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Quotations by Bertrand Russell
Bertrand RussellMy whole religion is this - My whole religion is this: do every duty, and expect no reward for it, either here or hereafter.

Only in thought is man a god - Only in thought is man a god; in action and desire we are the slaves of circumstance.

Life of man is a long march through the night - The life of man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, towards a goal that few can hope to reach, and where none may tarry long.

Marriage ought to be constituted by children - It seems clear to me that marriage ought to be constituted by children, and relations not involving children ought to be ignored by the law and treated as indifferent by public opinion. It is only through children that relations cease to be a purely private matter.

The Milky Way is a tiny fragment - In the visible world, the Milky Way is a tiny fragment; within this fragment, the solar system is an infinitesimal speck, and of this speck our planet is a microscopic dot.

On this dot, tiny lumps of impure carbon and water, of complicated structure, with somewhat unusual physical and chemical properties, crawl about for a few years, until they are dissolved again into the elements of which they are compounded.

Men fear thought as they fear nothing else - 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. It sees man, a feeble speck, surrounded by unfathomable depths of silence; yet it bears itself proudly, as unmoved as if it were lord of the universe. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.

To think the world must conform to our prejudices - We all have a tendency to think that the world must conform to our prejudices. The opposite view involves some effort of thought, and most people would die sooner than think -- in fact they do so.

Any person who is profoundly humane - I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment.

Bureaucracy and the power of bureaucrats - The State is a collection of officials, different for difference purposes, drawing comfortable incomes so long as the status quo is preserved. The only alteration they are likely to desire in the status quo is an increase of bureaucracy and the power of bureaucrats.

In science the man of real genius - In science the man of real genius is the man who invents a new method. The notable discoveries are often made by his successors, who can apply the method with fresh vigor, unimpaired by the previous labor of perfecting it; but the mental caliber of the thought required for their work, however brilliant, is not so great as that required by the first inventor of the method.

The kernel of the scientific outlook - The kernel of the scientific outlook is a thing so simple, so obvious, so seemingly trivial, that the mention of it may almost excite derision. The kernel of the scientific outlook is the refusal to regard our own desires, tastes, and interests as affording a key to the understanding of the world. Stated thus baldly, this may seem no more than a trite truism. But to remember it consistently in matters arousing our passionate partisanship is by no means easy, especially where the available evidence is uncertain and inconclusive.

Things I state should be so obvious - My desire and wish is that the things I start with should be so obvious that you wonder why I spend my time stating them. This is what I aim at because the point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion - Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

To fear love is to fear life - To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already 3-parts dead.

I do not pretend to prove there is no God - I do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God. I equally cannot prove that Satan is a fiction. The Christian god may exist; so may the gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of even probable knowledge, and therefore there is no reason to consider any of them.

Three passions, simple but overwhelming - 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.

Hang a question mark on things - 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.

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

Using abstraction; the essence of intellect - The power of using abstractions is the essence of intellect, and with every increase in abstraction the intellectual triumphs of science are enhanced.

Algebra at first mystifies the child - In the beginning of algebra, even the most intelligent child finds, as a rule, very great difficulty. The use of letters is a mystery, which seems to have no purpose except mystification. It is almost impossible, at first, not to think that every letter stands for some particular number, if only the teacher would reveal what number it stands for.

The discovery that a question is unanswerable - From the point of view of philosophy, however, the discovery that a question is unanswerable is as complete an answer as any that could possibly be obtained.