Bertrand Russell Quotes & Wallpapers

Bertrand Russell
Total Quotes: 1343


It's easy to fall in love. The hard part is finding someone to catch you. Bertrand Russell
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I hold all knowledge that is concerned with things that actually exist - all that is commonly called Science - to be of very slight value compared to the knowledge which, like philosophy and mathematics, is concerned with ideal and eternal objects, and is freed from this miserable world which God has made. Bertrand Russell
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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
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The objections to religion are of two sorts - intellectual and moral. The intellectual objection is that there is no reason to suppose any religion true; the moral objection is that religious precepts date from a time when men were more cruel than they are and therefore tend to perpetuate inhumanities which the moral conscience of the age would otherwise outgrow. Bertrand Russell
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The road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work. Bertrand Russell
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But if thought is to become the possession of many, not the privilege of the few, we must have done with fear. It is fear that holds men back - fear lest their cherished beliefs should prove delusions, fear lest the institutions by which they live should prove harmful, fear lest they themselves should prove less worthy of respect than they have supposed themselves to be. Bertrand Russell
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The best practical advice I can give to the present generation is to practice the virtue which the Christians call love. Bertrand Russell
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The human race may well become extinct before the end of the century. Speaking as a mathematician, I should say the odds are about three to one against survival. Bertrand Russell
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It is a curious and painful fact that almost all the completely futile treatments that have been believed in during the long history of medical folly have been such as caused acute suffering to the patient. When anesthetics were discovered, pious people considered them an attempt to evade the will of God. It was pointed out, however, that when God extracted Adam's rib He put him into a deep sleep. This proved that anesthetics are all right for men; women, however, ought to suffer, because of the curse of Eve. Bertrand Russell
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We know too much and feel too little. At least, we feel too little of those creative emotions from which a good life springs. Bertrand Russell
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The scientific attitude of mind involves a sweeping away of all other desires in the interest of the desire to know. Bertrand Russell
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The fact that all Mathematics is Symbolic Logic is one of the greatest discoveries of our age; and when this fact has been established, the remainder of the principles of mathematics consists of the analysis of Symbolic Logic itself. Bertrand Russell
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Cruel men believe in a cruel god and use their belief to excuse their cruelty. Only kindly men believe in a kindly god, and they would be kindly in any case. Bertrand Russell
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The criminal law has, from the point of view of thwarted virtue, the merit of allowing an outlet for those impulses of aggression which cowardice, disguised as morality, restrains in their more spontaneous forms. War has the same merit. You must not kill you neighbor, whom perhaps you genuinely hate, but by a little propaganda this hate can be transferred to some foreign nation, against whom all your murderous impulses become patriotic heroism. Bertrand Russell
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Christ said "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" and when asked "who is thy neighbour? went on to the parable of the Good Samaritan. If you wish to understand this parable as it was understood by his hearers, you should substitute "Germans and Japanese" for Samaritan. I fear my modern day Christians would resent such a substitution, because it would compel them to realize how far they have departed from the teachings of the founder of their religion. Bertrand Russell
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Owing to the identification of religion with virtue, together with the fact that the most religious men are not the most intelligent, a religious education gives courage to the stupid to resist the authority of educated men, as has happened, for example, where the teaching of evolution has been made illegal. So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence; and in this respect ministers of religion follow gospel authority more closely than in some others. Bertrand Russell
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It is, of course, clear that a country with a large foreign population must endeavour, through its schools, to assimilate the children of immigrants. It is, however, unfortunate that a large part of this process should be effected by means of a somewhat blatant nationalism. Bertrand Russell
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We know very little, and yet it is astonishing that we know so much, and still more astonishing that so little knowledge can give us so much power. Bertrand Russell
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And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence Bertrand Russell
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There is... in our day, a powerful antidote to nonsense, which hardly existed in earlier times - I mean science. Science cannot be ignored or rejected, because it is bound up with modern technique; it is essential alike to prosperity in peace and to victory in war. That is, perhaps from an intellectual point of view, the most hopeful feature of our age, and the one which makes it most likely that we shall escape complete submersion in some new or old superstition. Bertrand Russell
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If a philosophy is to bring happiness it should be inspired by kindly feelings. Marx pretended that he wanted the happiness of the proletariat; what he really wanted was the unhappiness of the bourgeois. Bertrand Russell
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One of the commonest things to do with savings is to lend them to some Government. In view of the fact that the bulk of the public expenditure of most civilized Governments consists in payment for past wars or preparation for future wars, the man who lends his money to a Government is in the same position as the bad men in Shakespeare who hire murderers. The net result of the man's economical habits is to increase the armed forces of the State to which he lends his savings. Obviously it would be better if he spent the money, even if he spent it in drink or gambling. Bertrand Russell
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We know too much and feel too little. Bertrand Russell
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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 solely at what are the facts. Bertrand Russell
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It is only theory that makes men completely incautious. Bertrand Russell
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Religion and Science are two aspects of social life, of which the former has been important as far back as we know anything of man Bertrand Russell
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The legacy of Greece to Western philosophy is Western philosophy. Bertrand Russell
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Philosophy seems to me on the whole a rather hopeless business. Bertrand Russell
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I do not believe that I am now dreaming, but I cannot prove that I am not. Bertrand Russell
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The rules of logic are to mathematics what those of structure are to architecture. Bertrand Russell
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People are said to believe in God, or to disbelieve in Adam and Eve. But in such cases what is believed or disbelieved is that there is an entity answering a certain description. This, which can be believed or disbelieved is quite different from the actual entity (if any) which does answer the description. Thus the matter of belief is, in all cases, different in kind from the matter of sensation or presentation, and error is in no way analogous to hallucination. A hallucination is a fact, not an error; what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it. Bertrand Russell
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The thing that I should wish to obtain from money would be leisure with security. Bertrand Russell
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Laughter is the most inexpensive and most effective wonder drug. Laughter is a universal medicine. Bertrand Russell
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Those who have never known the deep intimacy and the intense companionship of happy mutual love have missed the best thing that life has to give. Bertrand Russell
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It is for this reason that rationality is of supreme importance to the well-being of the human species...even more, in those less fortunate times in which it is despised and rejected as the vain dream of men who lack the virility to kill where they cannot agree. Bertrand Russell
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Philosophy, from the earliest times, has made greater claims, and achieved fewer results, than any other branch of learning. Bertrand Russell
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Tobacco . . . is not prohibited in the Scriptures, though, as Samuel Butler points out, St. Paul would no doubt have denounced it if he had known of it. Bertrand Russell
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It is false to suggest that men must turn away from his desires in the interest of a higher duty. Men only responds to duty if he desires to do so. To understand men, you must understand their desires and the relative strength of those desires. Bertrand Russell
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Philosophy bakes no bread Bertrand Russell
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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 do for those who study it. Bertrand Russell
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There seems scarcely any limit to what could be done in the way of producing a good world, if only men would use science wisely. Bertrand Russell
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... the momentary state of science that may change tomorrow ... Bertrand Russell
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The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry. Bertrand Russell
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The Ten Commandments should be headed like an examination paper: No more than six to be attempted. Bertrand Russell
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Patriotism which has the quality of intoxication is a danger not only to its native land but to the world, and "My country never wrong" is an even more dangerous maxim than "My country, right or wrong." Bertrand Russell
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All the time that he can spare from the adornment of his person, he devotes to the neglect of his duties. Bertrand Russell
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Even in the most purely logical realms, it is insight that first arrives at what is new. Bertrand Russell
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And all this madness, all this rage, all this flaming death of our civilization and our hopes, has been brought about because a set of official gentlemen, living luxurious lives, mostly stupid, and all without imagination or heart, have chosen that it should occur rather than that any one of them should suffer some infinitesimal rebuff to his country`s pride. Bertrand Russell
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The world in which we live can be understood as a result of muddle and accident; but if it is the outcome of deliberate purpose, the purpose must have been that of a fiend. For my part, I find accident a less painful and more plausible hypothesis. Bertrand Russell
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There is no greater reason for children to honour parents than for parents to honour children except, that while the children are young, the parents are stronger than children. Bertrand Russell
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The conception of the necessary unit of all that is resolves itself into the poverty of the imagination, and a freer logic emancipates us from the straitwaistcoated benevolent institution, which idealism palms off as the totality of being. Bertrand Russell
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Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom. Bertrand Russell
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In adolescence, I hated life and was continually on the verge of suicide, from which, however, I was restrained by the desire to know more mathematics. Now, on the contrary, I enjoy life; I might almost say that with every year that passes I enjoy it more. Bertrand Russell
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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
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None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear. Bertrand Russell
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Ethics is in origin the art of recommending to others the sacrifices required for cooperation with oneself. Bertrand Russell
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A life without adventure is likely to be unsatisfying, but a life in which adventure is allowed to take whatever form it will is sure to be short. Bertrand Russell
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A hallucination is a fact, not an error; what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it. Bertrand Russell
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Contempt for happiness is usually contempt for other people's happiness, and is an elegant disguise for hatred of the human race. Bertrand Russell
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Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones. Bertrand Russell
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Those who forget good and evil and seek only to know the facts are more likely to achieve good than those who view the world through the distorting medium of their own desires. Bertrand Russell
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Liberty is the right to do what I like; license, the right to do what you like. Bertrand Russell
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I feel as if one would only discover on one's death bed what one ought to have lived for Bertrand Russell
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What will be the good of the conquest of leisure and health, if no one remembers how to use them? Bertrand Russell
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The skill of the politician consists in guessing what people can be brought to think advantageous to themselves; the skill of the expert consists in calculating what really is advantageous, provided people can be brought to think so. Bertrand Russell
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That Plato's Republic should have been admired, on its political side, by decent people, is perhaps the most astonishing example of literary snobbery in all history. Bertrand Russell
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It has become a commonplace that aggressiveness also often has its roots in fear. I am inclined to think that this theory has been pushed too far. [...] The type of aggressiveness that is the outcome of timidity is not, I think, that which inspires great leaders; the great leaders, I should say, have an exceptional self-confidence which is not only on the surface, but penetrates deep into the subconscious. Bertrand Russell
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No other organization rouses anything like the loyalty aroused by the national State. And the chief activity of the State is preparation for large-scale homicide. Bertrand Russell
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If one man offers you democracy and another offers you a bag of grain, at what stage of starvation will you prefer the grain to the vote? Bertrand Russell
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Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions, since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation; but above all because, through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind is also rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good. Bertrand Russell
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