QOTD: Bertrand Russell

After see­ing a whole mess of quotes from Rus­sell today, I found myself unable to choose just one. These are the ones that hit me most strongly.


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.
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 par­adise in a few years.
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.
Pas­sive accep­tance of the teacher’s wis­dom is easy to most boys and girls. It involves no effort of inde­pen­dent thought, and seems ratio­nal because the teacher knows more than his pupils; it is more­over the way to win the favour of the teacher unless he is a very excep­tion­al man. Yet the habit of pas­sive accep­tance is a dis­as­trous one in lat­er life. It caus­es man to seek and to accept a leader, and to accept as a leader who­ev­er is estab­lished in that position.
So far as I can remem­ber, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.
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.
The most sav­age con­tro­ver­sies are those about mat­ters as to which there is no good evi­dence either way.
The peo­ple who are regard­ed as moral lumi­nar­ies are those who forego ordi­nary plea­sures them­selves and find com­pen­sa­tion in inter­fer­ing with the plea­sures of others.
What the world needs is not dog­ma but an atti­tude of sci­en­tif­ic inquiry com­bined with a belief that the tor­ture of mil­lions is not desir­able, whether inflict­ed by Stal­in or by a Deity imag­ined in the like­ness of the believer.
To be able to fill leisure intel­li­gent­ly is the last prod­uct of civ­i­liza­tion, and at present very few peo­ple have reached this level.
One should as a rule respect pub­lic opin­ion in so far as is nec­es­sary to avoid star­va­tion and to keep out of prison, but any­thing that goes beyond this is vol­un­tary sub­mis­sion to an unnec­es­sary tyran­ny, and is like­ly to inter­fere with hap­pi­ness in all kinds of ways.
To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.
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.
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.
Fear is the main source of super­sti­tion, and one of the main sources of cru­el­ty. To con­quer fear is the begin­ning of wisdom.
Cur­rent Mood: 🤔thought­ful
Cyn is a proud Mommy & Mémé, professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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