Bertrand Russell Quotes
Most popular Bertrand Russell Quotes
The fundamental defect of fathers, in our competitive society, is that they want their children to be a credit to them.
Fear is the main source of superstition and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom, in the pursuit of truth as in the endeavor after a worthy manner of life.
Drunkenness is temporary suicide.
Extreme hopes are born of extreme misery.
To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
Anything you're good at contributes to happiness.
Most people would sooner die than think, and often do.
Folly is perennial and yet the human race has survived.
Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken.
Worry is a form of fear, and all forms of fear produce fatigue.
What hunger is in relation to food, zest is in relation to life.
Too little liberty breeds stagnation, and too much brings chaos.
Freedom of opinion can only exist when the government thinks itself secure.
Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.
Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact.
Obscenity is whatever happens to shock some elderly and ignorant magistrate.
Few people can be happy unless they hate some other person, nation, or creed.
To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.
Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty.
To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.
I have a very simple creed: that life and joy and beauty are better than dusty death.
The essence of good manners consists in making it clear that one has no wish to hurt.
Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.
Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.
What Galileo and Newton were to the seventeenth century, Darwin was to the nineteenth.
Human life, its growth, its hopes, fears, loves, et cetera, are the result of accidents.
So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.
To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance to the citizens of a democracy.
Freedom in general may be defined as the absence of obstacles to the realization of desires.
My sad conviction is that people can only agree about what they're not really interested in.
The average man's opinions are much less foolish than they would be if he thought for himself.
It is only intellect that keeps me sane; perhaps this makes me overvalue intellect against feeling.
To understand the actual world as it is, not as we should wish it to be, is the beginning of wisdom.
The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that, but hope and enterprise and change.
It is only in marriage with the world that our ideals can bear fruit: divorced from it, they remain barren.
One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.
Mathematics possesses not only truth but supreme beauty—a beauty cold and austere, like that of a sculpture.
It is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.
Love as a relation between men and women was ruined by the desire to make sure of the legitimacy of children.
I can only say that, while my own opinions as to ethics do not satisfy me, other people's satisfy me still less.
True happiness for human beings is possible only to those who develop their godlike potentialities to the utmost.
Why is propaganda so much more successful when it stirs up hatred than when it tries to stir up friendly feeling?
Religion, which may in most of its forms be defined as the belief that the gods are on the side of the Government.
Rules of conduct, whatever they may be, are not sufficient to produce good results unless the ends sought are good.
A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy can live.
The degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts: the less you know the hotter you get.
I am compelled to fear that science will be used to promote the power of dominant groups rather than to make men happy.
Heretical views arise when the truth is uncertain, and it is only when the truth is uncertain that censorship is invoked.
Boredom is therefore a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.
If rational men cooperated and used their scientific knowledge to the full, they could now secure the economic welfare of all.
The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.
Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day.
Every living thing is a sort of imperialist, seeking to transform as much as possible of its environment into itself and its seed.
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.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.
The distinctive Western character begins with the Greeks, who invented the habit of deductive reasoning and the science of geometry.
There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths.
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.
To preserve hope in our world makes calls upon our intelligence and our energy. In those who despair it is frequently the energy that is lacking.
I believe four ingredients are necessary for happiness: health, warm personal relations, sufficient means to keep you from want, and successful work.
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.
In all affairs—love, religion, politics, or business—it's a healthy idea, now and then, to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.
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.
The mind is a strange machine which can combine the materials offered to it in the most astonishing ways, but without materials from the external world it is powerless.
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.
He thought of civilized...human life as a dangerous walk on a thin crust of barely cooled lava which at any moment might break and let the unwary sink into fiery depths.
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.
The widespread interest in gossip is inspired, not by a love of knowledge but by malice: no one gossips about other people's secret virtues, but only about their secret vices.
The life of man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible forces, tortured by weariness and pain, towards a goal that few can hope to reach, and where none may tarry long.
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.
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.
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 vigour, and the great spaces have a splendour of their own.
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 great men of history.
As soon as we abandon our own reason, and are content to rely on authority, there is no end to our trouble. Whose authority? The Old Testament? The Koran? In practice people choose the parts they like, ignoring the others.
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.
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, for, from the time of Jefferson onward, the doctrine that all men are equal applies only upwards, not downwards.
No man treats a motor car as foolishly as he treats another human being. When the car will not go, he does not attribute its annoying behaviour to sin, he does not say, 'You are a wicked motor car, and I shall not give you any more petrol until you go.' He attempts to find out what is wrong and set it right.
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 gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show.
Although tact is a virtue, it is very closely allied to certain vices; the line between tact and hypocrisy is a very narrow one. I think the distinction comes in the motive: when it is kindliness that makes us wish to please, our tact is the right sort; when it is fear of offending, or desire to obtain some advantage by flattery, our tact is apt to be of a less amiable kind.