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.
It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.
In his school, Bertrand Russell thought it was better if they had the sex, so they could give their undivided attention to mathematics, which was the main thing.
The problem of political theory is how to combine that degree of individual initiative which is necessary for progress, with the degree of social cohesion which is necessary for survival.
The centre of me is always and eternally in terrible pain ... A searching for something beyond what the world contains, something transﬁguring and inﬁnite.
It is not what the man of science believes that distinguishes him, but how and why he believes it. His beliefs are tentative, not dogmatic; they are based on evidence, not on authority or intuition.
I remember the philosopher Bertrand Russell was asked why he spent his time protesting against nuclear war and getting arrested on demonstrations. Why didn’t he continue to work on the serious philosophical and logical problems which have major intellectual significance? And his answer was pretty good. He said: “Look, if I and others like me only work on those problems, there won’t be anybody around to appreciate it or be interested.
If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.
When you come to look into this argument from design, it is a most astonishing thing that people can believe that this world, with all the things that are in it, with all its defects, should be the best that omnipotence and omniscience have been able to produce in millions of years. I really cannot believe it. Do you think that, if you were granted omnipotence and omniscience and millions of years in which to perfect your world, you could produce nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan or the Fascists? Moreover, if you accept the ordinary laws of science, you have to suppose that human life and life in general on this planet will die out in due course: it is a stage in the decay of the solar system; at a certain stage of decay you get the sort of conditions of temperature and so forth which are suitable to protoplasm, and there is life for a short time in the life of the whole solar system. You see in the moon the sort of thing to which the earth is tending -- something dead, cold, and lifeless.
Nothing can penetrate the loneliness of the human heart except the highest intensity of the sort of love the religious teachers have preached.