Bertrand Russell quotes

Bertrand Russell on philosophy, mathematics, politics and happiness

A polymath who contributed to a vast catalog of works, Bertrand Russell was perhaps best known for his philosophical writings that campaigned against imperialism, fascism, and totalitarianism in the midst of the outpouring of war in Europe in the middle of the twentieth century. A Noble Laureate and prolific academic writer, Russell’s words are a testament to his humanitarian ideals.

Many of his most valuable and inspiring quotes are related to his philosophy regarded as ‘freedom of thought,’ and throughout his life, he was known as a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist. Accepted as one of the finest minds of the twentieth century, Russell’s contribution to philosophy should not be underestimated.

  • 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.

  • Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.

  • The most valuable things in life are not measured in monetary terms. The really important things are not houses and lands, stocks and bonds, automobiles and real state, but friendships, trust, confidence, empathy, mercy, love, and faith.

  • Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.

  • A smile happens in a flash, but its memory can last a lifetime.

  • The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.

  • The slave is doomed to worship time and fate and death, because they are greater than anything he finds in himself, and because all his thoughts are of things which they devour.

  • The scientific attitude of mind involves a sweeping away of all other desires in the interest of the desire to know.

  • One of the most powerful of all our passions is the desire to be admired and respected.

  • Order, unity, and continuity are human inventions, just as truly as catalogues and encyclopedias.

  • One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.

  • Drunkenness is temporary suicide.

  • The secret of happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible, horrible, horrible.

  • The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.

  • I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.

  • A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.

  • Fanaticism is the danger of the world, and always has been, and has done untold harm. I might almost say that I was fanatical against fanaticism.

  • Whoever wishes to become a philosopher must learn not to be frightened by absurdities.