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Bertrand Russell Quotes
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Bertrand Russell Quote: “The twin conceptions of sin and vindictive punishment seem to be at the root of much that is most vigorous, both in religion and politics.”

The twin conceptions of sin and vindictive punishment seem to be at the root of much that is most vigorous, both in religion and politics.

— Bertrand Russell



Bertrand Russell Quote: “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.”

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.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level.”

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

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Dogmatism is the greatest of mental obstacles to human happiness.”

Dogmatism is the greatest of mental obstacles to human happiness.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “No rules, however wise, are a substitute for affection and tact.”

No rules, however wise, are a substitute for affection and tact.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Most people believe in God because they have been taught from early infancy to do it, and that is the main reason. Then I think that the next most powerful reason is the wish for safety.”

Most people believe in God because they have been taught from early infancy to do it, and that is the main reason. Then I think that the next most powerful reason is the wish for safety.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “I am paid by the word, so I always write the shortest words possible.”

I am paid by the word, so I always write the shortest words possible.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Civilized people cannot fully satisfy their sexual instinct without love.”

Civilized people cannot fully satisfy their sexual instinct without love.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “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.”

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.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “The taboo against nakedness is an obstacle to a decent attitude on the subject of sex.”

The taboo against nakedness is an obstacle to a decent attitude on the subject of sex.

— Bertrand Russell



Bertrand Russell Quote: “A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.”

A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “If I were granted omnipotence, and millions of years to experiment in, I should not think Man much to boast of as the final result of all my efforts.”

If I were granted omnipotence, and millions of years to experiment in, I should not think Man much to boast of as the final result of all my efforts.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “The atomic bomb embodies the results of a combination genius and patience as remarkable as any in the history of mankind.”

The atomic bomb embodies the results of a combination genius and patience as remarkable as any in the history of mankind.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Memory demands an image.”

Memory demands an image.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.”

We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.”

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “The happiness that is genuinely satisfying is accompanied by the fullest exercise of our faculties and the fullest realization of the world in which we live.”

The happiness that is genuinely satisfying is accompanied by the fullest exercise of our faculties and the fullest realization of the world in which we live.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Upon hearing via Littlewood an exposition on the theory of relativity: To think I have spent my life on absolute muck.”

Upon hearing via Littlewood an exposition on the theory of relativity: To think I have spent my life on absolute muck.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Religion may in most of its forms be defined as the belief that the gods are on the side of the government.”

Religion may in most of its forms be defined as the belief that the gods are on the side of the government.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “I believe four ingredients are necessary for happiness: health, warm personal relations, sufficient means to keep you from want, and successful work.”

I believe four ingredients are necessary for happiness: health, warm personal relations, sufficient means to keep you from want, and successful work.

— Bertrand Russell



Bertrand Russell Quote: “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.”

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.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves.”

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

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “I suppose the advocates of unreason think that there is a better chance of profitably deceiving the populace if they keep it in a state of effervescence.”

I suppose the advocates of unreason think that there is a better chance of profitably deceiving the populace if they keep it in a state of effervescence.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “The method of “postulating” what we want has many advantages; they are the same as the advantages of theft over honest toil.”

The method of “postulating” what we want has many advantages; they are the same as the advantages of theft over honest toil.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “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.”

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.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “I was told that The Chinese said they would bury me by the Western Lake and build a shrine to my memory. I have some slight regret that this did not happen, as I might have become a god, which would have been very chic for an atheist.”

I was told that The Chinese said they would bury me by the Western Lake and build a shrine to my memory. I have some slight regret that this did not happen, as I might have become a god, which would have been very chic for an atheist.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “None of our beliefs are quite true; all have at least a penumbra of vagueness and error.”

None of our beliefs are quite true; all have at least a penumbra of vagueness and error.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Freedom in education has many aspects. There is first of all freedom to learn or not to learn. Then there is freedom as to what to learn. And in later education there is freedom of opinion.”

Freedom in education has many aspects. There is first of all freedom to learn or not to learn. Then there is freedom as to what to learn. And in later education there is freedom of opinion.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Right discipline consists, not in external compulsion, but in the habits of mind which lead spontaneously to desirable rather than undesirable activities.”

Right discipline consists, not in external compulsion, but in the habits of mind which lead spontaneously to desirable rather than undesirable activities.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Among the Tibetans, one wife has many husbands, because men are too poor to support a whole wife.”

Among the Tibetans, one wife has many husbands, because men are too poor to support a whole wife.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Moral progress has consisted in the main of protest against cruel customs, and of attempts to enlarge human sympathy.”

Moral progress has consisted in the main of protest against cruel customs, and of attempts to enlarge human sympathy.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “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.”

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.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “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.”

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.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Philosophy is an unusually ingenious attempt to think fallaciously.”

Philosophy is an unusually ingenious attempt to think fallaciously.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “You may, if you are an old-fashioned schoolmaster, wish to consider yourself full of universal benevolence and at the same time derive great pleasure from caning boys. In order to reconcile these two desires you have to persuade yourself that caning.”

You may, if you are an old-fashioned schoolmaster, wish to consider yourself full of universal benevolence and at the same time derive great pleasure from caning boys. In order to reconcile these two desires you have to persuade yourself that caning.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “My doctor said to me afterwards, ‘When you were ill you behaved like a true philosopher. Every time you came to yourself you made a joke.’ I never had a compliment that pleased me more.”

My doctor said to me afterwards, ‘When you were ill you behaved like a true philosopher. Every time you came to yourself you made a joke.’ I never had a compliment that pleased me more.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “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.”

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.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “I’ve always thought respectable people scoundrels, and I look anxiously at my face every morning for signs of my becoming a scoundrel.”

I’ve always thought respectable people scoundrels, and I look anxiously at my face every morning for signs of my becoming a scoundrel.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “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.”

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


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Modern definitions of truth, such as those as pragmatism and instrumentalism, which are practical rather than contemplative, are inspired by industrialisation as opposed to aristocracy.”

Modern definitions of truth, such as those as pragmatism and instrumentalism, which are practical rather than contemplative, are inspired by industrialisation as opposed to aristocracy.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.”

No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “There is no greater reason for children to honour parents than for parents to honour children except, that while the children are young, the parents are stronger than children.”

There is no greater reason for children to honour parents than for parents to honour children except, that while the children are young, the parents are stronger than children.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “As a lover of truth, the national propaganda of all the belligerent nations sickened me. As a lover of civilization, the return to barbarism appalled me.”

As a lover of truth, the national propaganda of all the belligerent nations sickened me. As a lover of civilization, the return to barbarism appalled me.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Collective wisdom, alas, is no adequate substitute for the intelligence of individuals. Individuals who opposed received opinions have been the source of all progress, both moral and intellectual. They have been unpopular, as was natural.”

Collective wisdom, alas, is no adequate substitute for the intelligence of individuals. Individuals who opposed received opinions have been the source of all progress, both moral and intellectual. They have been unpopular, as was natural.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Analytic It is clear that the definition of “logic” or “mathematics” must be sought by trying to give a new definition of the old notion of “analytic” propositions.”

Analytic It is clear that the definition of “logic” or “mathematics” must be sought by trying to give a new definition of the old notion of “analytic” propositions.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Can a society in which thought and technique are scientific persist for a long period, as, for example, ancient Egypt persisted, or does it necessarily contain within itself forces which must bring either decay or explosion?”

Can a society in which thought and technique are scientific persist for a long period, as, for example, ancient Egypt persisted, or does it necessarily contain within itself forces which must bring either decay or explosion?

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “The human race may well become extinct before the end of the century.”

The human race may well become extinct before the end of the century.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “It would have been very much better for the world if Britain had remained neutral and the Germans had won a quick victory. We should not have had either the Nazis or the Communists if that had happened.”

It would have been very much better for the world if Britain had remained neutral and the Germans had won a quick victory. We should not have had either the Nazis or the Communists if that had happened.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “Almost all education has a political motive.”

Almost all education has a political motive.

— Bertrand Russell


Bertrand Russell Quote: “What science cannot tell us, mankind cannot know.”

What science cannot tell us, mankind cannot know.

— Bertrand Russell

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