Bertrand Russell
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1872

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1951


in 1951

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1970


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"A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy dare live."


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"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."


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"Admiration of the proletariat like that of dams power stations and aeroplanes is part of the ideology of the machine age."


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"Against my will in the course of my travels the belief that everything worth knowing was known at Cambridge gradually wore off. In this respect my travels were very useful to me."


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"A truer image of the world I think is obtained by picturing things as entering into the stream of time from an eternal world outside than from a view which regards time as the devouring tyrant of all that is."


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"Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country."


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"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons."


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"Freedom in general may be defined as the absence of obstacles to the realization of desires."


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"Work is of two kinds: first altering the position of matter at or near the earths surface relative to other matter second telling other people to do so."


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"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge."


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"The degree of ones emotions varies inversely with ones knowledge of the facts."


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"The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell."


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"Many a man will have the courage to die gallantly but will not have the courage to say or even to think that the cause for which he is asked to die is an unworthy one."


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"I believe in using words not fists. I believe in my outrage knowing people are living in boxes on the street. I believe in honesty. I believe in a good time. I believe in good food. I believe in sex."


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"Freedom comes only to those who no longer ask of life that it shall yield them any of those personal goods that are subject to the mutations of time."


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"None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear."


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"Next to enjoying ourselves the next greatest pleasure consists in preventing others from enjoying themselves or more generally in the acquisition of power."


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"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge."


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"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 Spinozas God it wont love us in return."


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"To teach how to live without certainty and yet without being paralysed by hesitation is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy in our age can do for those who study it."


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"In America everybody is of the 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."


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"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power."


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"Religions which condemn the pleasures of sense drive men to seek the pleasures of power. Throughout history power has been the vice of the ascetic."


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"The most savage controversies are about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way."


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"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 a paradise in a few years."


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"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."


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"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."


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"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."


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"We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought."


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"Of all forms of caution caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness."


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"Thought is subversive and revolutionary destructive and terrible Thought is merciless to privilege established institutions and comfortable habit. Thought is great and swift and free."


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"I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion as organized in its Churches has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world."


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"Almost everything that distinguishes the modern world from earlier centuries is attributable to science which achieved its most spectacular triumphs in the seventeenth century."


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"The theoretical understanding of the world which is the aim of philosophy is not a matter of great practical importance to animals or to savages or even to most civilised men."


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"Science is what you know philosophy is what you dont know."


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"The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper."


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


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"Man needs for his happiness not only the enjoyment of this or that but hope and enterprise and change."


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"Both in thought and in feeling even though time be real to realise the unimportance of time is the gate of wisdom."


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"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."


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"So far as I can remember there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence."


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"Boredom is... a vital problem for the moralist since half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it."


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"Men are born ignorant not stupid. They are made stupid by education."


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"The slave is doomed to worship time and fate and death because they are greater than anything he finds in himself and because all his thoughts are of things which they devour."


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"I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong."


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"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 poetry."


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"Dogmatism and skepticism are both in a sense absolute philosophies one is certain of knowing the other of not knowing. What philosophy should dissipate is certainty whether of knowledge or ignorance."


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"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that ones work is terribly important."


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"War does not determine who is right - only who is left."


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"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."


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"To fear love is to fear life and those who fear life are already three parts dead."


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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."


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"Aristotle could have avoided the mistake of thinking that women have fewer teeth than men by the simple device of asking Mrs. Aristotle to keep her mouth open while he counted."


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"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."


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"The fundamental defect of fathers in our competitive society is that they want their children to be a credit to them."


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"The fundamental concept in social science is Power in the same sense in which Energy is the fundamental concept in physics."


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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."


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"The place of the father in the modern suburban family is a very small one particularly if he plays golf."


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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."


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"Ethics is in origin the art of recommending to others the sacrifices required for cooperation with oneself."


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"There is no need to worry about mere size. We do not necessarily respect a fat man more than a thin man. Sir Isaac Newton was very much smaller than a hippopotamus but we do not on that account value him less."


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"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."


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"Ive made an odd discovery. Every time I talk to a savant I feel quite sure that happiness is no longer a possibility. Yet when I talk with my gardener Im convinced of the opposite."


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"Collective fear stimulates herd instinct and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd."


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"The secret to happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible."


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"Men who are unhappy like men who sleep badly are always proud of the fact."


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"Contempt for happiness is usually contempt for other peoples happiness and is an elegant disguise for hatred of the human race."


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"To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom."


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"The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."


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"Freedom of opinion can only exist when the government thinks itself secure."


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"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 than hostile."


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"It is possible that mankind is on the threshold of a golden age but if so it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door and this dragon is religion."


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"Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear."


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"If all our happiness is bound up entirely in our personal circumstances it is difficult not to demand of life more than it has to give."


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"Anything youre good at contributes to happiness."


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"To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness."


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"Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric."


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"Machines are worshipped because they are beautiful and valued because they confer power they are hated because they are hideous and loathed because they impose slavery."


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