Bertrand Russell Quotes (333 Quotes)

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy I mean that if you are happy you will be good.

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

    Some kind of philosophy is a necessity to all but the most thoughtless, and in the absence of knowledge it is almost sure to be a silly philosophy.

    I cannot be content with a brief moment of riotous living followed by destitution, and however clever the scientists may be, there are some things that they cannot be expected to achieve

    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.

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

    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.... This brings us to a second characteristic of philosophical propositions, namely that they must be a priori. A philosophical proposition must be such as can neither be proved nor disproved by empirical evidence.... Philosophy, if what has been said is correct, becomes indistinguishable from logic as that word has now come to be used.

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

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

    To be worthy of the name, he must be free of two things the force of tradition and tyranny of his own passions.

    Young men and young women meet each other with much less difficulty than was formerly the case, and every housemaid expects at least once a week as much excitement as would have lasted a Jane Austen heroine throughout a whole novel

    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.

    Three passions have governed my life The longings for love, the search for knowledge, And unbearable pity for the suffering of humankind. Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness. In the union of love I have seen In a mystic miniature the prefiguring v

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

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

    Philosophers, for the most part, are constitutionally timid, and dislike the unexpected. Few of them would be genuinely happy as pirates or burglars. Accordingly, they invent systems which make the future calculable, at least in its main outlines.

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

    The increase of organization has brought into existence new positions of power. Every body has to have executive officials, in whom, at any moment, its power is concentrated. It is true that officials are usually subject to control, but the control m

    If you question any candid person who is no longer young, he is very likely to tell you that, having tasted life in this world, he has no wish to begin again as a new boy' in another.

    The professors must not prevent us from realizing that history is fun, and that the most bizarre things really happen

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

    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.

    Although this may seem a paradox, all exact science is dominated by the idea of approximation. When a man tells you that he knows the exact truth about anything, you are safe in inferring that he is an inexact man.

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

    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.

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

    I do not pretend that birth control is the only way in which population can be kept from increasing. There are others, which, one must suppose, opponents of birth control would prefer.

    What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires -- desires of which he himself is often unconscious. 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 which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.

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

    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 in its existence

    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.

    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 with the whole subject.

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

    Civilized people cannot fully satisfy their sexual instinct without love

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

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

    The difference between mind and brain is not a difference of quality, but a difference of arrangement. It is like the difference between arranging people in geographical order or in alphabetical order, both of which are done in the post office direct

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

    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.

    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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