Bertrand Russell Quotes About Less

Browse 27 famous quotes of Bertrand Russell about Less.

"The special skill of the politician consists in knowing what passions can be most easily aroused, and how to prevent them, when aroused, from being harmful to himself and his associates...Moreover, since politicians are divided into rival groups, they aim at similarly dividing the nation, unless they have the good fortune to unite it in war against some other nation." ~ Bertrand Russell
"The skill of the politician consists in guessing what people can be brought to think advantageous to themselves; the skill of the experts consists in calculating what really is advantageous, provided people can be brought to think so. (The proviso is essential, because measures which arouse serious resentment are seldom advantageous, whatever merits they may have otherwise.) The power of the politician, in a democracy, depends upon his adopting the opinions which seem right to the average man. It is useless to urge that politicians ought to be high-minded enough to advocate what enlightened opinion considers good, because if they do they are swept aside for others." ~ Bertrand Russell
"A truly scientific philosophy will be more humble, more piecemeal, more arduous, offering less glitter of outward mirage to flatter fallacious hopes, but more indifferent to fate, and more capable of accepting the world without the tyrannous imposition of our human and temporary demands." ~ Bertrand Russell
"From the height of their disillusionment they look down upon those whom they despise as simple souls. For my part I have no sympathy with this outlook. All disenchantment is to me a malady, which, it is true, certain circumstances may render inevitable, but which none the less, when it occurs, is to be cured as soon as possible, not to be regarded as a higher form of wisdom." ~ Bertrand Russell
"At every moment of life the civilised man is hedged about by restrictions of impulse: if he happens to feel cheerful he must not sing or dance in the street, while if he happens to feel sad he must not sit on the pavement and weep, for fear of obstructing pedestrian traffic. In youth his liberty is restricted at school, in adult life it is restricted throughout his working hours. All this makes zest more difficult to retain, for the co ntinual restraint tends to produce wearin ess and boredom. Nevertheless, a civilised society is impossible without a very considerable degree of restraint upon spontaneous impulse, since spontaneous impulse will only produce the simplest forms of social c ooperation, not those highly complex forms which modern economic organisation demands" ~ Bertrand Russell
"Curious learning not only makes unpleasant things less unpleasant but also makes pleasant things more pleasant." ~ Bertrand Russell
"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." ~ Bertrand Russell
"The attitude of uncompromising heroism is attractive, and appeals especially to the dramatic instinct. But the purpose of the serious revolutionary is not personal heroism, nor martyrdom, but the creation of a happier world. Those who have the happiness of the world at heart will shrink from attitudes and the facile hysteria of "no parley with the enemy." They will not embark upon enterprises, however arduous and austere, which are likely to involve the martyrdom of their country and the discrediting of their ideals. It is by slower and less showy methods that the new world must be built [...] To find fault with those who urge these considerations, or to accuse them of faint-heartedness, is mere sentimental self-indulgence, sacrificing the good we can do to the satisfaction of our own emotions." ~ Bertrand Russell
"If [a man] spent his money, say, in giving parties for his friends, they (we may hope) would get pleasure, and so would all those upon whom he spent money, such as the butcher, the baker, and the bootlegger. But if he spends it (let us say) upon laying down rails for surface cars in some place where surface cars turn out not to be wanted, he has diverted a mass of labor into channels where it gives pleasure to no one. Nevertheless, when he becomes poor through failure of his investment he will be regarded as a victim of undeserved misfortune, whereas the gay spendthrift, who has spent his money philanthropically, will be despised as a fool and a frivolous person." ~ Bertrand Russell
"To discover a system for the avoidance of war is a vital need for our civ ilisation; but no such system has a chance while men are so unhappy that mutual extermination seems to them less dreadful than continued endurance of the light of day" ~ Bertrand Russell
"Belief in God and a future life makes it possible to go through life with less of stoic courage than is needed by skeptics." ~ Bertrand Russell
"Understanding human nature must be the basis of any real improvement in human life. Science has done wonders in mastering the laws of the physical world, but our own nature is much less understood, as yet, than the nature of stars and electrons. When science learns to understand human nature, it will be able to bring a happiness into our lives which machines and the physical sciences have failed to create." ~ Bertrand Russell
"So in everything: power lies with those who control finance, not with those who know the matter upon which the money is to be spent. Thus, the holders of power are, in general, ignorant and malevolent, and the less they exercise their power the better." ~ Bertrand Russell
"A habit of finding pleasure in thought rather than action is a safeguard against unwisdom and excessive love of power, a means of preserving serenity in misfortune and peace of mind among worries. A life confined to what is personal is likely, sooner or later, to become unbearably painful; it is only by windows into a larger and less fretful cosmos that the more tragic parts of life become endurable." ~ Bertrand Russell
"It is for this reason that rationality is of supreme importance to the well-being of the human species...even more, in those less fortunate times in which it is despised and rejected as the vain dream of men who lack the virility to kill where they cannot agree." ~ Bertrand Russell
"Noone has yet succeeded in inventing a philosophy at once credible and self-consistent. Locke aimed at credibility, and achieved it at the expense of consistency. Most of the great philosophers have done the opposite. A philosophy which is not self-consistent cannot be wholly true, but a philosophy which is self-consistent can very well be wholly false. The most fruitful philosophies have contained glaring inconsistencies, but for that very reason have been partially true. There is no reason to suppose that a self-consistent system contains more truth than one which, like Locke's, is more or less wrong." ~ Bertrand Russell
"What we firmly believe, if it is true, is called knowledge, provided it is either intuitive or inferred (logically or psychologically) from intuitive knowledge from which it follows logically. What we firmly believe, if it is not true, is called error. What we firmly believe, if it is neither knowledge nor error, and also what we believe hesitatingly, because it is, or is derived from, something which has not the highest degree of self-evidence, may be called probable opinion. Thus the greater part of what would commonly pass as knowledge is more or less probable opinion." ~ Bertrand Russell
"No man is fit to educate unless he feels each pupil an end in himself, with his own rights and his own personality, not merely a piece in a jigsaw puzzle, or a soldier in a regiment, or a citizen in a State. Reverence for human personality is the beginning of wisdom, in every social question but above all in education." ~ Bertrand Russell
"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 habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. 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." ~ Bertrand Russell
"Few people can be happy unless they hate some other person, nation, or creed." ~ Bertrand Russell
"Nevertheless, when it is your lot to have to endure something that is (or seems to you) worse than the ordinary lot of mankind, Spinoza's principle of thinking about the whole, or at any rate about larger matters than your own grief, is a useful one. There are even times when it is comforting to reflect that human life, with all that is contains of evil and suffering, is an infinitesimal part of the life of the universe. Such reflections may not suffice to constitute a religion, but in a painful world they are a help towards sanity and an antidote to the paralysis of utter despair. - about Spinoza" ~ Bertrand Russell
"From that awful encounter of the soul with the outer world, enunciation, wisdom, and charity are born; and with their birth a new life begins. To take into the inmost shrine of the soul the irresistible forces whose puppets we seem to be - Death and change, the irrevocableness of the past, and the powerlessness of Man before the blind hurry of the universe from vanity to vanity - to feel these things and know them is to conquer them." ~ Bertrand Russell
"Philosophy, for Plato, is a kind of vision, the 'vision of truth'...Everyone who has done any kind of creative work has experienced, in a greater or less degree, the state of mind in which, after long labour, truth or beauty appears, or seems to appear, in a sudden glory - it may only be about some small matter, or it may be about the universe. I think that most of the best creative work, in art, in science, in literature, and in philosophy, has been a result of just such a moment." ~ Bertrand Russell
"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." ~ Bertrand Russell
"...the supply of uranium in the planet is very limited, and it is feared that it may be used up before the human race is exterminated, but if the practically unlimited supply of hydrogen in the sea could be utilized there would be considerable reason to hope that homo sapiens might put an end to himself, to the great advantage of the other less ferocious animals." ~ Bertrand Russell
"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." ~ Bertrand Russell
"I must, before I die, find some way to say the essential thing that is in me, that I have never said yet -- a thing that is not love or hate or pity or scorn, but the very breath of life, fierce and coming from far away, bringing into human life the vastness and the fearful passionless force of non-human things." ~ Bertrand Russell
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An attitude of positive expectation is the mark of the superior personality."
Author: Brian Tracy

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