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None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.
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The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.
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The first step in a fascist movement is the combination under an energetic leader of a number of men who possess more than the average share of leisure, brutality, and stupidity. The next step is to fascinate fools and muzzle the intelligent, by emotional excitement on the one hand and terrorism on the other.
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Religion is based ... mainly upon fear ... fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race.
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The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
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Love is wise; hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don't like. We can only live together in that way. But if we are to live together, and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance, which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.
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If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that you are subsciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as you do. [...] The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic, because in arithmetic there is knowledge, but in theology there is only opinion. So whenever you find yourself getting angry about a difference of opinion, be on your guard; you will probably find, on examination, that your belief is going beyond what the evidence warrants.
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An Honest politician will not be tolerated by a democracy unless he is very stupid ... because only a very stupid man can honestly share the prejudices of more than half the nation.
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Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
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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 a paradise in a few years.
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Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.
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Science does not aim at establishing immutable truths and eternal dogmas; its aim is to approach the truth by successive approximations, without claiming that at any stage final and complete accuracy has been achieved.
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Prison is a severe and terrible punishment; but for me, thanks to Arthur Balfour, this was not so. I was much cheered on my arrival by the warder at the gate, who had to take particulars about me. He asked my religion, and I replied 'agnostic.' He asked how to spell it, and remarked with a sigh: 'Well, there are many religions, but I suppose they all worship the same God.' This remark kept me cheerful for about a week.
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We have in fact, two kinds of morality, side by side: one which we preach, but do not practice, and another which we practice, but seldom preach.
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When you want to teach children to think, you begin by treating them seriously when they are little, giving them responsibilities, talking to them candidly, providing privacy and solitude for them, and making them readers and thinkers of significant thoughts from the beginning. That’s if you want to teach them to think.
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Cruel men believe in a cruel god and use their belief to excuse their cruelty. Only kindly men believe in a kindly god, and they would be kindly in any case.
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Grasshopper always wrong in argument with chicken. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
Grasshopper always wrong in argument with chicken.
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The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
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I believe four ingredients are necessary for happiness: health, warm personal relations, sufficient means to keep you from want, and successful work.
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More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given
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Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
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A hallucination is a fact, not an error; what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
A hallucination is a fact, not an error; what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it.
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We may define "faith" as the firm belief in something for which there is no evidence. Where there is evidence, no one speaks of "faith." We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence. The substitution of emotion for evidence is apt to lead to strife, since different groups, substitute different emotions.
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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.
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There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.
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The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
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One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.
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We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.
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You must believe that you can help bring about a better world. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
You must believe that you can help bring about a better world.
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Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.
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War does not determine who is right - only who is left. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
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Next to enjoying ourselves, the next greatest pleasure consists in preventing others from enjoying themselves, or, more generally, in the acquisition of power.
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To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.
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Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken.
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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.
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The secret to happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
The secret to happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible.
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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.
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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
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Bolshevism is to be reckoned with Mohammedanism rather than with Christianity and Buddhism. Christianity and Buddhism are primarily personal religions, with mystical doctrines and a love of contemplation. Mohammedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social, unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of the world.
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One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.
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Gradually, by selective breeding, the congenital differences between rulers and ruled will increase until they become almost different species. A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organized insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton.
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To understand the actual world as it is, not as we should wish it to be, is the beginning of wisdom.
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The problem with the wise is they are so filled with doubts while the dull are so certain. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
The problem with the wise is they are so filled with doubts while the dull are so certain.
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There is no nonsense so errant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.
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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.
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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.
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Many people when they fall in love look for a little haven of refuge from the world, where they can be sure of being admired when they are not admirable, and praised when they are not praiseworthy.
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Love should be a tree whose roots are deep in the earth, but whose branches extend into heaven. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
Love should be a tree whose roots are deep in the earth, but whose branches extend into heaven.
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Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.
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Belief in God and a future life makes it possible to go through life with less of stoic courage than is needed by skeptics.
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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.
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The coward wretch whose hand and heart Can bear to torture aught below, Is ever first to quail and start From the slightest pain or equal foe.
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I have found, for example, that if I have to write upon sum rather difficult topic, the best plan is to think about it with very great intensity-the greatest intensity of which I am capable-for a few hours or days, and at the end of that time give orders, so to speak (to my subconscious mind) that the work is to proceed underground. After some months I return consciously to the topic and find that the work has been done.
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The degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts - the less you know the hotter you get.
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Men who allow their love of power to give them a distorted view of the world are to be found in every asylum: one man will think he is the Governor of the Bank of England, another will think he is the King, and yet another will think he is God. Highly similar delusions, if expressed by educated men in obscure language, lead to professorships of philosophy; and if expressed by emotional men in eloquent language, lead to dictatorships.
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It's coexistence or no existence. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
It's coexistence or no existence.
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Religions, which condemn the pleasures of sense, drive men to seek the pleasures of power. Throughout history power has been the vice of the ascetic.
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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.
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A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.
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By self-interest, Man has become gregarious, but in instinct he has remained to a great extent solitary; hence the need of religion and morality to reinforce self-interest.
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Right discipline consists, not in external compulsion, but in the habits of mind which lead spontaneously to desirable rather than undesirable activities.
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Obviousness is always the enemy of correctness. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
Obviousness is always the enemy of correctness.
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Every great idea starts out as a blasphemy. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
Every great idea starts out as a blasphemy.
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I am sometimes shocked by the blasphemies of those who think themselves pious. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
I am sometimes shocked by the blasphemies of those who think themselves pious.
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An extra-terrestrial philosopher, who had watched a single youth up to the age of twenty-one and had never come across any other human being, might conclude that it is the nature of human beings to grow continually taller and wiser in an indefinite progress towards perfection; and this generalization would be just as well founded as the generalization which evolutionists base upon the previous history of this planet.
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People seem good while they are oppressed, but they only wish to become oppressors in their turn: life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.
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If the ordinary wage-earner worked four hours a day, there would be enough for everybody, and no unemployment — assuming a certain very moderate amount of sensible organization. This idea shocks the well-to-do, because they are convinced that the poor would not know how to use so much leisure.
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Boys and girls should be taught respect for each other's liberty... and that jealousy and possessiveness kill love.
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The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.
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Remember your humanity, and forget the rest. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
Remember your humanity, and forget the rest.
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When a man tells you that he knows the exact truth about anything you are safe in inferring that he is an inexact man.
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The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was “given” by a foreign power to another people for the creation of a new state. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their numbers increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty?
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No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their own country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate?
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The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.
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One of the most interesting and harmful delusions to which men and nations can be subjected is that of imagining themselves special instruments of the Divine Will.
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Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.
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We must be skeptical even of our skepticism. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
We must be skeptical even of our skepticism.
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To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
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Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality. - Bertrand Russell Quotes
Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.
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An atheist, like a Christian, holds that we can know whether or not there is a God. The Christian holds that we can know there is a God; the atheist, that we can know there is not. The Agnostic suspends judgment, saying that there are not sufficient grounds either for affirmation or for denial. At the same time, an Agnostic may hold that the existence of God, though not impossible, is very improbable; he may even hold it so improbable that it is not worth considering in practice. In that case, he is not far removed from atheism.
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