Bertrand Russell

Literary Birthday – 18 May – Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell was born 18 May 1872, and died  2 February 1970.


  1. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
  2. There are two motives for reading a book; one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.
  3. A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.
  4. The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.
  5. The secret of happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible, horrible, horrible.
  6. It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.
  7. 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.
  8. Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.
  9. 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.
  10. Those who have never known the deep intimacy and the intense companionship of happy mutual love have missed the best thing that life has to give.
  11. Patriots always talk of dying for their country but never of killing for their country.
  12. The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
  13. Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
  14. I believe in using words, not fists.

Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, social critic, and political activist. He wrote many books, including A History of Western Philosophy. He won The Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950.

Source for image

Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 18th May 2014