Bertrand Russell Quotes and Sayings

Here you can find the best collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous Bertrand Russell quotes and Bertrand Russell sayings, and Bertrand Russell proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.

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

"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."

"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 Spinoza’s God, it won’t love us in return."

"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."

"When the intensity of emotional conviction subsides, a man who is in the habit of reasoning will search for logical grounds in favour of the belief which he finds in himself."

"The coward wretch whose hand and heart Can bear to torture aught below, Is ever first to quail and start From the slightest pain or equal foe."

"The man who can centre his thoughts and hopes upon something transcending self can find a certain peace in the ordinary troubles of life, which is impossible to the pure egoist."

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

"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."

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

"A process which led from the amoeba to man appeared to the philosophers to be obviously a progress though whether the amoeba would agree with this opinion is not known."

"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."

"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."

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

"Anything you’re good at contributes to happiness."

"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."

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

"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."

"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."

"No; we have been as usual asking the wrong question. It does not matter a hoot what the mockingbird on the chimney is singing. The real and proper question is: Why is it beautiful?"

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

"Obscenity is whatever happens to shock some elderly and ignorant magistrate."

"Indignation is a submission of our thoughts, but not of our desires."

"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."

"Awareness of universals is called conceiving, and a universal of which we are aware is called a concept."

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

"Liberty is the right to do what I like; license, the right to do what you like."

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

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

"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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