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Bertrand Russell quotes (130)

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

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   Category:

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.
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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.
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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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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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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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Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.
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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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All movements go too far.
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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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Anything you're good at contributes to happiness.
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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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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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Awareness of universals is called conceiving, and a universal of which we are aware is called a concept.
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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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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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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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Contempt for happiness is usually contempt for other people's happiness, and is an elegant disguise for hatred of the human race.
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Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves.
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Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who'll get the blame.
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Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
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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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Drunkenness is temporary suicide.
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Ethics is in origin the art of recommending to others the sacrifices required for cooperation with oneself.
Bertrand Russell   Category:

Every philosophical problem, when it is subjected to the necessary analysis and justification, is found either to be not really philosophical at all, or else to be, in the sense in which we are using the word, logical.
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Extreme hopes are born from extreme misery.
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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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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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Freedom in general may be defined as the absence of obstacles to the realization of desires.
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Freedom of opinion can only exist when the government thinks itself secure.
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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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I do not pretend to start with precise questions. I do not think you can start with anything precise. You have to achieve such precision as you can, as you go along.
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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 Spinoza's God, it won't love us in return.
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I remain convinced that obstinate addiction to ordinary language in our private thoughts is one of the main obstacles to progress in philosophy.
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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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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.
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I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.
Bertrand Russell   Category: Funny

I've 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, I'm convinced of the opposite.
Bertrand Russell   Category: Nature

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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If any philosopher had been asked for a definition of infinity, he might have produced some unintelligible rigmarole, but he would certainly not have been able to give a definition that had any meaning at all.
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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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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.
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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.
Bertrand Russell   Category: Equality

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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Indignation is a submission of our thoughts, but not of our desires.
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It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.
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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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It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.
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It seems to be the fate of idealists to obtain what they have struggled for in a form which destroys their ideals.
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Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.
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Liberty is the right to do what I like; license, the right to do what you like.
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Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.
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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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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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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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Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that, but hope and enterprise and change.
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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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Many people when they fall in love look for a little haven of refuge from the world, where they can be sure of being admired when they are not admirable, and praised when they are not praiseworthy.
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Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.
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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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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.
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Mathematics takes us into the region of absolute necessity, to which not only the actual word, but every possible word, must conform.
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Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.
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Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact.
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Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.
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Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.
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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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Next to enjoying ourselves, the next greatest pleasure consists in preventing others from enjoying themselves, or, more generally, in the acquisition of power.
Bertrand Russell   Category:

No one gossips about other people's secret virtues.
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