Famous Quotes & Sayings

Bertrand Russell Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Bertrand Russell.

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Bertrand Russell Quotes 932256

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. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 2115001

The battle must be fought exactly as the battle of religious toleration was fought. And as in that case, so in this, a decay in the intensity of belief is likely to prove the decisive factor. While men were convinced of the absolute truth of Catholicism or Protestantism, as the case may be, they were willing to persecute on account of them. While men are quite certain of their modern creeds, they will persecute on their behalf. Some element of doubt is essential to the practice, thought not to the theory, of toleration. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 324638

Love is a little haven of refuge from the world. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1948502

Man is essentially a dreamer, wakened sometimes for a moment by some peculiarly obtrusive element in the outer world, but lapsing again quickly into the happy somnolence of imagination. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1455132

In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1636513

Even if (as I myself believe) almost all Hegel's doctrines are false, he still retains an importance which is not merely historical, as the best representative of a certain kind of philosophy which, in others, is less coherent and less comprehensive. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 923495

When we look at a rock what we are seeing is not the rock, but the effect of the rock upon us. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1952251

To create a good philosophy you should renounce metaphysics but be a good mathematician. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 764550

Ever since puberty I have believed in the value of two things: kindness and clear thinking. At first these two remained more or less distinct; when I felt triumphant I believed most in clear thinking, and in the opposite mood I believed most in kindness. Gradually, the two have come more and more together in my feelings. I find that much unclear thought exists as an excuse for cruelty, and that much cruelty is prompted by superstitious beliefs. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1397262

I know a parson who frightened his congregation terribly by telling them the second coming was very imminent indeed, but they were much consoled when they found he was planting trees in his garden. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 531889

Good and bad, and even the higher good that mysticism finds everywhere, are the reflections of our own emotions on other things, not part of the substance of things as they are in themselves. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 957491

Who ever heard a theologian preface his creed, or a politician conclude his speech with an estimate of the probable error of his opinion? — Bertrand Russell

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I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: "The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that's fair." In these words he epitomized the history of the human race. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1156119

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. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1944377

For my part, I prefer the ontological argument, the cosmological argument and the rest of the old stock-in-trade, to the sentimental illogicality that has sprung from Rousseau. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 722908

No Carthaginian denied Moloch, because to do so would have required more courage that was required to face death in battle. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 445444

I believe four ingredients are necessary for happiness: health, warm personal relations, sufficient means to keep you from want, and successful work. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 853088

Never try to discourage thinking, for you are sure to succeed. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 784881

seems that men are at their best between sixty and seventy, the reason being that in such occupations a wide experience of other men is essential. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1251337

Logic must no more admit a unicorn than zoology can. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 2227771

Politics is largely governed by sententious platitudes which are devoid of truth — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 381678

No satisfaction based upon self-deception is solid. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 2255250

One of the most painful circumstances of recent advances in science is that each one makes us know less than we thought we did — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 2259057

I remain convinced that obstinate addiction to ordinary language in our private thoughts is one of the main obstacles to progress in philosophy. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1078448

The objection to propaganda is not only its appeal to unreason, but still more the unfair advantage which it gives to the rich and powerful. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1435520

In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1839090

It is interesting to observe what the Cynic teaching became when it was popularized. In the early part of the third century B.C., the cynics were the fashion, especially in Alexandria. They published little sermons pointing out how easy it is to do without material possessions, — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 74748

Whatever can be thought of is an idea in the mind of the person thinking of it; therefore nothing can be thought of except ideas in minds; therefore anything else is inconceivable, and what is inconceivable cannot exist. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 123136

It is evident that a man with a scientific outlook on life cannot let himself be intimidated by texts of Scripture or by the teaching of the Church. He will not be content to say "such-and-such an act is sinful, and that ends the matter." He will inquire whether it does any harm or whether, on the contrary, the belief that it is sinful does harm. And he will find that, especially in what concerns sex, our current morality contains a very great deal of which the origin is purely superstitious. He will find also that this superstition, like that of the Aztecs, involves needless cruelty, and would be swept away if people were actuated by kindly feelings towards their neighbors. But the defenders of traditional morality are seldom people with warm hearts ... One is tempted to think that they value morals as affording a legitimate outlet for their desire to inflict pain; the sinner is fair game, and therefore away with tolerance! — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 175353

Plato possessed the art to dress up illiberal suggestions in such a way that they deceived future ages, which admired the Republic without ever becoming aware of what was involved in its proposals. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 203717

Noone has yet succeeded in inventing a philosophy at once credible and self-consistent. Locke aimed at credibility, and achieved it at the expense of consistency. Most of the great philosophers have done the opposite. A philosophy which is not self-consistent cannot be wholly true, but a philosophy which is self-consistent can very well be wholly false. The most fruitful philosophies have contained glaring inconsistencies, but for that very reason have been partially true. There is no reason to suppose that a self-consistent system contains more truth than one which, like Locke's, is more or less wrong. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 216794

Truth is for the gods; from our human point of view, it is an ideal, towards which we can approximate, but which we cannot hope to reach. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 221578

To avoid the various foolish opinions to which mankind are prone, no superhuman genius is required. A few simple rules will keep you, not from all error, but from silly error. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 249828

Too little liberty brings stagnation, and too much brings chaos. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 333464

No rules, however wise, are a substitute for affection and tact. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 338843

I believe that the abolition of private ownership of land and capital is a necessary step toward any world in which the nations are to live at peace with one another. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 362981

Whenever one finds oneself inclined to bitterness, it is a sign of emotional failure. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 426210

Berkeley retains the merit of having shown that the existence of matter is capable of being denied without absurdity. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 493042

The man who pursues happiness wisely will aim at the possession of a number of subsidiary interests in addition to those central ones upon which his life is built. — Bertrand Russell

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Unfortunately, however, power is sweet, and the man who in the beginning seeks power merely in order to have scope for his benevolence is likely, before long, to love the power for its own sake. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 524139

There will still be things that machines cannot do. They will not produce great art or great literature or great philosophy; they will not be able to discover the secret springs of happiness in the human heart; they will know nothing of love and friendship. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 589918

What we cannot think we cannot think, therefore we also cannot say what we cannot think. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 603158

When the qualities that now confer leadership have become universal, there will no longer be leaders and followers, and democracy will have been realized at last. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 642416

Common sense, however it tries,
cannot avoid being surprised from time to time. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 749298

Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 772321

Whoever wishes to become a philosopher must learn not to be frightened by absurdities. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 894548

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

Bertrand Russell Quotes 910803

At the age of eleven, I began Euclid, with my brother as my tutor ... I had not imagined that there was anything so delicious in the world. After I had learned the fifth proposition, my brother told me that it was generally considered difficult, but I had found no difficulty whatsoever. This was the first time it had dawned on me that I might have some intelligence. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 965148

to a great extent, the uncertainty of philosophy is more apparent than real: those questions which are already capable of definite answers are placed in the sciences, while those only to which, at present, no definite answer can be given, remain to form the residue which is called philosophy. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 975591

We think too much of production, and too little of consumption. One result is that we attach too little importance to enjoyment and simple happiness, and that we do not judge production by the pleasure that it gives to the consumer. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 980965

The experience of overcoming fear is extraordinarily delightful. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 985186

When a man tells you he knows the exact truth about anything, you are safe in inferring he is an inexact man. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 996890

In the visible world, the Milky Way is a tiny fragment; within this fragment, the solar system is an infinitesimal speck, and of this speck our planet is a microscopic dot. On this dot, tiny lumps of impure carbon and water, of complicated structure, with somewhat unusual physical and chemical properties, crawl about for a few years, until they are dissolved again into the elements of which they are compounded. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1057432

My own view on religion is ... It helped in early days to fix the calendar, and ... to chronicle eclipses ... These two services I am prepared to acknowledge. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1076291

Nature and books and (later) mathematics saved me from complete despondency. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1077361

The saviors of the world, society's last hope. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1096201

Aristotle, in spite of his reputation, is full of absurdities. He says that children should be conceived in the Winter, when the wind is in the North, and that if people marry too young the children will be female. He tells us that the blood of females is blacker then that of males; that the pig is the only animal liable to measles; that an elephant suffering from insomnia should have its shoulders rubbed with salt, olive-oil, and warm water; that women have fewer teeth than men, and so on. Nevertheless, he is considered by the great majority of philosophers a paragon of wisdom. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1113636

At every moment of life the civilised man is hedged about by restrictions of impulse: if he happens to feel cheerful he must not sing or dance in the street, while if he happens to feel sad he must not sit on the pavement and weep, for fear of obstructing pedestrian traffic. In youth his liberty is restricted at school, in adult life it is restricted throughout his working hours. All this makes zest more difficult to retain, for the co ntinual restraint tends to produce wearin ess and boredom. Nevertheless, a civilised society is impossible without a very considerable degree of restraint upon spontaneous
impulse, since spontaneous impulse will only produce the simplest forms of social c ooperation, not those highly complex forms which modern economic organisation demands — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1129225

Men who allow their love of power to give them a distorted view of the world are to be found in every asylum: one man will think he is the Governor of the Bank of England, another will think he is the King, and yet another will think he is God. Highly similar delusions, if expressed by educated men in obscure language, lead to professorships of philosophy; and if expressed by emotional men in eloquent language, lead to dictatorships. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1145134

I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive. I am not young and I love life. But I should scorn to shiver with terror at the thought of annihilation. Happiness is nonetheless true happiness because it must come to an end, nor do thought and love lose their value because they are not everlasting. Many a man has borne himself proudly on the scaffold; surely the same pride should teach us to think truly about man's place in the world. Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cosy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigour, and the great spaces have a splendour of their own. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1222031

My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race. I cannot, however, deny that it has made some contributions to civilisation. It helped in early days to fix the calendar, and it caused Egyptian priests to chronicle eclipses with such care that in time they became able to predict them. These two services I am prepared to acknowledge, but I do not know of any others. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1245781

The search for something permanent is one of the deepest of the instincts leading men to philosophy. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1251151

A man cannot possibly be at peace with others until he has learned to be at peace with himself. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1251745

I do not believe that science per se is an adequate source of happiness, nor do I think that my own scientific outlook has contributed very greatly to my own happiness, which I attribute to defecating twice a day with unfailing regularity. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1301065

Thomas Aquinas states parenthetically, as something entirely obvious, that men are more rational than women. For my part, I see no evidence of this. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1304164

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. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1309146

How much good it would do if one could exterminate the human race. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1331589

Perhaps the best hope for the future of mankind is that ways will be found of increasing the scope and intensity of sympathy. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1338976

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

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1340161

Bacon not only despised the syllogism, but undervalued mathematics, presumably as insufficiently experimental. He was virulently hostile to Aristotle , but he thought very highly of Democritus , Although he did not deny that the course of nature exemplifies a Divine purpose, he objected to any admixture of teleological explanation in the actual investigation of phenomena; everything, he held, should be explained as following necessarily from efficient causes . — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1354855

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

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1415762

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

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1418191

Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who'll get the blame. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1427888

In the part of this universe that we know there is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which of those is the more annoying. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1454334

It seems that sin is geographical. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1483192

Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1507501

When the state intervenes to insure the indoctrination of some doctrine, it does so because there is no conclusive evidence in favor of that doctrine. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1511475

The frequency with which a man experiences lust depends upon his own physical condition, whereas the occasion which rouse such feelings in him depend upon the social conventions to which he is accustomed — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1529728

Nine-tenths of the activities of a modern Government are harmful; therefore the worse they are performed, the better. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1543947

The use of self control is like the use of brakes on train. It is useful when you find yourself in wrong direction but merely harmful when the direction is right — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1588865

It is not growing fanaticism, but growing democracy, that causes my troubles. Did you ever read the life of Averroes? He was protected by kings, but hated by the mob, which was fanatical. In the end, the mob won. Free thought has always been a perquisite of aristocracy. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1596631

There are still many people in America who regard depressions as acts of God. I think Keynes proved that the responsibility for these occurrences does not rest with Providence. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1634250

Do you think that, if you were granted omnipotence and omniscience and millions of years in which to perfect your world, you could produce nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan or the Fascists? — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1679240

What Galileo and Newton were to the seventeenth century, Darwin was to the nineteenth. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1723343

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

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1752472

When a man acts in ways that annoy us we wish to think him wicked, and we refuse to face the fact that his annoying behavior is the result of antecedent causes which, if you follow them long enough, will take you beyond the moment of his birth, and therefore to events for which he cannot be held responsible by any stretch of imagination ... When a motorcar fails to start, we do not attribute its annoying behavior to sin, we do not say, you are a wicked motorcar, and you shall not have any more gasoline until you go. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1757620

Since Adam and Eve ate the apple, man has never refrained from any folly of which he was capable. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1777823

A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1801933

Clarity, above all, has been my aim. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1868737

Newly powerful nations, with the exception of Spain, showed themselves as capable of great achievement as the Italians had been. From the sixteenth century onward, the history of European thought is dominated by the Reformation. The Reformation was a complex many-sided movement, and owed its success to a variety of causes. In the main, it was a revolt — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1963602

Without civic morality communities perish; without personal morality their survival has no value. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 1996995

Mystery is delightful, but unscientific, since it depends upon ignorance. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 2029247

Herd pressure is to be judged by two things: first, its intensity, and second, its direction. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 2049600

What is new in our time is the increased power of the authorities to enforce their prejudices. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 2080554

More and more people are becoming unable to accept traditional [religious] beliefs. If they think that, apart from these beliefs, there is no reason for kindly behaviour, the results may be needlessly unfortunate. That is why it is important to show that no supernatural reasons are needed to make [people] kind and to prove that only through kindness can the human race achieve happiness. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 2096345

War can only be abolished by the establishment of a world government. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 2108866

When all experts agree, you need to watch out. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 2202022

What the world needs is not dogma but an attitude of scientific inquiry combined with a belief that the torture of millions is not desirable, whether inflicted by Stalin or by a Deity imagined in the likeness of the believer — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 2223228

Hegel asserts that the real is rational, and the rational is real. But when he says this he does not mean by 'the real' what an empiricist would mean. He admits, and even urges, that what to the empiricist appear to be facts are, and must be, irrational; it is only after their apparent character has been transformed by viewing them as aspects of the whole that they are seen to be rational. Nevertheless, the identification of the real and the rational leads unavoidably to some of the complacency inseparable from the belief that 'whatever is, is right'. — Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Quotes 2257694

What most distinguishes Confucius from other founders is that he inculcated a strict code of ethics, which has been respected ever since, but associated with very little religious dogma, which gave place to complete theological scepticism in the countless generations of Chinese literati who revered his memory and administered the Empire. — Bertrand Russell