Bertrand Russell Quotations

-Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken.

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

-Most men would rather die, than think. Many do.

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

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

-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.

-A sense of duty is useful in work, but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked, not be endured with patient resignation.

-There is no nonsense so errant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.

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

-Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.

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

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

-The degree of one’s emotion varies inversely with one’s knowledge of the facts – the less you know the hotter you get.

-Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty – a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture.

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

-No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.

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

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

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

-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.

-Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.

-Conventional people are roused to fury by departures from convention, largely because they regard such departures as a criticism of themselves.

-My sad conviction is that people can only agree about what they’re not really interested in.

-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.

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

-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.

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

-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.

-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.

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

-It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatsoever for supposing it is true.
Bertrand Russell