Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, essayist, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate. Profoundly inspirational Bertrand Russell quotes will make you look at life differently and help you live a meaningful life.
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Famous Bertrand Russell Quotes
The fundamental defect of fathers is that they want their children to be a credit to them.
To save the world requires faith and courage: faith in reason, and courage to proclaim what reason shows to be true.
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.
War doesn’t decide who is right, war decides who is left.
Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes.
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? We appeal as human beings to human beings: Remember your humanity, and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death.
Reason is a harmonising, controlling force rather than a creative one. Even in the most purely logical realms, it is insight that first arrives at what is new.
To teach how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can still do for those who study it.
Knowledge, like other good things, is difficult, but not impossible; the dogmatist forgets the difficulty, the skeptic denies the possibility.
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 their own.
Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
Religions, which condemn the pleasures of sense, drive men to seek the pleasures of power.
It’s easy to fall in love. The hard part is finding someone to catch you.
Inspirational Bertrand Russell Quotes
No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.
Now and then, hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.
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.
The only thing that will redeem mankind is co-operation.
Acquisitiveness — the wish to possess as much as possible of goods, or the title to goods — is a motive which, I suppose, has its origin in a combination of fear with the desire for necessaries.
Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination.
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 sphere it is thought admirable, and I cannot admire cowardice whatever sphere it is in.
Vanity is a motive of immense potency. Anyone who has much to do with children knows how they are constantly performing some antic, and saying Look at me. Look at me is one of the most fundamental desires of the human heart. It can take innumerable forms, from buffoonery to the pursuit of posthumous fame.
Machines are worshiped because they are beautiful and valued because they confer power; they are hated because they are hideous and loathed because they impose slavery.
Whoever wishes to become a philosopher must learn not to be frightened by absurdities.
Patriots always talk of dying for their country, and never of killing for their country.
One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.
The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holder’s lack of rational conviction. Opinions in politics and religion are almost always held passionately.
Joy of life… depends upon a certain spontaneity in regard to sex. Where sex is repressed, only work remains, and a gospel of work for work’s sake never produced any work worth doing.
A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says is never accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something that he can understand.
The most essential characteristic of scientific technique is that it proceeds from experiment, not from tradition. The experimental habit of mind is a difficult one for most people to maintain; indeed, the science of one generation has already become the tradition of the next.
In America everybody is of opinion that he has no social superiors, since all men are equal, but he does not admit that he has no social inferiors.
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.
Amazing Bertrand Russell Quotes
A truer image of the world, I think, is obtained by picturing things as entering into the stream of time from an eternal world outside, than from a view which regards time as the devouring tyrant of all that is.
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, either by what you wish to believe, or what you think could have beneficent social effects if it were believed; but look only and surely at what are the facts.
We love those who hate our enemies, and if we had no enemies there would be very few people whom we should love.
Neither acquiescence in skepticism nor acquiescence in dogma is what education should produce.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
It is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.
Dogmatism is the greatest of mental obstacles to human happiness.
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 necessary connection between events at different times; therefore nothing that is happening now or will happen in the future can disprove the hypothesis that the world began five minutes ago.
What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.
To endure uncertainty is difficult, but so are most of the other virtues.
Uncertainty, in the presence of vivid hopes and fears, is painful, but must be endured if we wish to live without the support of comforting fairy tales.
The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.
Beware the man of a single book.
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.
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.
To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.
A religious creed differs from a scientific theory in claiming to embody eternal and absolutely certain truth, whereas science is always tentative, expecting that modification in its present theories will sooner or later be found necessary, and aware that its method is one which is logically incapable of arriving at a complete and final demonstration.
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 be foolish than sensible.
Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
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 decide- and boredom is a decision-that you are bored.
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.
When men assimilate themselves to machines and value only the consequences of their work, not the work itself, style disappears, to be replaced by something which to the mechanised man appears more natural, though in fact is only more brutal.
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.
Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.
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.
The total amount of undesired sex endured by women is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution.
Good nature is, of all moral qualities, the one that the world needs most, and good nature is the result of ease and security, not of a life of arduous struggle.