Extreme hopes are born from extreme misery.
"Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell", Order of Merit (Commonwealth)/OM, Fellow of the Royal Society/FRS (; 18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970) was a British philosopher, mathematical logic/logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic and political activist. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these in any profound sense. He was born in Monmouthshire (historic)/Monmouthshire, into one of the most prominent aristocratic families in Britain.
In the early 20th century, Russell led the British "revolt against idealism". He is considered one of the founders of analytic philosophy along with his predecessor Gottlob Frege, colleague G. E. Moore, and his protégé Ludwig Wittgenstein. He is widely held to be one of the 20th century's premier logicians. With A. N. Whitehead he wrote Principia Mathematica, an attempt to create a logical basis for mathematics. His philosophical essay "On Denoting" has been considered a "paradigm of philosophy". His work has had a considerable influence on logic, mathematics, set theory, linguistics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science (see type theory and type system), and philosophy, especially philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics.If you enjoy these quotes, be sure to check out other famous philosophers! More Bertrand Russell on Wikipedia.
The man who suffers from a sense of sin is suffering from a particular kind of self-love. In all this vast universe the thing that appears to him of most importance is that he himself should be virtuous. It is a grave defect in certain forms of traditional religion that they have encouraged this particular kind of self-absorption.
I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.
Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day.
The place of the father in the modern suburban family is a very small one, particularly if he plays golf.
Freedom in general may be defined as the absence of obstacles to the realization of desires.
It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.
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.
The human race may well become extinct before the end of the century.
If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.
Obscenity is what happens to shock some elderly and ignorant magistrate.
Freedom of opinion can only exist when the government thinks itself secure.
Too little liberty brings stagnation and too much brings chaos.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
The thing that I should wish to obtain from money would be leisure with security.
When he followed the instincts which God had transmitted to him from his ancestry of beasts of prey, he called it sin and asked God to forgive him.
One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways.
It is because modern education is so seldom inspired by a great hope that it so seldom achieves great results. The wish to preserve the past rather that the hope of creating the future dominates the minds of those who control the teaching of the young.
Few people can be happy unless they hate some other person, nation, or creed.
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.
The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.
No one gossips about other people's secret virtues.
Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.
There are two motives for reading a book: one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.
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.
Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country.
The main things which seem to me important on their own account, and not merely as means to other things, are knowledge, art, instinctive happiness, and relations of friendship or affection.
The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
Patriots always talk of dying for their country but never of killing for their country.
Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty - a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture.
A sense of duty is useful in work, but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked, not be endured with patient resignation.
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 would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so.
War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
War does not determine who is right-only who is left.
When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also admit that some things are much more nearly certain than others.
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.
Order, unity and continuity are human inventions just as truly as catalogues and encyclopedias.
One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.
The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy - I mean that if you are happy you will be good.
Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man.
Organic life, we are told, has developed gradually from the protozoan to the philosopher, and this development, we are assured, is indubitably an advance. Unfortunately it is the philosopher, not the protozoan, who gives us this assurance.
Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.
The people who are regarded as moral luminaries are those who forego ordinary pleasures themselves and find compensation in interfering with the pleasures of others.
Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact.
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.
So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
Government can easily exist without laws, but law cannot exist without government.
The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.
Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.
Envy consists in seeing things never in themselves, but only in their relations. If you desire glory, you may envy Napoleon, but Napoleon envied Caesar, Caesar envied Alexander, and Alexander, I daresay, envied Hercules, who never existed.
There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.
All exact science is dominated by the idea of approximation.
I've always thought respectable people scoundrels, and I look anxiously at my face every morning for signs of my becoming a scoundrel.
Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists - that is why they invented hell.
Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.
I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn't wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine.
The secret of happiness is this: Let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather that hostile.
Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.
Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.
Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
I should wish to see a world in which education aimed at mental freedom rather than imprisoning the minds of the young in a rigid armor of dogma calculated to protect them though life against the shafts of impartial evidence.
Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination.
To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.
The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.
The universe may have a purpose, but nothing we know suggests that, if so, this purpose has any similarity to ours.
Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do.
Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives' mouths.
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 paradise in a few years.
It is obvious that 'obscenity' is not a term capable of exact legal definition; in the practice of the Courts, it means 'anything that shocks the magistrate.'
The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
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.
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.
To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level.
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 widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.
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.
There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.
This is patently absurd; but whoever wishes to become a philosopher must learn not to be frightened by absurdities.
The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
Change is scientific, progress is ethical; change is indubitable, whereas progress is a matter of controversy.
To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.
Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth - more than ruin - more even than death.... Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.
Whereas in art nothing worth doing can be done without genius, in science even a very moderate capacity can contribute to a supreme achievement.
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.
One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.
We know too much and feel too little. At least, we feel too little of those creative emotions from which a good life springs.
All movements go too far.
It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatsoever for supposing it is true.
Even in civilized mankind faint traces of monogamous instincts can be perceived.
The wise man thinks about his troubles only when there is some purpose in doing so; at other times he thinks about others things.
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.
This is one of those views which are so absolutely absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them.
In all things it is a good idea to hang a question mark now and then on the things we have taken for granted.
Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.
Sin is geographical.
Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.
The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.
Every living thing is a sort of imperialist, seeking to transform as much as possible of its environment into itself.