Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
Search Quotes Search Sages Search Chapters

Unpopular Essays

By Bertrand Russell

Quotes from Unpopular Essays

“After the 3rd century BCE, no very important progress was made. At the time of the Renaissance, however, something of what the Greeks had done became known, and greatly facilitated the rise of modern science.”

Chapters:

Comments: Click to comment

“Almost all knowledge is in some degree doubtful... the doubtfulness of what passes for knowledge is a matter of degree”

Chapters:

Themes: Doubt

Comments: Click to comment

“an uncertain hypothesis cannot justify a certain evil unless an equal evil is equally certain on the opposite hypothesis.”

Chapters:

Themes: Evil

Comments: Click to comment

“Before Galileo it was held that there was a radical difference between regions below the moon and regions from the moon upwards... below there was change and decay... From the moon upwards... there was no such thing as change or decay”

Chapters:

Themes: Moon

Comments: Click to comment

“Change is one thing, progress is another. Change is scientific, progress is ethical; change is indubitable, progress is a matter of controversy.”

Chapters:

Comments: Click to comment

“Christianity also did much to soften the lot of slaves. It established charity on a large scale and inaugurated hospitals. Although the great majority of Christians failed lamentably in Christian charity, the ideal remained alive and in every age inspired some notable saints... it passed over into modern Liberalism and remains the inspiration of much that is most hopeful in our sombre world.”

Chapters:

Themes: Christianity

Comments: Click to comment

“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”

Chapters:

Themes: Nationalism

Comments: Click to comment

“Dogmatism is an enemy to peace and an insuperable barrier to democracy... the greatest of the mental obstacles to human happiness.”

Chapters:

Comments: Click to comment

“Even more important that the domestication of animals was the invention of agriculture, which however, introduced bloodthirsty practices into religion that last for many centuries. Fertility rites tended to involve human sacrifice and cannibalism.”

Chapters:

Themes: Agriculture

Comments: Click to comment

“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.”

Chapters:

Themes: Wisdom

Comments: Click to comment

“Government can easily exist without law, but law cannot exist without government... government is necessary if anything worthy to be called civilization is to exist, but all history shows that any set of men entrusted with power over another set will abuse their power if they can do so with impunity.”

Chapters:

Comments: Click to comment

“In every important war since 1700, the more democratic side has been victorious.”

Chapters:

Themes: Democracy War

Comments: Click to comment

“in the past as well as in the present, an... increase of skill has not, of itself, insured any increase of human happiness or well-being.”

Chapters:

Comments: Click to comment

“international government is at least as important to mankind as national government... either man must again become a rare species as in the days of Homo Pekiniensis, or we must learn to submit to an international government. Any such government, whether good, bad or indifferent, will make the continuation of the human species possible”

Chapters:

Comments: Click to comment

“It is to the Greeks that we owe ways of thinking and investigating that have ever since been found fruitful... by the sixth century BCE some of them achieved a degree of enlightened rationalism which cannot be surpassed in the present day.”

Chapters:

Comments: Click to comment

“It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground for supporting it to be true.”

Chapters:

Themes: Belief

Comments: Click to comment

“It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true... if such an opinion became common, it would completely transform our social and political systems.”

Chapters:

Comments: Click to comment

“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.”

Chapters:

Themes: Marriage

Comments: Click to comment

“It was the Stoics who invented the conception of the brotherhood of man. They taught that all men are children of Zeus and that the sage will ignore the distinctions of Greek and barbarian, bond and free. When Rome brought the whole civilized world under one government, the political environment was favorable to the spread of this doctrine.”

Chapters:

Themes: Pluralism

Comments: Click to comment

“Love is something far more than desire for sexual intercourse it is the principal means of escape from the loneliness which afflicts most men and women throughout the greater part of their lives.”

Chapters:

Themes: Sex Love

Comments: Click to comment

“Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.”

Chapters:

Themes: Belief

Comments: Click to comment

“Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false.”

Chapters:

Comments: Click to comment

“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.”

Chapters:

Themes: Fanaticism Fear

Comments: Click to comment

“Only Archimedes foreshadowed the modern use of mathematics by inventing engines of war for the defense of Syracuse against the Romans. A Roman soldier killed him and the mathematicians retired again into their ivory tower.”

Chapters:

Comments: Click to comment

“People attempted to tame whatever animal their religion taught them to worship. The tribes that worshiped lions and crocodiles died out, while those to whom the cow or the sheep was a sacred animal prospered.”

Chapters:

Themes: Religion

Comments: Click to comment

“philosophy can give certain things that will greatly increase the student’s value as a human being… by enlarging the objects of his thoughts, it supplies an antidote to anxieties… and makes possible the nearest approach to serenity available to a sensitive mind in our tortured and uncertain world”

Chapters:

Themes: Philosophy

Comments: Click to comment

“scientific progress without a corresponding moral and political progress may only increase the magnitude of the disaster that misdirected skill may bring about.”

Chapters:

Themes: Progress

Comments: Click to comment

“so long as men are not trained to withhold judgement in the absence of evidence, they will be led astray by cocksure prophets, and it is likely that their leaders will be either ignorant fanatics or dishonest charlatans.”

Chapters: 26. The Still Rule the Restless

Comments: Click to comment

“the demand for certainty is an intellectual vice”

Chapters: 65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

Themes: Doubt

Comments: Click to comment

“The distinction between words and what they designate is one which it is difficult always to remember... [the confused believe that ] Sentences have subjects and predicates, therefore the world consists of substances with attributes.”

Chapters:

Comments: Click to comment

“The genuine Liberal does not say ‘this is true’, he says ‘I am inclined to think that under present circumstances this opinion is probably the best.’”

Chapters:

Themes: Opinion

Comments: Click to comment

“Trade brings men into contact with tribal customs different from their own, and in so doing destroys the dogmatism of the untravelled.”

Chapters:

Themes: Capitalism Travel

Comments: Click to comment

“We know what the Nazis did to Jews at Auschwitz. In mass cruelty, the expulsions of Germans ordered by the Russians fall not far short of the atrocities perpetuated by the Nazis.”

Chapters:

Comments: Click to comment

“We suffer not only the evils that actually befall us, but all those what our intelligence tells us we have reason to fear... forethought averts physical disaster at the cost of worry, and general lack of joy.”

Chapters:

Themes: Evil Strategy

Comments: Click to comment

“wisdom is... more needed now than ever before, because the rapid growth of technique has made ancient habits of thought and action more inadequate than in any earlier time.”

Chapters:

Comments: Click to comment

“Within the herd we are more friendly to each other than are many species of animals, but in our attitude toward those outside the herd, in spite of all that has been done by moralists and religious teachers, our emotions are as ferocious as those of any animal, and our intelligence enables us to give them a scope which is denied to even the most savage beast.”

Chapters:

Comments: Click to comment

Related Lineages (0 lineages)

Quotes about Unpopular Essays (0 quotes)

Comments (0)