Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 1872 - 1970
Born: 18 May 1872, Ravenscroft, Trellech, Monmouthshire, Wales, UK
Died: 2 February 1970, Penrhyndeudraeth, Merionethshire, Wales, UK
The 3rd Earl Russell was born Wales but raised at London after his parents' deaths. Tutored at home, he entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1890, distinguishing himself in mathematics and philosophy. During WW I he campaigned against British involvement and was imprisoned for six months. (Other than belatedly opposing Hitler, he was against all wars during his life.) He had great hopes for "the Communist experiment" but was not impressed at meeting Lenin or at the unhappy result in the Soviet state. He wrote at least 80 books on philosophy, mathematics, morality, and politics, sixteen volumes of his unpublished work have been released by McMaster University, which also has more than 30,000 letters he wrote. He won the 1950 Nobel Prize for literature.
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Bertrand Russell quotes:
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- A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of little men, of men unduly divorced from the slow process of nature, of men in whom every vital impulse slowly withers as though they were cut flowers in a vase. permalink
- A process which led from the amoeba to man appeared to philosophers to be obviously progress - though whether the amoeba would agree with this opinion is not known. permalink
- 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. permalink
- A stupid man's report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand. permalink
- Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly. permalink
Life is a Banquet (1977)
- Against my will, in the course of my travels, the belief that everything worth knowing was known at Cambridge gradually wore off. In this respect my travels were very useful to me. permalink
- All exact science is dominated by the idea of approximation. permalink
- All forms of fear produce fatigue. permalink
- All knowledge, we feel, must be built up upon our instinctive beliefs; and if these are rejected, nothing is left. permalink
- All who are not lunatics are agreed about certain things. That it is better to be alive than dead, better to be adequately fed than starved, better to be free than a slave. permalink
- Although it is a gloomy view to suppose that life will die out, sometimes when I contemplate the things that people do with their lives I think it is almost a consolation. permalink
- Altogether it will be found that a quiet life is characteristic of great men, and that their pleasures have not been of the sort that would look exciting to the outward eye. permalink
- America remained a land of promise for lovers of freedom. Even Byron, at a moment when he was disgusted with Napoleon for not committing suicide, wrote an eloquent stanza in praise of Washington. permalink
- And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence. permalink
- Animal rights, taken to their logical conclusion, mean votes for oysters. permalink
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