In the world of philosophy, Bertrand Russell’s name is well-known. These Bertrand Russell quotes will show you why he is often considered one of the founders of analytic philosophy.
Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher, social critic, essayist, and logician. Over the course of his career, Russell heavily influenced great thinkers in the study of logic, as well as those who studied ethics, politics, and religion.
Russell was considered a controversial figure in philosophy. He was an evangelical atheist, he openly campaigned against the Vietnam War, and he was against using nuclear weapons.
Because of his controversial opinions and actions, Russell was dismissed from both Trinity College in Cambridge and City College in New York. However, he was later awarded an Order of Merit in 1949 as well as a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950.
Below is a list of Bertrand Russell quotes to get your brain cogs turning!
Don’t forget to also check out these Edmund Burke quotes on liberty, power, and virtue.
Bertrand Russell quotes that comment on people and society
1. “Every advance in civilization has been denounced as unnatural while it was recent.” — Bertrand Russell
2. “A man without a bias cannot write interesting history.” — Bertrand Russell
3. “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” — Bertrand Russell
4. “We love those who hate our enemies, and if we had no enemies there would be very few people whom we should love.” — Bertrand Russell
5. “The fundamental defect of fathers is that they want their children to be a credit to them.” — Bertrand Russell
6. “Patriots always talk of dying for their country, and never of killing for their country.” — Bertrand Russel
7. “Acquisitiveness — the wish to possess as much as possible of goods, or the title to goods — is a motive which, I suppose, has its origin in a combination of fear with the desire for necessaries.” — Bertrand Russell
8. “Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of skeptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them.” — Bertrand Russell
9. “Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.” — Bertrand Russell
10. “Humankind has become so much one family that we cannot ensure our own prosperity except by insuring that of everyone else. If you wish to be happy yourself, you must resign yourself to seeing others also happy.” — Bertrand Russell
11. “I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: “The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that’s fair.” In these words, he epitomized the history of the human race.” — Bertrand Russell
12. “Politics is concerned with herds rather than with individuals.” — Bertrand Russell
13. “Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.” — Bertrand Russell
14. “The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” — Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell quotes about love, hate, and relationships
15. “Love can flourish only as long as it is free and spontaneous; it tends to be killed by the thought of duty. To say that it is your duty to love so—and—so is the surest way to cause you to hate him of her.” — Bertrand Russell
16. “The total amount of undesired sex endured by women is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution.” — Bertrand Russell
17. “To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.” — Bertrand Russell
18. “It is normal to hate what we fear, and it happens frequently, though not always, that we fear what we hate.” — Bertrand Russell
19. “A gift is pure when it is given from the heart to the right person at the right time and at the right place, and when we expect nothing in return.” — Bertrand Russell
20. “It’s easy to fall in love. The hard part is finding someone to catch you.” — Bertrand Russell
21. “Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.” — Bertrand Russell
22. “The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” — Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell quotes about education and knowledge
23. “Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.” — Bertrand Russell
24. “A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something that he can understand.” — Bertrand Russell
25. “Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination.” — Bertrand Russell
26. “Whoever wishes to become a philosopher must learn not to be frightened by absurdities.” — Bertrand Russell
27. “One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.” — Bertrand Russell
28. “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.” — Bertrand Russell
29. “Now and then, hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” — Bertrand Russell
30. “Neither acquiescence in skepticism nor acquiescence in dogma is what education should produce.” — Bertrand Russell
31. “To endure uncertainty is difficult, but so are most of the other virtues.” — Bertrand Russell
32. “Religions, which condemn the pleasures of sense, drive men to seek the pleasures of power.” — Bertrand Russell
33. “Most people would die sooner than think — in fact, they do so.” — Bertrand Russell
34. “The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn.” — Bertrand Russell
35. “Knowledge, like other good things, is difficult, but not impossible; the dogmatist forgets the difficulty, the skeptic denies the possibility.” — Bertrand Russell
36. “Beware the man of a single book.” — Bertrand Russell
37. “Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.” — Bertrand Russel
38. “Whatever we know without inference is mental.” — Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell quotes about finding happiness
39. “What is more enviable than happiness?” — Bertrand Russell
40. “Dogmatism is the greatest of mental obstacles to human happiness.” — Bertrand Russell
41. “Good nature is, of all moral qualities, the one that the world needs most, and good nature is the result of ease and security, not of a life of arduous struggle.” — Bertrand Russell
42. “What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.” — Bertrand Russell
43. “It is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.” — Bertrand Russell
44. “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” — Bertrand Russell
More Bertrand Russell quotes
45. “Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth – more than ruin – more even than death.” — Bertrand Russell
46. “Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” — Bertrand Russell
47. “No man is liberated from fear who dare not see his place in the world as it is; no man can achieve the greatness of which he is capable until he has allowed himself to see his own littleness.” — Bertrand Russell
48. “Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.” — Bertrand Russell
49. “War doesn’t decide who is right, war decides who is left.” — Bertrand Russell
50. “No nation was ever so virtuous as each believes itself, and none was ever so wicked as each believes the other.” — Bertrand Russell
Which of these Bertrand Russell quotes was your favorite?
Like many free-thinkers, Bertrand Russell was considered controversial in his time. He was an outspoken man who’s beliefs often went against what was accepted by the general public.
However, it was his ability to think outside of the societal norm that led him to be one of the founding figures in modern analytical philosophy.
Russell’s contribution to the theoretics of mathematics, ethics, epistemology, and logic solidified Russell as one of the principal philosophers of the 20th century.
Russell openly campaigned for his beliefs. His writings on social commentary, politics, war, and other moral subjects won him as much admiration as they did distaste from the public around the world. Nevertheless, Russell held steadfast to his philosophy, despite what the people had to say about him.
Hopefully, these Bertrand Russell quotes will inspire you live life according to your personal beliefs, despite what those around you may think.
Did you enjoy these Bertrand Russell quotes and sayings? Let us know in the comments below.
December 23, 2020 7:00 AM EST