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:: Bertrand Russell
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Bertrand Russell's quotes
"What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires -- desires of which he himself is often unconscious. 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."
"We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought."
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left."
War & Peace
"To teach how to live with uncertainty, yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy can do."
"To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom."
"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."
Good & Evil
"Those who fear life are already three parts dead."
"The puritanism of Christianity has played havoc with the moderation that an enlightened and tolerant critical spirit would have produced. I've noticed that in whatever country, county, town, or other region there is a regulation enjoining temperance, the population seems to be entirely composed of teetotallers and drunkards. There's a Bible on that shelf there. But I keep it next to Voltaire - poison and antidote."
"The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it."
"The degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts: the less you know the hotter you get."
"So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence."
"Philosophers, for the most part, are constitutionally timid, and dislike the unexpected. Few of them would be genuinely happy as pirates or burglars. Accordingly they invent systems which make the future calculable, at least in its main outlines."
"No one gossips about other people's secret virtues."
"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."
"Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education."
"Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do."
"Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that, but hope and enterprise and change."
"Love is, above all, the gift of oneself."
"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."
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly."
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War does not determine who is right - only who is left. by Bertrand Russell