Bertrand Russell quotes

  • 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

    #Inspirational #Motivational #Fear

  • The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Inspirational #Life #Happiness

  • 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.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Men #Weight Loss #Worry

  • Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Confidence #Being Yourself #Fear

  • The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Education #Truth #Religion

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

    #Education #Art #Philosophy

  • You must believe that you can help bring about a better world.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Believe #World #Helping

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

    #Common Sense #Trying #Common

  • Drunkeness is temporary suicide: the happiness that it brings is merely negative, a momentary cessation of unhappiness.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Suicide #Suicidal #Negative

  • All human activity is prompted by desire.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Desire #Humans

  • No great achievement is possible without persistent work.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Persistence #Achievement #Persistent

  • To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Inspirational #Motivational #Happiness

  • War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Peace #War #Fighting

  • 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 habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. 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.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Courage #Men #Light

  • So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Death #Atheist #Intelligence

  • Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Thinking #Essentials #Certain

  • Love cannot exists as a duty; to tell a child that it ought to love its parents and its brother and sisters is utterly useless, if not worse.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Love #Brother #Children

  • The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Spiritual #Philosophy #Philosophical

  • 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. Accordingly most gossip is untrue, but care is taken not to verify it. Our neighbour's sins, like the consolations of religion, are so agreeable that we do not stop to scrutinise the evidence closely.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Taken #Gossip #People

  • Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Knowledge #Science #Imagination

  • Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Education #Stupid #School

  • Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Love #Happiness #Marriage

  • Love as a relation between men and women was ruined by the desire to make sure of the legitimacy of children.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Life #Children #Men

  • I believe myself that romantic love is the source of the most intense delights that life has to offer. In the relation of a man and woman who love each other with passion and imagination and tenderness, there is something of inestimable value, to be ignorant of which is a great misfortune to any human being.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Life #Believe #Passion

  • A hallucination is a fact, not an error; what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Science #Errors #Hallucinations

  • 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.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Inspirational #Happiness #Inner Peace

  • An atheist, like a Christian, holds that we can know whether or not there is a God. The Christian holds that we can know there is a God; the atheist, that we can know there is not. The Agnostic suspends judgment, saying that there are not sufficient grounds either for affirmation or for denial. At the same time, an Agnostic may hold that the existence of God, though not impossible, is very improbable; he may even hold it so improbable that it is not worth considering in practice. In that case, he is not far removed from atheism.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Christian #Atheist #Practice

  • Drunkenness is temporary suicide.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Suicide #Drinking #Alcohol

  • 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.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Power #Men #Religion

  • Dogma demands authority, rather than intelligent thought, as the source of opinion; it requires persecution of heretics and hostility to unbelievers; it asks of its disciples that they should inhibit natural kindliness in favor of systematic hatred.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Wisdom #Intelligent #Hatred

  • 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

    #Philosophy #Addiction #Progress

  • I had supposed until that time that it was quite common for parents to love their children, but the war persuaded me that it is a rare exception. I had supposed that most people liked money better than almost anything else, but I discovered that they liked destruction even better. I had supposed that intellectuals frequently loved truth, but I found here again that not ten per cent of them prefer truth to popularity.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Love #Children #War

  • 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

    #Life #Spring #Creative

  • If we were all given by magic the power to read each other's thoughts, I suppose the first effect would be to dissolve all friendships.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Magic #Would Be #Firsts

  • The most valuable things in life are not measured in monetary terms. The really important things are not houses and lands, stocks and bonds, automobiles and real state, but friendships, trust, confidence, empathy, mercy, love and faith.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Love #Real #Land

  • I conclude that, while it is true that science cannot decide questions of value, that is because they cannot be intellectually decided at all, and lie outside the realm of truth and falsehood. Whatever knowledge is attainable, must be attained by scientific methods; and what science cannot discover, mankind cannot know.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Lying #Knowledge #Scientific Method

  • The law of causality, I believe, like much that passes muster among philosophers, is a relic of a bygone age, surviving, like the monarchy, only because it is erroneously supposed to do no harm.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Believe #Law #Age

  • The scientific attitude of mind involves a sweeping away of all other desires in the interest of the desire to know.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Attitude #Knowledge #Mind

  • It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Philosophical #Animal #Men

  • I have found, for example, that if I have to write upon sum rather difficult topic, the best plan is to think about it with very great intensity-the greatest intensity of which I am capable-for a few hours or days, and at the end of that time give orders, so to speak (to my subconscious mind) that the work is to proceed underground. After some months I return consciously to the topic and find that the work has been done.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Writing #Thinking #Order

  • The secret to happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Happiness #Secret #Faces

  • Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Life #Competition #Criminals

  • It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Life #Money #Greed

  • Unless you assume a God, the question of life's purpose is meaningless.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Religion #Atheism #Purpose

  • 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.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Happiness #Music #Happy Life

  • I wish to propose for the reader's favourable consideration a doctrine which may, I fear, appear wildly paradoxical and subversive. The doctrine in question is this: that it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Believe #Wish #Atheism

  • 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.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Love #Powerful #Men

  • What is best in mathematics deserves not merely to be learnt as a task, but to assimilated as a part of daily thought, and brought again and again before the mind with ever-renewed encouragement.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Encouragement #Mind #Tasks

  • I am myself a dissenter from all known religions, and I hope that every kind of religious belief will die out.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Religious #Religion #Atheism

  • 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.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Fake People #Math #Talking

  • Science is what you know, philosophy is what you don't know.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Life #Badass #Philosophy

  • As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think that I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because, when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Atheist #Men #Thinking

  • Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise, for only a fool will think that is happiness.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Thinking #Paradise #Fool

  • Conquer the world by intelligence, and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Fear #World #Conquer

  • There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our thoughts.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Ideas #World #Poverty

  • 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.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Practice #Two #Facts

  • Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature has made them.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Clever #Stupid #Men

  • Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Summer #Moving #Men

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

    #Life #Happiness #Decision

  • We know too much and feel too little.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Too Much #Littles #Feels

  • Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Clever #Stupid #Men

  • To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Civilization #People #Relaxation

  • Very many people spend money in ways quite different from those that their natural tastes would enjoin, merely because the respect of their neighbors depends upon their possession of a good car and their ability to give good dinners. As a matter of fact, any man who can obviously afford a car but genuinely prefers travels or a good library will in the end be much more respected than if he behaved exactly like everyone else.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Men #Giving #Car

  • Good nature is, of all moral qualities, the one that the world needs most, and good nature is the result of ease and security, not of a life of arduous struggle. Modern methods of production have given us the possibility of ease and security for all; we have chosen, instead, to have overwork for some and starvation for the others. Hitherto we have continued to be as energetic as we were before there were machines; in this we have been foolish, but there is no reason to go on being foolish for ever.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Struggle #Quality #Needs

  • I say people who feel they must have a faith or religion in order to face life are showing a kind of cowardice, which in any other sphere would be considered contemptible. But when it is in the religious sphere it is thought admirable, and I cannot admire cowardice whatever sphere it is in.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Religious #Order #People

  • The happy life is to an extraordinary extent the same as the good life.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Good Life #Happy Life #Life Is

  • The satisfaction to be derived from success in a great constructive enterprise is one of the most massive that life has to offer.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Happiness #Satisfaction #Enterprise

  • How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty?
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #World #Cruelty #Endure

  • The essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held; instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Lying #Essence #May

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

    #Thinking #Religion #Atheism

  • Change is scientific; progress is ethical; change is indubitable, whereas progress is a matter of controversy.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Change #Science #Progress

  • There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they are disputed.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Believe #Men #Comforting

  • The whole conception of a God is a conception derived from the ancient oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men. We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face. We ought to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better than what these others have made of it in all these ages.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Men #Wish #Age

  • Is there any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it?
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Men #Doubt #World

  • Every great idea starts out as a blasphemy.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Ideas #Blasphemy #Great Idea

  • 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

    #Years #Water #Elements

  • No nation was ever so virtuous as each believes itself, and none was ever so wicked as each believes the other.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Believe #Humility #Wicked

  • The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Challenges #Way #Problem

  • I do not believe that I am now dreaming, but I cannot prove that I am not.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Dream #Believe #Prove

  • Belief systems provide a programme which relieves the necessity of thought.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Belief #Belief Systems

  • Envy was one of the most potent causes of unhappiness.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Envy #Causes #Unhappiness

  • The teacher, like the artist and the philosopher, can perform his work adequately only if he feels himself to be an individual directed by an inner creative impulse, not dominated and fettered by an outside authority.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Teacher #Artist #Creative

  • Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Truth #Trying #Truthful

  • Mathematics rightly viewed possesses not only truth but supreme beauty.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Math #Mathematics

  • One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Stupid #Ignorance #Imagination

  • a generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of little men, of men unduly divorced from the slow process of nature, of men in whom every vital impulse slowly withers as though they were cut flowers in a vase.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Flower #Cutting #Men

  • We all have a tendency to think that the world must conform to our prejudices. The opposite view involves some effort of thought, and most people would die sooner than think in fact they do so.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Thinking #Views #Opposites

  • All exact science is dominated by the idea of approximation.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Science #Ideas

  • Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Humility #Men #People

  • The discipline in your life should be one determined by your own desires and your own needs, not put upon you by society or authority.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Discipline #Desire #Needs

  • Some care is needed in using Descartes' argument. "I think, therefore I am" says rather more than is strictly certain. It might seem as though we are quite sure of being the same person to-day as we were yesterday, and this is no doubt true in some sense. But the real Self is as hard to arrive at as the real table, and does not seem to have that absolute, convincing certainty that belongs to particular experiences.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Real #Thinking #Self

  • Government can easily exist without laws, but law cannot exist without government.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Government #Law

  • No man can be a good teacher unless he has feelings of warm affection toward his pupils and a genuine desire to impart to them what he believes to be of value.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Teacher #Believe #Men

  • Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Thinking #Atheism

  • More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Teacher #Teaching #Important

  • The painter has to unlearn the habit of thinking that things seem to have the color which common sense says they 'really' have, and to learn the habit of seeing things as they appear.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Thinking #Color #Common Sense

  • All who are not lunatics are agreed about certain things. That it is better to be alive than dead, better to be adequately fed than starved, better to be free than a slave. Many people desire those things only for themselves and their friends; they are quite content that their enemies should suffer. These people can only be refuted by science: Humankind has become so much one family that we cannot ensure our own prosperity except by ensuring that of everyone else. If you wish to be happy yourself, you must resign yourself to seeing others also happy.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #People #Enemy #Suffering

  • [Man] ... his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labour of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins...
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Inspiration #Men #Fire

  • I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Religion #Harm #True Religion

  • 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.
    -- Bertrand Russell

    #Humility #World #Littles