Prominent skeptic, logician, mathematician, and historian, Betrand Russell and his thoughts on:
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.
Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.
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 would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.
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.
In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.
In the part of this universe that we know there is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which of those is the more annoying.
It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so.
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 habit. 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.
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.
The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years.
The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy – I mean that if you are happy you will be good.