Bertrand Russell Quotes

Enjoy the top 1331 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Bertrand Russell.

Bertrand Russell Quotes

The antidote, in so far as it is a matter of individual psychology, is to be found in history, biology, astronomy, and all those studies which, without destroying self-respect, enable the individual to see himself in his proper perspective. What is needed is not this or that specific piece of information, but such knowledge as inspires a conception of the ends of human life as a whole: art and history, acquaintance with the lives of heroic individuals, and some understanding of the strangely accidental and ephemeral position of man in the cosmos - all this touched with an emotion of pride in what is distinctively human, the power to see and to know, to feel magnanimously and to think with understanding. It is from large perceptions combined with impersonal emotion that wisdom most readily springs.
— 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.
The third is: don't expect others to take as much interest in you as you do yourself.
And the fourth is: don't imagine that most people give enough thought to you to have any special desire to persecute you.

— Bertrand Russell

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

— Bertrand Russell

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

— 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 proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true.

— Bertrand Russell

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

— Bertrand Russell

It is the part of courage, when misfortune comes, to bear without repining the ruin of our hopes, to turn away our thoughts from vain regrets. This degree of submission to Power is not only just and right: it is the very gate of wisdom.

— Bertrand Russell

The antidote, in so far as it is a matter of individual psychology, is to be found in history, biology, astronomy, and all those studies which, without destroying self-respect, enable the individual to see himself in his proper perspective. What is needed is not this or that specific piece of information, but such knowledge as inspires a conception of the ends of human life as a whole: art and history, acquaintance with the lives of heroic individuals, and some understanding of the strangely accidental and ephemeral position of man in the cosmos - all this touched with an emotion of pride in what is distinctively human, the power to see and to know, to feel magnanimously and to think with understanding. It is from large perceptions combined with impersonal emotion that wisdom most readily springs.

— Bertrand Russell

Clarity, above all, has been my aim.

— Bertrand Russell

The beginnings of Algebra I found far more difficult, perhaps as a result of bad teaching, I was made to learn by heart: 'The square of the sum of two numbers is equal to the sum of their squares increased by twice their product.' I had not the vaguest idea what this meant, and when I could not remember the words, my tutor threw the book at my head, which did not stimulate my intellect in any way.

— Bertrand Russell

There is no department of practical politics
where idealistic theories are strong enough to
cause great changes; when great changes occur, the
theories which justify them are always a
camouflage for passion. And the passion that has
given driving force to democratic theories is
undoubtedly the passion of envy.

— Bertrand Russell

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

— Bertrand Russell

Since all terms that are defined are defined by means of other terms, it is clear that human knowledge must always be content to accept some terms as intelligible without definition, in order to have a starting point for its definitions ... [and] since human powers are finite, the definitions known to us must always begin somewhere, with terms undefined for the moment, though perhaps not permanently. - Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy

— Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes: When a child reaches adolescence there
When a child reaches adolescence, there is very apt to be a conflict between parents and child, since the latter considers himself to be by now quite capable of managing his own affairs, while the former are filled with parental solicitude, which is often a disguise for love of power. Parents consider, usually, that the various moral problems which arise in adolescence are peculiarly their province. The opinions they express, however, are so dogmatic that the young seldom confide in them, and usually go their own way in secret.

— Bertrand Russell

The citizens of Athens, like those of other cities in other ages and continents, showed a certain hostility to those who attempted to introduce a higher level of culture than that to which they were accustomed.

— Bertrand Russell

[F]or all refutation must begin with some piece of knowledge which the disputants share; from blank doubt, no argument can begin.

— Bertrand Russell

What really moves people to believe in God is not any intellectual argument at all. Most people believe in God because they have been taught from early infancy to do it, and that is the main reason.
Then I think that the next most powerful reason is the wish for safety, a sort of feeling that there is a big brother who will look after you. That plays a very profound part in influencing people's desire for a belief in God.

— Bertrand Russell

The effects of this change were momentous. Truth was no longer to be ascertained by consulting authority, but by inward meditation. There was a tendency, quickly developed, towards anarchism in politics, and, in religion, towards mysticism, which had always fitted with difficulty into the framework of Catholic orthodoxy. There came to be not one Protestantism, but a multitude of sects; not one philosophy opposed to scholasticism, but as many as there

— Bertrand Russell

But in the 'nineties young men desired something more sweeping and passionate, more bold and less bland.

— 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.

— 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.

— 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.

— Bertrand Russell

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

— Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes: Religions which condemn the pleasures of
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.

— Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes: Indignation is a submission of our
Indignation is a submission of our thoughts, but not of our desires.

— 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.

— 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.

— 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 to attack by both sides; this No Man's Land is philosophy.

— Bertrand Russell

A man of Seville is shaved by the Barber of Seville if and only if the man does not shave himself. Does the barber shave himself?

— 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 it.

— 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.

— 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 governing facts of the kind in question. The two stages, first of observation, and second of inference to a law, are both essential, and each is susceptible of almost indefinite refinement. (1931)

— Bertrand Russell

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

— Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes: Ever since men became capable of free
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. This is true in the present day as at any former time. To understand an age or a nation, we must understand its philosophy, and to understand its philosophy we must ourselves be in some degree philosophers. There is here a reciprocal causation: the circumstances of men s lives do much to determine their philosophy, but, conversely, their philosophy does much to determine their circumstances.

— Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes: A smile happens in a flash but its
A smile happens in a flash, but its memory can last a lifetime.

— 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 whatever of value the known universe contains. And he will see that the man whose mind mirrors the world becomes in a sense as great as the world. In emancipation from the fears that beset the slave of circumstance he will experience a profound joy, and through all the vicissitudes of his outward life he will remain in the depths of his being a happy man.

— Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes: Whether science and indeed civilization
Whether science-and indeed civilization in general-can long survive depends upon psychology, that is to say, it depends upon what human beings desire.

— Bertrand Russell

I think modern educational theorists are inclined to attach too much importance to the negative virtue of not interfering with children, and too little to the positive merit of enjoying their company.

— Bertrand Russell

It must not be supposed that the subjective elements are any less 'real' than the objective elements; they are only less important ... because they do not point to anything beyond ourselves ...

— Bertrand Russell

One of the main causes of trouble in the world is dogmatic and fanatical belief in some doctrine for which there is no adequate evidence

— Bertrand Russell

It will be found, as men grow more tolerant in their instincts,
that many uniformities now insisted upon are useless and even harmful.

— Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes: Any philosophy worth taking seriously
Any philosophy worth taking seriously would have to be built upon a firm foundation of unyielding despair.

— Bertrand Russell

Adventurous men enjoy shipwrecks, mutinies, earthquakes, conflagrations, and all kinds of unpleasant experiences. They say to themselves, for example, 'So this is what an earthquake is like,' and it gives them pleasure to have their knowledge of the world increased by this new item.

— Bertrand Russell

It is only theory that makes men completely incautious.

— Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes: The world that we must seek is a world
The world that we must seek is a world in which the creative spirit is alive, in which life is an adventure full of joy and hope, based rather upon the impulse to construct than upon the desire to retain what we possess or to seize what is possessed by others.

— Bertrand Russell

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.

— Bertrand Russell

I am aware that many divines are far more marvelous than I am, and that I cannot wholly appreciate merits so far transcending my own. Nevertheless, even after making allowances under this head, I cannot but think that Omnipotence operating through all eternity might have produced something better.

— Bertrand Russell

Insight, untested and unsupported, is an uncertain guarantee of the truth.

— Bertrand Russell

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