovery. Every time I talk to a savant I feel quite sure that happiness is no longer a possibility. Yet when I talk with my gardener, I'm convinced of the opposite.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

Awareness of universals is called conceiving, and a universal of which we are aware is called a concept.

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Bertrand Russell

To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance to the citizens of a democracy.

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Bertrand Russell

There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths.

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Bertrand Russell

Liberty is the right to do what I like; license, the right to do what you like.

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Bertrand Russell

It seems to be the fate of idealists to obtain what they have struggled for in a form which destroys their ideals.

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Bertrand Russell

Reason is a harmonising, controlling force rather than a creative one.

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Bertrand Russell

The coward wretch whose hand and heart Can bear to torture aught below, Is ever first to quail and start From the slightest pain or equal foe.

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Bertrand Russell

The fundamental defect of fathers, in our competitive society, is that they want their children to be a credit to them.

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Bertrand Russell

Both in thought and in feeling, even though time be real, to realise the unimportance of time is the gate of wisdom.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

Order, unity, and continuity are human inventions, just as truly as catalogues and encyclopedias.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

The most savage controversies are about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.

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Bertrand Russell

Admiration of the proletariat, like that of dams, power stations, and aeroplanes, is part of the ideology of the machine age.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

To understand a name you must be acquainted with the particular of which it is a name.

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Bertrand Russell

A process which led from the amoeba to man appeared to the philosophers to be obviously a progress though whether the amoeba would agree with this opinion is not known.

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Bertrand Russell

It is possible that mankind is on the threshold of a golden age; but, if so, it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door, and this dragon is religion.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

Religions that teach brotherly love have been used as an excuse for persecution, and our profoundest scientific insight is made into a means of mass destruction.

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Bertrand Russell

I like mathematics because it is not human and has nothing particular to do with this planet or with the whole accidental universe - because, like Spinoza's God, it won't love us in return.

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Bertrand Russell

The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

Many a man will have the courage to die gallantly, but will not have the courage to say, or even to think, that the cause for which he is asked to die is an unworthy one.

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Bertrand Russell

To teach how to live without certainty and yet without being paralysed by hesitation is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can do for those who study it.

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Bertrand Russell

Many people when they fall in love look for a little haven of refuge from the world, where they can be sure of being admired when they are not admirable, and praised when they are not praiseworthy.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn't wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine.

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Bertrand Russell

When the intensity of emotional conviction subsides, a man who is in the habit of reasoning will search for logical grounds in favour of the belief which he finds in himself.

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Bertrand Russell

The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.

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Bertrand Russell

The theoretical understanding of the world, which is the aim of philosophy, is not a matter of great practical importance to animals, or to savages, or even to most civilised men.

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Bertrand Russell

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...

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Bertrand Russell

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...

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Bertrand Russell

Right discipline consists, not in external compulsion, but in the habits of mind which lead spontaneously to desirable rather than undesirable activities.

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Bertrand Russell

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...

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Bertrand Russell

Almost everything that distinguishes the modern world from earlier centuries is attributable to science, which achieved its most spectacular triumphs in the seventeenth century.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

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?

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Bertrand Russell

I do not pretend to start with precise questions. I do not think you can start with anything precise. You have to achieve such precision as you can, as you go along.

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Bertrand Russell

Machines are worshipped because they are beautiful and valued because they confer power; they are hated because they are hideous and loathed because they impose slavery.

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Bertrand Russell

Next to enjoying ourselves, the next greatest pleasure consists in preventing others from enjoying themselves, or, more generally, in the acquisition of power.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

With the introduction of agriculture mankind entered upon a long period of meanness, misery, and madness, from which they are only now being freed by the beneficent operation of the machine.

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Bertrand Russell

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...

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

No man can be a good teacher unless he has feelings of warm affection toward his pupils and a genuine desire to impart to them what he believes to be of value.

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Bertrand Russell

Love is a little haven of refuge from the world.

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Bertrand Russell

Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear.

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Bertrand Russell

Religion prevents our children from having a rational education; religion prevents us from removing the fundamental causes of war; religion prevents us from teaching the ethic of scientific cooperation...

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Bertrand Russell

More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given

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Bertrand Russell

When it was first proposed to establish laboratories at Cambridge, Todhunter, the mathematician, objected that it was unnecessary for students to see experiments performed, since the results could be vouched...

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Bertrand Russell

What is matter? Never mind.

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Bertrand Russell

The man who is unhappy will, as a rule, adopt an unhappy creed, while the man who is happy will adopt a happy creed; each may attribute his happiness or unhappiness to his beliefs, while the real causation...

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Bertrand Russell

Some people would rather die than think.

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Bertrand Russell

So in everything: power lies with those who control finance, not with those who know the matter upon which the money is to be spent. Thus, the holders of power are, in general, ignorant and malevolent,...

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Bertrand Russell

Freedom in education has many aspects. There is first of all freedom to learn or not to learn. Then there is freedom as to what to learn. And in later education there is freedom of opinion.

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Bertrand Russell

Truth is for the gods; from our human point of view, it is an ideal, towards which we can approximate, but which we cannot hope to reach.

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Bertrand Russell

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widely spread belief is more likely to...

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Bertrand Russell

It is not what the man of science believes that distinguishes him, but how and why he believes it. His beliefs are tentative, not dogmatic; they are based on evidence, not on authority or intuition.

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Bertrand Russell

My own belief is that in most ages and in most places obscure psychological forces led men to adopt systems involving quite unnecessary cruelty, and that this is still the case among the most civilized...

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Bertrand Russell

Love can flourish only as long as it is free and spontaneous; it tends to be killed by the thought of duty. To say that it is your duty to love so-and-so is the surest way to cause you to hate him of her.

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Bertrand Russell

The twin conceptions of sin and vindictive punishment seem to be at the root of much that is most vigorous, both in religion and politics.

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Bertrand Russell

Science can teach us, and I think our hearts can teach us, no longer to look around for imaginary supporters, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to...

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Bertrand Russell

Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possiblities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny...

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Bertrand Russell

Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise, for only a fool will think that is happiness.

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Bertrand Russell

Affection cannot be created; it can only be liberated.

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Bertrand Russell

Punctuality is a quality the need of which is bound up with social co-operation. It has nothing to do with the relation of the soul to God, or with mystic insight, or with any of the matters with which...

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Bertrand Russell

Some care is needed in using Descartes' argument. "I think, therefore I am" says rather more than is strictly certain. It might seem as though we are quite sure of being the same person to-day as we were...

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Bertrand Russell

Those who have never known the deep intimacy and the intense companionship of happy mutual love have missed the best thing that life has to give.

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Bertrand Russell

I have found, for example, that if I have to write upon sum rather difficult topic, the best plan is to think about it with very great intensity-the greatest intensity of which I am capable-for a few hours...

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Bertrand Russell

I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment.

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Bertrand Russell

You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment...

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

An Honest politician will not be tolerated by a democracy unless he is very stupid ... because only a very stupid man can honestly share the prejudices of more than half the nation.

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Bertrand Russell

I've always thought respectable people scoundrels, and I look anxiously at my face every morning for signs of my becoming a scoundrel.

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Bertrand Russell

It is for this reason that rationality is of supreme importance to the well-being of the human species...even more, in those less fortunate times in which it is despised and rejected as the vain dream...

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Bertrand Russell

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...

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Bertrand Russell

I have come to realize that an early symptom of approaching mental illness is the belief that one's work is terribly important. If you consider your work very important you should take a day off.

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Bertrand Russell

The Christian view that all intercourse outside marriage is immoral was, as we see in the above passages from St. Paul, based upon the view that all sexual intercourse, even within marriage, is regrettable....

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Bertrand Russell

A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.

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Bertrand Russell

The true function of logic ... as applied to matters of experience ... is analytic rather than constructive; taken a priori, it shows the possibility of hitherto unsuspected alternatives more often than...

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Bertrand Russell

One of the commonest things to do with savings is to lend them to some Government. In view of the fact that the bulk of the public expenditure of most civilized Governments consists in payment for past...

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Bertrand Russell

The first dogma which I came to disbelieve was that of free will. It seemed to me that all notions of matter were determined by the laws of dynamics and could not therefore be influenced by human wills.

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Bertrand Russell

When a man acts in ways that annoy us we wish to think him wicked, and we refuse to face the fact that his annoying behavior is the result of antecedent causes which, if you follow them long enough, will...

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Bertrand Russell

The road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work.

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Bertrand Russell

Philosophy, for Plato, is a kind of vision, the 'vision of truth'...Everyone who has done any kind of creative work has experienced, in a greater or less degree, the state of mind in which, after long...

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Bertrand Russell

The first effect of emancipation from the Church was not to make men think rationally, but to open their minds to every sort of antique nonsense

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Bertrand Russell

Envy is the basis of democracy.

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Bertrand Russell

All exact science is dominated by the idea of approximation.

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Bertrand Russell

Physics is mathematical not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little; it is only its mathematical properties that we can discover.

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Bertrand Russell

Obviousness is always the enemy of correctness.

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Bertrand Russell

That the world is in a bad shape is undeniable, but there is not the faintest reason in history to suppose that Christianity offers a way out.

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Bertrand Russell

When you are studying any matter or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only: what are the facts, and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted by what you wish to...

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Bertrand Russell

I do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God. I equally cannot prove that Satan is a fiction. The Christian god may exist; so may the gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But...

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Bertrand Russell

Philosophy seems to me on the whole a rather hopeless business.

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Bertrand Russell

If everything has a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just be the world as God...

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Bertrand Russell

It seems to me a fundamental dishonesty, and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it's useful and not because you think it's true.

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Bertrand Russell

If I were a medical man, I should prescribe a holiday to any patient who considered his work important.

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Bertrand Russell

Happiness, as is evident, depends partly upon external circumstances and partly upon oneself.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

I do not believe that I am now dreaming, but I cannot prove that I am not.

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Bertrand Russell

If the ordinary wage-earner worked four hours a day, there would be enough for everybody and no unemployment -- assuming a certain very moderate amount of sensible organization. This idea shocks the well-to-do,...

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Bertrand Russell

I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: "The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that's fair." In these words he epitomized the history...

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Bertrand Russell

There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge and wisdom. Shall we instead choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels? I appeal as a human being to human beings;...

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Bertrand Russell

Remember your humanity, and forget the rest.

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Bertrand Russell

Science tells us what we can know, but what we can know is little, and if we forget how much we cannot know we become insensitive to many things of great importance.

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Bertrand Russell

The people who are regarded as moral luminaries are those who forego ordinary pleasures themselves and find compensation in interfering with the pleasures of others.

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Bertrand Russell

The pleasure of work is open to anyone who can develop some specialised skill, provided that he can get satisfaction from the exercise of his skill without demanding universal applause.

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Bertrand Russell

Law in origin was merely a codification of the power of dominant groups, and did not aim at anything that to a modern man would appear to be justice

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Bertrand Russell

The true spirit of delight...is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.

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Bertrand Russell

The more things a man is interested in, the more opportunities of happiness he has and the less he is at the mercy of fate, since if he loses one thing he can fall back upon another.

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Bertrand Russell

But if thought is to become the possession of many, not the privilege of the few, we must have done with fear. It is fear that holds men back - fear lest their cherished beliefs should prove delusions,...

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Bertrand Russell

War grows out of ordinary human nature.

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Bertrand Russell

This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the second chance were offered me.

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Bertrand Russell

One must expect a war between U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. which will begin with the total destruction of London. I think the war will last 30 years, and leave a world without civilised people, from which everything...

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Bertrand Russell

Power is sweet; it is a drug, the desire for which increases with a habit.

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Bertrand Russell

All serious innovation is only rendered possible by some accident enabling unpopular persons to survive.

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Bertrand Russell

The happy life is to an extraordinary extent the same as the good life.

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Bertrand Russell

William James describes a man who got the experience from laughing-gas; whenever he was under its influence, he knew the secret of the universe, but when he came to, he had forgotten it. At last, with...

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

Dogma demands authority, rather than intelligent thought, as the source of opinion; it requires persecution of heretics and hostility to unbelievers; it asks of its disciples that they should inhibit natural...

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Bertrand Russell

Uncertainty in the pressure of vivid hopes and fears is painful, but must be endured if we wish to live without the support of comforting fairy tales.

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Bertrand Russell

Without civic morality communities perish; without personal morality their survival has no value.

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Bertrand Russell

This is one of those views which are so absolutely absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them.

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Bertrand Russell

RELIGION: A set of beliefs held as dogmas, dominating the conduct of life, going beyond or contrary to evidence, and inculcated by methods which are emotional or authoritarian, not intellectual.

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Bertrand Russell

HELL: A place where the police are German, the motorists French and the cooks English.

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Bertrand Russell

No opinion has ever been too errant to become a creed.

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Bertrand Russell

When considering marriage one should ask oneself this question; 'will I be able to talk with this person into old age?' Everything else is transitory, the most time is spent in conversation.

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Bertrand Russell

The desire to understand the world and the desire to reform it are the two great engines of progress, without which human society would stand still or retrogress. It's coexistence or no existence.

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Bertrand Russell

Science seems to be at war with itself.... Naive realism leads to physics, and physics, if true, shows naive realism to be false. Therefore naive realism, if true, is false; therefore it is false.

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Bertrand Russell

We know too much and feel too little.

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Bertrand Russell

Life is just one cup of coffee after another, and don't look for anything else.

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Bertrand Russell

Calculus required continuity, and continuity was supposed to require the infinitely little; but nobody could discover what the infinitely little might be.

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Bertrand Russell

Zeno was concerned with three problems... These are the problem of the infinitesimal, the infinite, and continuity.

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Bertrand Russell

Mathematics is, I believe, the chief source of the belief in eternal and exact truth, as well as a sensible intelligible world.

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Bertrand Russell

Ordinary language is totally unsuited for expressing what physics really asserts, since the words of everyday life are not sufficiently abstract. Only mathematics and mathematical logic can say as little...

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Bertrand Russell

At the age of eleven, I began Euclid, with my brother as my tutor. This was one of the great events of my life, as dazzling as first love. I had not imagined there was anything so delicious in the world....

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Bertrand Russell

Analytic It is clear that the definition of "logic" or "mathematics" must be sought by trying to give a new definition of the old notion of "analytic" propositions.

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Bertrand Russell

Formality Thus the absence of all mention of particular things or properties in logic or pure mathematics is a necessary result of the fact that this study is, as we say, "purely formal".

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Bertrand Russell

The world in which we live can be understood as a result of muddle and accident; but if it is the outcome of deliberate purpose, the purpose must have been that of a fiend. For my part, I find accident...

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Bertrand Russell

The harm that theology has done is not to create cruel impulses, but to give them the sanction of what professes to be lofty ethic, and to confer an apparently sacred character upon practices which have...

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Bertrand Russell

Almost all education has a political motive: it aims at strengthening some group, national or religious or even social, in the competition with other groups. It is this motive, in the main, which determines...

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Bertrand Russell

I had supposed until that time that it was quite common for parents to love their children, but the war persuaded me that it is a rare exception. I had supposed that most people liked money better than...

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Bertrand Russell

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...

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Bertrand Russell

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,...

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Bertrand Russell

A good notation has a subtlety and suggestiveness which at times make it almost seem like a live teacher.

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Bertrand Russell

Although it is a gloomy view to suppose that life will die out, sometimes when I contemplate the things that people do with their lives I think it is almost a consolation

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Bertrand Russell

No man treats a motorcar as foolishly as he treats another human being. When the car will not go, he does not attribute its annoying behavior to sin; he does not say, 'You are a wicked motorcar, and I...

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

Bad philosophers may have a certain influence; good philosophers, never.

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Bertrand Russell

Folly is perennial, yet the human race has survived.

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Bertrand Russell

But courage in fighting is by no means the only form, nor perhaps even the most important. There is courage in facing poverty, courage in facing derision, courage in facing the hostility of one's own herd....

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Bertrand Russell

To the primitive mind, everything is either friendly or hostile; but experience has shown that friendliness and hostility are not the conceptions by which the world is to be understood.

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Bertrand Russell

Your writing is never as good as you hoped; but never as bad as you feared.

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Bertrand Russell

The luxury to disparage freedom is the privilege of those who already possess it.

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Bertrand Russell

Never let yourself be diverted, either by what you wish to believe, or what you think could have beneficent social effects if it were believed; but look only and solely at what are the facts.

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Bertrand Russell

How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty?

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Bertrand Russell

Whoever wishes to become a philosopher must learn not to be frightened by absurdities.

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Bertrand Russell

There is no greater reason for children to honour parents than for parents to honour children except, that while the children are young, the parents are stronger than children.

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Bertrand Russell

Either man will abolish war, or war will abolish man.

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Bertrand Russell

To expect a personality to survive the disintegration of the brain is like expecting a cricket club to survive when all of its members are dead.

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Bertrand Russell

Ever since men became capable of free speculation, their actions, in innumerable important respects, have depended upon their theories as to the world and human life, as to what is good and what is evil....

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Bertrand Russell

Modern definitions of truth, such as those as pragmatism and instrumentalism, which are practical rather than contemplative, are inspired by industrialisation as opposed to aristocracy.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

In the visible world, the Milky Way is a tiny fragment; within this fragment, the solar system is an infinitesimal speck, and of this speck our planet is a microscopic dot. On this dot, tiny lumps of impure...

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Bertrand Russell

Every great idea starts out as a blasphemy.

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Bertrand Russell

All human activity is prompted by desire.

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Bertrand Russell

The whole conception of a God is a conception derived from the ancient oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men. We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face. We...

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Bertrand Russell

I am compelled to fear that science will be used to promote the power of dominant groups rather than to make men happy.

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Bertrand Russell

Is a man what he seems to the astronomer, a tiny lump of impure carbon and water crawling impotently on a small and unimportant planet? Or is he what he appears to Hamlet? Is he perhaps both as once?

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Bertrand Russell

Belief systems provide a programme which relieves the necessity of thought.

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Bertrand Russell

If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that you are subconsciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as you do.

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Bertrand Russell

Do not feel certain of anything.

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Bertrand Russell

Science does not aim at establishing immutable truths and eternal dogmas; its aim is to approach the truth by successive approximations, without claiming that at any stage final and complete accuracy has...

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Bertrand Russell

Literature is inexhaustible, with every book a homage to infinity

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Bertrand Russell

To fear love is to fear life....

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Bertrand Russell

Whenever you find yourself getting angry about a difference of opinion, be on your guard; you will probably find, on examination, that your belief is going beyond what the evidence warrants.

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Bertrand Russell

The wise man will be as happy as circumstances permit, and if he finds the contemplation of the universe painful beyond a point, he will contemplate something else instead.

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Bertrand Russell

If two hitherto rival football teams, under the influence of brotherly love, decided to co-operate in placing the football first beyond one goal and then beyond the other, no one's happiness would be increased

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Bertrand Russell

Envy was one of the most potent causes of unhappiness.

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Bertrand Russell

Conquer the world by intelligence, and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it.

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Bertrand Russell

There is an artist imprisoned in each one of us. Let him loose to spread joy everywhere.

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Bertrand Russell

The resistance to a new idea increases by the square of its importance.

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Bertrand Russell

The wise man thinks about his troubles only when there is some purpose in doing so; at other times he thinks about other things, or, if it is night, about nothing at all.

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Bertrand Russell

I am as drunk as a lord, but then, I am one, so what does it matter ?

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Bertrand Russell

The man who pursues happiness wisely will aim at the possession of a number of subsidiary interests in addition to those central ones upon which his life is built.

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Bertrand Russell

Only in thought is man a God; in action and desire we are the slaves of circumstance.

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Bertrand Russell

Human nature is so constructed that it gives affection most readily to those who seem least to demand it.

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Bertrand Russell

It is clear that thought is not free if the profession of certain opinions makes it impossible to earn a living.

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Bertrand Russell

The man who only loves beautiful things is dreaming, whereas the man who knows absolute beauty is wide awake.

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

No great achievement is possible without persistent work.

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Bertrand Russell

Our use of phrase 'The Dark ages' to cover the period from 699 to 1,000 marks our undue concentration on Western Europe...

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Bertrand Russell

From India to Spain, the brilliant civilization of Islam flourished. What was lost to christendom at this time was not lost to civilization, but quite the contrary...

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Bertrand Russell

To us it seems that West-European civilization is civilization, but this is a narrow view.

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Bertrand Russell

Organized people are just too lazy to look for things

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Bertrand Russell

Ants and savages put strangers to death.

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Bertrand Russell

The best practical advice I can give to the present generation is to practice the virtue which the Christians call love.

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Bertrand Russell

In the part of this universe that we know there is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which of those is the more annoying.

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Bertrand Russell

Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth - more than ruin, more even than death.

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Bertrand Russell

Self-respect will keep a man from being abject when he is in the power of enemies, and will enable him to feel that he may be in the right when the world is against him.

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Bertrand Russell

We are all prone to the malady of the introvert who with the manifold spectacle of the world spread out before him, turns away and gazes only upon the emptiness within.

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Bertrand Russell

The use of self control is like the use of brakes on train. It is useful when you find yourself in wrong direction but merely harmful when the direction is right

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Bertrand Russell

Altogether it will be found that a quiet life is characteristic of great men, and that their pleasures have not been of the sort that would look exciting to the outward eye.

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Bertrand Russell

Science, by itself cannot, supply us with an ethic.

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Bertrand Russell

In human relations one should penetrate to the core of loneliness in each person and speak to that.

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Bertrand Russell

Man 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.

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Bertrand Russell

Right conduct can never, except by some rare accident, be promoted by ignorance or hindered by knowledge.

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Bertrand Russell

Mankind has become so much one family that we cannot insure our own prosperity except by insuring that of everyone else.

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Bertrand Russell

What science cannot tell us, mankind cannot know.

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Bertrand Russell

Opinions which justify cruelty are inspired by cruel impulses.

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Bertrand Russell

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...

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

Change is scientific; progress is ethical; change is indubitable, whereas progress is a matter of controversy.

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Bertrand Russell

Ethical metaphysics is fundamentally an attempt, however disguised, to give legislative force to our own wishes.

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Bertrand Russell

There is no difference between someone who eats too little and sees Heaven and someone who drinks too much and sees snakes.

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Bertrand Russell

Children, after being limbs of Satan in traditional theology and mystically illuminated angels in the minds of educational reformers, have reverted to being little devils; not theological demons inspired...

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Bertrand Russell

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

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Bertrand Russell

Real life is, to most men, a long second best, a perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible.

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Bertrand Russell

Much of the most important evils that mankind have to consider are those which they inflict upon each other through stupidity or malevolence or both.

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Bertrand Russell

The search for something permanent is one of the deepest of the instincts leading men to philosophy.

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Bertrand Russell

There's a Bible on that shelf there. But I keep it next to Voltaire - poison and antidote.

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Bertrand Russell

Ideas and principles that do harm are as a rule, though not always, cloaks for evil passions.

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Bertrand Russell

There are two motives for reading a book; one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.

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Bertrand Russell

We know very little, and yet it is astonishing that we know so much, and still more astonishing that so little knowledge can give us so much power.

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Bertrand Russell

To write tragedy, a man must feel tragedy. To feel tragedy, a man must be aware of the world in which he lives. Not only with his mind, but with his blood and sinews.

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Bertrand Russell

Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cozy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigor, and the great spaces have a splendor of...

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Bertrand Russell

To like many people spontaneously and without effort is perhaps the greatest of all sources of personal happiness.

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Bertrand Russell

Love is wise; hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people...

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Bertrand Russell

Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

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Bertrand Russell

As soon as we abandon our reason and are content to rely on authority, there is no end to our troubles.

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Bertrand Russell

Really high-minded people are indifferent to happiness, especially other people's.

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Bertrand Russell

Every isolated passion, is, in isolation, insane; sanity may be defined as synthesis of insanities. Every dominant passion generates a dominant fear, the fear of its non-fulfillment. Every dominant fear...

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Bertrand Russell

Cruelty is, in theory, a perfectly adequate ground for divorce, but it may be interpreted so as to become absurd.

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Bertrand Russell

Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.

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Bertrand Russell

It is a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly, just as it is to be angry with a car that won't go.

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Bertrand Russell

The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.

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Bertrand Russell

Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.

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Bertrand Russell

A habit of finding pleasure in thought rather than action is a safeguard against unwisdom and excessive love of power, a means of preserving serenity in misfortune and peace of mind among worries. A life...

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Bertrand Russell

The human race may well become extinct before the end of the century. Speaking as a mathematician, I should say the odds are about three to one against survival.

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Bertrand Russell

I must, before I die, find some way to say the essential thing that is in me, that I have never said yet -- a thing that is not love or hate or pity or scorn, but the very breath of life, fierce and coming...

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Bertrand Russell

No nation was ever so virtuous as each believes itself, and none was ever so wicked as each believes the other.

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Bertrand Russell

Physics, owing to the simplicity of its subject matter, has reached a higher state of development than any other science.

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Bertrand Russell

America ... where laws and customs alike are based on the dreams of spinsters.

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Bertrand Russell

When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also admit that some things are much more nearly certain than others.

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Bertrand Russell

I am delighted to know that Principia Mathematica can now be done by machinery. . . I am quite willing to believe that anything in deductive logic can be done by machinery.

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Bertrand Russell

Scientific method, although in its more refined forms it may seem complicated, is in essence remarkably simply. It consists in observing such facts as will enable the observer to discover general laws...

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Bertrand Russell

The first man who said "fire burns" was employing scientific method, at any rate if he had allowed himself to be burnt several times. This man had already passed through the two stages of observation and...

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Bertrand Russell

The significance of a fact is relative to [the general body of scientific] knowledge. To say that a fact is significant in science, is to say that it helps to establish or refute some general law; for...

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Bertrand Russell

Science, in its ultimate ideal, consists of a set of propositions arranged in a hierarchy, the lowest level of the hierarchy being concerned with particular facts, and the highest with some general law,...

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Bertrand Russell

[Man] ... his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling can...

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Bertrand Russell

The teacher, like the artist and the philosopher, can perform his work adequately only if he feels himself to be an individual directed by an inner creative impulse, not dominated and fettered by an outside...

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Bertrand Russell

Continuity of purpose is one of the most essential ingredients of happiness in the long run, and for most men that comes chiefly through their work.

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Bertrand Russell

What's the difference between a bright, inquisitive five-year-old, and a dull, stupid nineteen-year-old? Fourteen years of the British educational system.

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Bertrand Russell

It's easy to fall in love. The hard part is finding someone to catch you.

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Bertrand Russell

I am not myself in any degree ashamed of having changed my opinions.

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Bertrand Russell

Dogmatism is the greatest of mental obstacles to human happiness.

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Bertrand Russell

Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false.

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Bertrand Russell

Indemnity for the past and security for the future.

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Bertrand Russell

The three main extra-rational activities in modern life are religion, war, and love. all these are extra-rational, but love is not anti-rational, that is to say, a reasonable man may reasonably rejoice...

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Bertrand Russell

Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken.

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Bertrand Russell

Every housemaid expects at least once a week as much excitement as would have lasted a Jane Austen heroine throughout a whole novel.

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Bertrand Russell

Well, there are many religions, but I suppose they all worship the same God.

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Bertrand Russell

Common sense, however it tries, cannot avoid being surprised from time to time.

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Bertrand Russell

Gradually, by selective breeding, the congenital differences between rulers and ruled will increase until they become almost different species. A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organized...

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Bertrand Russell

Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the...

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Bertrand Russell

Hitler is an outcome of Rousseau.

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Bertrand Russell

For some reason which I have failed to understand, many people like the system [scientific totalitarianism] when it is Russian but disliked the very same system when it was German. I am compelled to think...

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Bertrand Russell

Thee might observe incidentally that if the state paid for child-bearing it might and ought to require a medical certificate that the parents were such as to give a reasonable result of a healthy child...

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Bertrand Russell

The demand for certainty is one which is natural to man, but is nevertheless an intellectual vice. So long as men are not trained to withhold judgment in the absence of evidence, they will be led astray...

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Bertrand Russell

The social psychologist of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. When the technique...

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Bertrand Russell

I have sought love because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven the saints and poets have imagined.

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Bertrand Russell

Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand-in-hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things. In this world we can now begin a little...

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Bertrand Russell

What hunger is in relation to food, zest is in relation to life.

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Bertrand Russell

Is there any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it?

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Bertrand Russell

The discipline in your life should be one determined by your own desires and your own needs, not put upon you by society or authority.

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Bertrand Russell

A good social system is not to be secured by making people unselfish, but, by making their own vital impulses fit in with other peoples. This is feasible. Those who have produced stoic philosophies have...

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Bertrand Russell

One of the chief obstacles to intelligence is credulity, and credulity could be enormously diminished by instructions as to the prevalent forms of mendacity. Credulity is a greater evil in the present...

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

It is a curious and painful fact that almost all the completely futile treatments that have been believed in during the long history of medical folly have been such as caused acute suffering to the patient....

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Bertrand Russell

Worry is a form of fear.

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Bertrand Russell

A widespread belief is more often likely to be foolish than sensible.

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Bertrand Russell

The method of "postulating" what we want has many advantages; they are the same as the advantages of theft over honest toil.

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Bertrand Russell

No matter how eloquently a dog may bark, he cannot tell you that his parents were poor, but honest.

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Bertrand Russell

What will be the good of the conquest of leisure and health, if no one remembers how to use them?

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Bertrand Russell

We know too much and feel too little. At least, we feel too little of those creative emotions from which a good life springs.

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Bertrand Russell

All forms of fear produce fatigue.

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Bertrand Russell

The experience of overcoming fear is extraordinarily delightful.

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Bertrand Russell

I once saw a photograph of a large herd of wild elephants in Central Africa Seeing an airplane for the first time, and all in a state of wild collective terror... As, however, there were no journalists...

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Bertrand Russell

There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths...

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Bertrand Russell

From that awful encounter of the soul with the outer world, enunciation, wisdom, and charity are born; and with their birth a new life begins. To take into the inmost shrine of the soul the irresistible...

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Bertrand Russell

There can't be a practical reason for believing something that is not true.

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Bertrand Russell

There is exactly the same degree of possibility and likelihood of the existence of the Christian God as there is of the existence of the Homeric god. I cannot prove that either the Christian god or the...

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Bertrand Russell

Even if we could be certain that one of the world's religions were perfectly true, given the sheer number of conflicting faiths on offer, every believer should expect damnation purely as a matter of probability.

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Bertrand Russell

I know a parson who frightened his congregation terribly by telling them the second coming was very imminent indeed, but they were much consoled when they found he was planting trees in his garden.

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Bertrand Russell

If we were all given by magic the power to read each other's thoughts, I suppose the first effect would be to dissolve all friendships.

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Bertrand Russell

In all the creative work that I have done, what has come first is a problem, a puzzle involving discomfort.

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Bertrand Russell

This idea of weapons of mass extermination is utterly horrible and is something which no one with one spark of humanity can tolerate.

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Bertrand Russell

Frege has the merit of ... finding a third assertion by recognising the world of logic which is neither mental nor physical.

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Bertrand Russell

Our individual life is brief, and perhaps the whole life of mankind will be brief if measured in astronomical scale

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Bertrand Russell

Every living thing is a sort of imperialist, seeking to transform as much as possible of its environment into itself . . . When we compare the (present) human population of the globe with . . . that of...

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Bertrand Russell

Upon hearing via Littlewood an exposition on the theory of relativity: To think I have spent my life on absolute muck.

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Bertrand Russell

Those who in principle oppose birth control are either incapable of arithmetic or else in favour of war, pestilence and famine as permanent features of human life.

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Bertrand Russell

The main thing needed to make men happy is intelligence.

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Bertrand Russell

To create a good philosophy you should renounce metaphysics but be a good mathematician.

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Bertrand Russell

And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence

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Bertrand Russell

I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different...

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Bertrand Russell

...impregnation will be regarded in an entirely different manner, more in the light of a surgical operation, so that it will be thought not ladylike to have it performed in the natural manner.

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Bertrand Russell

I conclude that, while it is true that science cannot decide questions of value, that is because they cannot be intellectually decided at all, and lie outside the realm of truth and falsehood. Whatever...

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Bertrand Russell

Philosophy is that part of science which at present people chose to have opinions about, but which they have no knowledge about. Therefore every advance in knowledge robs philosophy of some problems which...

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Bertrand Russell

Science is what we know, and philosophy is what we don't know.

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Bertrand Russell

The examination system, and the fact that instruction is treated mainly as a training for a livelihood, leads the young to regard knowledge from a purely utilitarian point of view as the road to money,...

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Bertrand Russell

The scientific attitude of mind involves a sweeping away of all other desires in the interest of the desire to know.

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Bertrand Russell

A proverb is one man's wit and all men's wisdom.

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Bertrand Russell

In science the successors stand upon the shoulders of their predecessors; where one man of supreme genius has invented a method, a thousand lesser men can apply it. ... In art nothing worth doing can be...

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Bertrand Russell

Science, by itself, cannot supply us with an ethic. It can show us how to achieve a given end, and it may show us that some ends cannot be achieved. But among ends that can be achieved our choice must...

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Bertrand Russell

With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number...

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Bertrand Russell

What the world needs is not dogma but an attitude of scientific inquiry.

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Bertrand Russell

All the conditions of happiness are realized in the life of the man of science.

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Bertrand Russell

Sir Arthur Eddington deduces religion from the fact that atoms do not obey the laws of mathematics. Sir James Jeans deduces it from the fact that they do.

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Bertrand Russell

I think it would be just to say the most essential characteristic of mind is memory, using this word in its broadest sense to include every influence of past experience on present reactions.

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Bertrand Russell

In attempting to understand the elements out of which mental phenomena are compounded, it is of the greatest importance to remember that from the protozoa to man there is nowhere a very wide gap either...

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Bertrand Russell

We are ... led to a somewhat vague distinction between what we may call "hard" data and "soft" data. This distinction is a matter of degree, and must not be pressed; but if not taken too seriously it may...

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Bertrand Russell

It is odd that neither the Church nor modern public opinion condemns petting, provided it stops short at a certain point. At what point sin begins is a matter as to which casuists differ. One eminently...

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Bertrand Russell

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 infering that he is an...

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Bertrand Russell

In the higher walks of politics the same sort of thing occurs. The statesman who has gradually concentrated all power within himself ... may have had anything but a public motive... The phrases which are...

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Bertrand Russell

Of these austerer virtues the love of truth is the chief, and in mathematics, more than elsewhere, the love of truth may find encouragement for waning faith. Every great study is not only an end in itself,...

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Bertrand Russell

There are infinite possibilities of error, and more cranks take up fashionable untruths than unfashionable truths.

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Bertrand Russell

Arithmetic must be discovered in just the same sense in which Columbus discovered the West Indies, and we no more create numbers than he created the Indians.

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Bertrand Russell

But it is just this characteristic of simplicity in the laws of nature hitherto discovered which it would be fallacious to generalize, for it is obvious that simplicity has been a part cause of their discovery,...

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Bertrand Russell

I am firm; YOU are obstinate; HE is a pig-headed fool.

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Bertrand Russell

Only mathematics and mathematical logic can say as little as the physicist means to say.

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Bertrand Russell

Remote from human passions, remote even from the pitiful facts of nature, the generations have gradually created an ordered cosmos [mathematics], where pure thought can dwell in its natural home...

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Bertrand Russell

The fact that all Mathematics is Symbolic Logic is one of the greatest discoveries of our age; and when this fact has been established, the remainder of the principles of mathematics consists of the analysis...

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Bertrand Russell

To a mind of sufficient intellectual power, the whole of mathematics would appear trivial, as trivial as the statement that a four-footed animal is an animal.

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Bertrand Russell

What is best in mathematics deserves not merely to be learnt as a task, but to assimilated as a part of daily thought, and brought again and again before the mind with ever-renewed encouragement.

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Bertrand Russell

At first it seems obvious, but the more you think about it the stranger the deductions from this axiom seem to become; in the end you cease to understand what is meant by it.

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Bertrand Russell

Unless one is taught what to do with success after getting it, achievement of it must inevitably leave him prey to boredom.

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Bertrand Russell

I did not know I loved you until I heard myself telling so, for one instance I thought, "Good God, what have I said?" and then I knew it was true.

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Bertrand Russell

No satisfaction based upon self-deception is solid, and however unpleasant the truth may be, it is better to face it once and for all, to get used to it, and to proceed to build your life in accordance...

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Bertrand Russell

When the state intervenes to insure the indoctrination of some doctrine, it does so because there is no conclusive evidence in favor of that doctrine.

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Bertrand Russell

Never try to discourage thinking, for you are sure to succeed.

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Bertrand Russell

We may define "faith" as the firm belief in something for which there is no evidence. Where there is evidence, no one speaks of "faith." We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the...

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Bertrand Russell

My conclusion is that there is no reason to believe any of the dogmas of traditional theology and, further, that there is no reason to wish that they were true. Man, in so far as he is not subject to...

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Bertrand Russell

I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive. I am not young, and I love life. But I should scorn to shiver with terror at the thought of annihilation. Happiness is nonetheless...

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Bertrand Russell

Historically, it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about Him.

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Bertrand Russell

[There has been] every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.

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Bertrand Russell

Cruel men believe in a cruel god and use their belief to excuse their cruelty. Only kindly men believe in a kindly god, and they would be kindly in any case.

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Bertrand Russell

The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists - that is why they invented hell.

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Bertrand Russell

Religion is based ... mainly upon fear ... fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in...

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Bertrand Russell

Unless you assume a God, the question of life's purpose is meaningless.

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Bertrand Russell

A priori Logical propositions are such as can be known a priori without study of the actual world.

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Bertrand Russell

I am myself a dissenter from all known religions, and I hope that every kind of religious belief will die out.

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Bertrand Russell

There is as much difference between a collection of mentally free citizens and a community molded by modern methods of propaganda as there is between a heap of raw materials and a battleship.

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Bertrand Russell

I wish to propose for the reader's favourable consideration a doctrine which may, I fear, appear wildly paradoxical and subversive. The doctrine in question is this: that it is undesirable to believe a...

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Bertrand Russell

There is no logical impossibility in the hypothesis that the world sprang into being five minutes ago, exactly as it then was, with a population that "remembered" a wholly unreal past. There is no logically...

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Bertrand Russell

A drop of water is not immortal; it can be resolved into oxygen and hydrogen. If, therefore, a drop of water were to maintain that it had a quality of aqueousness which would survive its dissolution we...

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Bertrand Russell

When there are rational grounds for an opinion, people are content to set them forth and wait for them to operate. In such cases, people do not hold their opinions with passion; they hold them calmly,...

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Bertrand Russell

Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion go hand in hand.

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Bertrand Russell

Every living thing is a sort of imperialist, seeking to transform as much as possible of its environment into itself.

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Bertrand Russell

An atheist, like a Christian, holds that we can know whether or not there is a God. The Christian holds that we can know there is a God; the atheist, that we can know there is not. The Agnostic suspends...

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Bertrand Russell

Gradually, ... the aspect of science as knowledge is being thrust into the background by the aspect of science as the power of manipulating nature. It is because science gives us the power of manipulating...

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Bertrand Russell

If throughout your life you abstain from murder, theft, fornication, perjury, blasphemy, and disrespect toward your parents, church, and your king, you are conventionally held to deserve moral admiration...

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Bertrand Russell

Patience and boredom are closely related. Boredom, a certain kind of boredom, is really impatience. You don't like the way things are, they aren't interesting enough for you, so you deccide- and boredom...

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Bertrand Russell

a generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of little men, of men unduly divorced from the slow process of nature, of men in whom every vital impulse slowly withers as though they were...

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Bertrand Russell

There are certain things that our age needs, and certain things that it should avoid. It needs compassion and a wish that mankind should be happy; it needs the desire for knowledge and the determination...

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Bertrand Russell

The qualities most needed are charity and tolerance, not some form of fanatical faith such as is offered to us by the various rampant isms

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Bertrand Russell

What has human happiness to do with morals? The object of morals is not to make people happy.

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Bertrand Russell

You are a wicked motorcar, and I shall not give you any more petrol until you go.

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Bertrand Russell

Love is wise – Hatred is foolish.

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Bertrand Russell

If you had the power to destroy the world, would you do so?

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Bertrand Russell

Truth is a shining goddess, always veiled, always distant, never wholly approachable, but worthy of all the devotion of which the human spirit is capable.

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Bertrand Russell

Great God in Boots! – the ontological argument is sound!

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Bertrand Russell

There are three ways of securing a society that shall be stable as regards population. The first is that of birth control, the second that of infanticide or really destructive wars, and the third that...

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Bertrand Russell

If I were granted omnipotence, and millions of years to experiment in, I should not think Man much to boast of as the final result of all my efforts.

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Bertrand Russell

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.

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Bertrand Russell

Unrestricted nationalism is, in the long run, incompatible with world peace.

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Bertrand Russell

It's coexistence or no existence.

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“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

― Dr. Seuss