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Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970)


British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic.
Bertrand Russell
The typical Westerner wishes to be the cause of as many changes as possible in his environment; the typical Chinaman wishes to enjoy as much and as delicately as possible.
Russell quotes
My first advice (on how not to grow old) would be to choose you ancestors carefully. Although both my parents died young, I have done well in this respect as regards my other ancestors. My maternal grandfather, it is true, was cut off in the flower of his youth, at the age of sixty-seven, but my other three grandparents all lived to be over eighty. Of remoter ancestors I can only discover one who did not live to a great age, and he died of a disease which is now rare, namely, having his head cut off.
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. It is to be feared, however, that if the word is avoided the confusions of thought with which it has been associated may persist.




Russell Bertrand quotes
Children are made to learn bits of Shakespeare by heart, with the result that ever after they associate him with pedantic boredom. If they could meet him in the flesh, full of jollity and ale, they would be astonished, and if they had never heard of him before they might be led by his jollity to see what he had written. But if at school they had been inoculated against him, they will never be able to enjoy him. The same sort of thing applies to music lessons. Human beings have certain capacities for spontaneous enjoyment, but moralists and pedants possess themselves of the apparatus of these enjoyments, and having extracted what they consider the poison of pleasure they leave them dreary and dismal and devoid of everything that gives them value. Shakespeare did not write with a view to boring school-children; he wrote with a view to delighting his audiences. If he does not give you delight, you had better ignore him.
Russell Bertrand
To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance to the citizens of a democracy.
Bertrand Russell quotes
All traditional logic habitually assumes that precise symbols are being employed. It is therefore not applicable to this terrestial life but only to an imagined celestial existence... logic takes us nearer to heaven than other studies.
Bertrand Russell
I shall keep [the manuscript] by me until the end of May for purposes of revision, and of adding malicious foot-notes.
Russell Bertrand quotes
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.
Russell
Political ideals must be based upon ideals for the individual life. The aim of politics should be to make the lives of individuals as good as possible.
Russell Bertrand
It is a sad evidence of the weariness mankind has suffered from excessive toil that his heavens have usually been places where nothing ever happened or changed. Fatigue produces the illusion that only rest is needed for happiness; but when men have rested for a time, boredom drives them to renewed activity.
Bertrand Russell
A dog cannot relate his autobiography; however eloquently he may bark, he cannot tell you that his parents were honest but poor.




Bertrand Russell quotes
The mere possession of power tends to produce a love of power, which is a very dangerous motive, because the only sure proof of power consists in preventing others from doing what they wish to do. The essential theory of democracy is the diffusion of power among the whole people, so that the evils produced by one man's possession of great power shall be obviated. But the diffusion of power through democracy is only effective when the voters take an interest in the question involved. When the question does not interest them, they do not attempt to control the administration, and all actual power passes into the hands of officials.
Bertrand Russell
In spite of Death, the mark and seal of the parental control, Man is yet free, during his brief years, to examine, to criticise, to know, and in imagination to create. To him alone, in the world with which he is acquainted, this freedom belongs; and in this lies his superiority to the resistless forces that control his outward life.
Russell quotes
Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.
Russell Bertrand
Suppose atomic bombs had reduced the population of the world to one brother and one sister, should they let the human race die out? I do not know the answer, but I do not think it can be in the affirmative merely on the ground that incest is wicked.
Russell Bertrand quotes
A life devoted to science is therefore a happy life, and its happiness is derived from the very best sources that are open to dwellers on this troubled and passionate planet.
Bertrand Russell
The State is a collection of officials, different for difference purposes, drawing comfortable incomes so long as the status quo is preserved. The only alteration they are likely to desire in the status quo is an increase of bureaucracy and the power of bureaucrats.
Bertrand Russell quotes
Most of us are not neutral in feeling, but, as human beings, we have to remember that, if the issues between East and West are to be decided in any manner that can give any possible satisfaction to anybody, whether Communist or anti-Communist, whether Asian or European or American, whether White or Black, then these issues must not be decided by war. We should wish this to be understood, both in the East and in the West.
Bertrand Russell
Since Adam and Eve ate the apple, man has never refrained from any folly of which he was capable. The End.
Russell Bertrand
Obscenity is whatever happens to shock some elderly and ignorant magistrate.


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