Animal rights, taken to their logical conclusion, mean votes for oysters.
No satisfaction based upon self-deception is solid.
No one gossips about other people's secret virtues.
Travelling, whether in the mental or the physical world, is a joy, and it is good to know that, in the mental world at least, there are vast countries still very imperfectly explored.
The secret to happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible.
When the journey from means to end is not too long, the means themselves are enjoyed if the end is ardently desired.
It is not by delusion, however exalted, that mankind can prosper, but only by unswerving courage in the pursuit of truth.
What was exciting in the Victorian Age, would leave a man of franker epoch quite unmoved. The more prudes restrict the permissible degree of sexual appeal, the less is required to make such an appeal effective.
What has human happiness to do with morals? The object of morals is not to make people happy.
Civilized people cannot fully satisfy their sexual instinct without love.
Even in the most purely logical realms, it is insight that first arrives at what is new.
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.
Love is a little haven of refuge from the world.
Make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life.
Unless a man has been taught what to do with success after getting it, the achievement of it must inevitably leave him a prey to boredom.
The man who has fed the chicken every day throughout its life at last wrings its neck instead, showing that more refined views as to the uniformity of nature would have been useful to the chicken.
Machines deprive us of two things which are certainly important ingredients of human happiness, namely, spontaneity and variety.
The man who only loves beautiful things is dreaming, whereas the man who knows absolute beauty is wide awake.
At all times, except when a monarch could enforce his will, war has been facilitated by the fact that vigorous males, confident of victory, enjoyed it, while their females admired them for their prowess.
Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man.
The faculty of being acquainted with things other than itself is the main characteristic of a mind.
In human relations one should penetrate to the core of loneliness in each person and speak to that.
So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.
I resolved from the beginning of my quest that I would not be misled by sentiment and desire into beliefs for which there was no good evidence.
Orthodoxy is the death of intelligence.
The Ten Commandments should be headed like an examination paper: No more than six to be attempted.
All the labor of all the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius are destined to extinction. So now, my friends, if that is true, and it is true, what is the point?
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.
Aristotle and Plato considered Greeks so innately superior to barbarians that slavery is justified so long as the master is Greek and the slave barbarian.
One of the chief obstacles to intelligence is credulity, and credulity could be enormously diminished by instructions as to the prevalent forms of mendacity.
The dictum that human nature cannot be changed is one of those tiresome platitudes that conceal from the ignorant the depths of their own ignorance.
It is because modern education is so seldom inspired by a great hope that it so seldom achieves great results.
A truer image of the world, I think, is obtained by picturing things as entering into the stream of time from an eternal world outside, than from a view which regards time as the devouring tyrant of all that is.
Inferences of Science and Common Sense differ from those of deductive logic and mathematics in a very important respect, namely, when the premises are true and the reasoning correct, the conclusion is only probable.
In considering irregular appearances, there are certain very natural mistakes which must be avoided.
An irrational fear should never be simply let alone, but should be gradually overcome by familiarity with its fainter forms.
To expect a personality to survive the disintegration of the brain is like expecting a cricket club to survive when all of its members are dead.
There are two motives for reading a book: one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.
It is flattering to suppose that the universe is controlled by a Being who shares our taste and prejudices.
More cranks take up unfashionable errors than unfashionable truths.
Extreme hopes are born of extreme misery, and in such a world hopes could only be irrational.
William James used to preach the 'will to believe.' For my part, I should wish to preach the 'will to doubt' ... what is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite.
I wish to understand Plato, but to treat him with as little reverence as if he were a contemporary English or American advocate of totalitarianism.
Human nature is so constructed that it gives affection most readily to those who seem least to demand it.
Politics is concerned with herds rather than with individuals, and the passions which are important in politics are, therefore, those in which the various members of a given herd can feel alike.
When two great powers disagree about anything -- it doesn't matter what -- they must find a way to settle it somehow by arbitration or by negotiation, not by war or threat of war.
Punctuality is a quality the need of which is bound up with social co-operation.
The pursuit of social success, in the form of prestige or power or both, is the most important obstacle in a competitive society.
Skilled work, of no matter what kind, is only done well by those who take a certain pleasure in it, quite apart from its utility, either to themselves in earning a living, or to the world through its outcome.
One comes across white men occasionally who suffer under the delusion that China is not a civilized country. Such men have forgotten what constitutes civilization.
In all the creative work that I have done, what has come first is a problem, a puzzle involving discomfort.
Nothing can penetrate the loneliness of the human heart except the highest intensity of the sort of love the religious teachers have preached.
Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.
Measures of sterilization should, in my opinion, be very definitely confined to persons who are mentally defective.
I think periods of browsing during which no occupation is imposed from without are important in youth because they give time for the formation of these apparently fugitive but really vital impressions.
There is an element of the busybody in our conception of virtue: unless a man makes himself a nuisance to a great many people, we do not think he can be an exceptionally good man.
The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.
Our instinctive emotions are those that we have inherited from a much more dangerous world, and contain, therefore, a larger portion of fear than they should.
Boredom is a vital problem for the moralist, since half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.
I went to Salt Lake City and the Mormons tried to convert me, but when I found they forbade tea and tobacco I thought it was no religion for me.
Love is a slippery eel that bites like hell.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.
Every advance in civilization has been denounced as unnatural while it was recent.
The most savage controversies are about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.
The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake.
Plato has dramatic strength ... but is quite unaware of the strength of the argument against his position ... and allows himself to be grossly unfair in arguing against it.
The atomic bomb embodies the results of a combination genius and patience as remarkable as any in the history of mankind.
No matter how eloquently a dog may bark, he cannot tell you that his parents were poor, but honest.
Boredom is a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.
The axiomatic method has many advantages over honest work.
It is a natural propensity to attribute misfortune to someone's malignity.
One who believes, as I do, that the free intellect is the chief engine of human progress, cannot but be fundamentally opposed to Bolshevism, as much as to the Church of Rome.
Although it is a gloomy view to suppose that life will die out, sometimes when I contemplate the things that people do with their lives I think it is almost a consolation.
Remember your humanity, and forget the rest.
This is one of those views which are so absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them.
Logic must no more admit a unicorn than zoology can.
Those who advocate common usage in philosophy sometimes speak in a manner that suggests the mystique of the 'common man.'
The scientific attitude of mind involves a sweeping away of all other desires in the interest of the desire to know.
To realize the unimportance of time is the gate to wisdom.
Freedom of opinion can only exist when the government thinks itself secure.
The typical Westerner wishes to be the cause of as many changes as possible in his environment; the typical Chinaman wishes to enjoy as much and as delicately as possible.
If a Black Death could be spread throughout the world once in every generation survivors could procreate freely without making the world too full.
I used often to go to America during Prohibition, and there was far more drunkenness there then than before; the prohibition of pornography has much the same effect.
In mass cruelty, the expulsions of Germans ordered by the Russians fall not very far short of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis.
From India to Spain, the brilliant civilization of Islam flourished. What was lost to christendom at this time was not lost to civilization, but quite the contrary.
There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths.
Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true.
When the intensity of emotional conviction subsides, a man who is in the habit of reasoning will search for logical grounds in favour of the belief which he finds in himself.
Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.
In the revolt against idealism, the ambiguities of the word experience have been perceived, with the result that realists have more and more avoided the word.
Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear.....Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion has gone hand-in-hand.
Where envy is unavoidable it must be used as a stimulus to one's own efforts, not to the thwarting of the efforts of rivals.
The average man's opinions are much less foolish than they would be if he thought for himself.
Mathematics is, I believe, the chief source of the belief in eternal and exact truth, as well as a sensible intelligible world.
Moral indignation is one of the most harmful forces in the modern world, the more so as it can always be diverted to sinister uses by those who control propaganda.
In the part of this universe that we know there is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which of those is the more annoying.
The qualities most needed are charity and tolerance, not some form of fanatical faith such as is offered to us by the various rampant isms.
The pleasure of work is open to anyone who can develop some specialised skill, provided that he can get satisfaction from the exercise of his skill without demanding universal applause.
Boredom is... a vital problem for the moralist, since half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.
I consider the official Catholic attitude on divorce, birth control, and censorship exceedingly dangerous to mankind.
The three main extra-rational activities in modern life are religion, war, and love. all these are extra-rational, but love is not anti-rational, that is to say, a reasonable man may reasonably rejoice in its existence.
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.
Through the greatness of the universe, which philosophy contemplates, the mind also is rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good.
All movements go too far.
The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
A widespread belief is more often likely to be foolish than sensible.
One is always a little afraid of love, but above all, one is afraid of pain or causing pain.
Is there any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it?
To create a healthy philosophy you should renounce metaphysics but be a good mathematician.
I am as drunk as a lord, but then, I am one, so what does it matter ?
Laughter is the most inexpensive and most effective wonder drug. Laughter is a universal medicine.
The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt.
I remain convinced that obstinate addiction to ordinary language in our private thoughts is one of the main obstacles to progress in philosophy.
The biggest cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid people are so sure about things and the intelligent folks are so full of doubts.
Beggars do not envy millionaires, though of course they will envy other beggars who are more successful.
I dislike Communism because it is undemocratic, and capitalism because it favors exploitation.
Human life, its growth, its hopes, fears, loves, et cetera, are the result of accidents.
The pure mathematician, like the musician, is a free creator of his world of ordered beauty.
One's work is never so bad as it appears on bad days, nor so good as it appears on good days.
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.
In a wise community a wise man would not seem foolish!
Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty -- a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture.
Life is just one cup of coffee after another, and don't look for anything else.
It is a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly just as it is to be angry with a car that won't go.
The fundamental principle in the analysis of propositions containing descriptions is this: Every proposition which we can understand must be composed wholly of constituents with which we are acquainted.
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists -- that is why they invented hell.
When I was a child ... Only virtue was prized, virtue at the expense of intellect, health, happiness, and every mundane good.
The "social contract," in the only sense in which it is not completely mythical, is a contract among conquerors, which loses its raison d'être if they are deprived of the benefits of conquest.
A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy can live.
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.
It will be found, as men grow more tolerant in their instincts,
that many uniformities now insisted upon are useless and even harmful.
The people who are regarded as moral luminaries are those who forego ordinary pleasures themselves and find compensation in interfering with the pleasures of others.
Suppose atomic bombs had reduced the population of the world to one brother and sister; should they let the human race die out?
I do not think that the real reason why people accept religion has anything to do with argumentation. They accept religion on emotional grounds.
It seems to me a fundamental dishonesty, and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it's useful and not because you think it's true.
If I were granted omnipotence, and millions of years to experiment in, I should not think Man much to boast of as the final result of all my efforts.
Ethics is in origin the art of recommending to others the sacrifices required for cooperation with oneself.
I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment.
In emancipation from the fears that beset the slave of circumstance he will experience a profound joy, and through all the vicissitudes of his outward life he will remain in the depths of his being a happy man.
The trouble with the world is that the stupid are so confident while the intelligent are full of doubt.
Extreme hopes are born from extreme misery.
Marriage is for women the commonest mode of livelihood, and the total amount of undesired sex endured by women is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution.
Boredom is therefore a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.
I am myself a dissenter from all known religions, and I hope that every kind of religious belief will die out.
True happiness for human beings is possible only to those who develop their godlike potentialities to the utmost.
The universe may have a purpose, but nothing we know suggests that, if so, this purpose has any similarity to ours.
Marx's father became a Christian when Marx was a little boy, and some, at least, of the dogmas he must have then accepted seem to have born fruit in his son's psychology.
Power is sweet; it is a drug, the desire for which increases with a habit.
I do not pretend to start with precise questions. I do not think you can start with anything precise. You have to achieve such precision as you can, as you go along.
The ideal of an "all-round" education is out of date; it has been destroyed by the progress of knowledge.
To save the world requires faith and courage: faith in reason, and courage to proclaim what reason shows to be true.
Dogmatism and skepticism are both, in a sense, absolute philosophies; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing. What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or ignorance.
Machines are worshipped because they are beautiful and valued because they confer power; they are hated because they are hideous and loathed because they impose slavery.
War can only be abolished by the establishment of a world government.
Curious learning not only makes unpleasant things less unpleasant but also makes pleasant things more pleasant.
The finding of arguments for a conclusion given in advance is not philosophy, but special pleading.
Mathematics takes us into the region of absolute necessity, to which not only the actual word, but every possible word, must conform.
Most people would sooner die than start to think. In fact -- they do so.
Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.
A man is rational in proportion as his intelligence informs and controls his desires.
The happiness that is genuinely satisfying is accompanied by the fullest exercise of our faculties and the fullest realization of the world in which we live.
Is a man what he seems to the astronomer, a tiny lump of impure carbon and water crawling impotently on a small and unimportant planet? Or is he what he appears to Hamlet? Is he perhaps both as once?
Love can only flourish as long as it is free and spontaneous; it tends to be killed by the thought that it is a duty. To say that it is your duty to love so-and-so is the surest way to cause you to hate him or her.
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.
All the important human advances that we know of since historical times began have been due to individuals of whom the majority faced virulent public opposition.
The man who can centre his thoughts and hopes upon something transcending self can find a certain peace in the ordinary troubles of life, which is impossible to the pure egoist.
Upon hearing via Littlewood an exposition on the theory of relativity: To think I have spent my life on absolute muck.
If a law were passed giving six months to every writer of a first book, only the good ones would do it.
I am compelled to fear that science will be used to promote the power of dominant groups rather than to make men happy.
The desire for legitimate offspring is, in fact, according to the Catholic Church, the only motive which can justify sexual intercourse.
Patriotism which has the quality of intoxication is a danger not only to its native land but to the world, and "My country never wrong" is an even more dangerous maxim than "My country, right or wrong.
There is little of the true philosophic spirit in Aquinas. He does not, like the Platonic Socrates, set out to follow wherever the argument may lead.
God and Satan alike are essentially human figures, the one a projection of ourselves, the other of our enemies.
I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.
The first dogma which I came to disbelieve was that of free will. It seemed to me that all notions of matter were determined by the laws of dynamics and could not therefore be influenced by human wills.
It is permissible with certain precautions to speak in print of coitus, but it is not permissible to employ the monosyllabic synonym for this word.
No man can be a good teacher unless he has feelings of warm affection toward his pupils and a genuine desire to impart to them what he believes to be of value.
When the state intervenes to insure the indoctrination of some doctrine, it does so because there is no conclusive evidence in favor of that doctrine.
Sin is geographical.
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.
I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its Churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.
Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives' mouths.
To understand the actual world as it is, not as we should wish it to be, is the beginning of wisdom.
Organized people are just too lazy to look for things.
A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy dare live.
To think I have spent my life on absolute muck.
What will be the good of the conquest of leisure and health, if no one remembers how to use them?
We know very little, and yet it is astonishing that we know so much, and still more astonishing that so little knowledge can give us so much power.
To choose one sock from each of infinitely many pairs of socks requires the Axiom of Choice, but for shoes the Axiom is not needed.
Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion go hand in hand.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones. Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty.
There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.
Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom.
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.
All that alcohol does for them is to liberate the sense of sin, which reason suppresses in saner moments.
Altogether it will be found that a quiet life is characteristic of great men, and that their pleasures have not been of the sort that would look exciting to the outward eye.
The first effect of emancipation from the Church was not to make men think rationally, but to open their minds to every sort of antique nonsense.
Too little liberty brings stagnation, and too much brings chaos.
Reason is a harmonizing, controlling force rather than a creative one.
One must care about a world one will never see.
I cannot escape from the conclusion that the great ages of progress have depended upon a small number of individuals of transcendent ability.
The very best proof that something can be done is that someone has already done it.
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.
Organizing your leisure effectively is the highest level of civilization.
Man can be stimulated by hope or driven by fear, but the hope and the fear must be vivid and immediate if they are to be effective without producing weariness.
I often long to ... give up my life to love of my neighbour. This is really a temptation.
For the learning of every virtue there is an appropriate discipline, and for the learning of suspended judgment the best discipline is philosophy.
Ideas and principles that do harm are as a rule, though not always, cloaks for evil passions.
Drunkenness is temporary suicide.
Mathematics takes us still further from what is human into the region of absolute necessity, to which not only the actual world, but ever possible world, must conform.
Calculus required continuity, and continuity was supposed to require the infinitely little; but nobody could discover what the infinitely little might be.
Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
Reason is a harmonising, controlling force rather than a creative one.
Herd pressure is to be judged by two things: first, its intensity, and second, its direction.
Government can easily exist without laws, but law cannot exist without government.
Real life is, to most men, a long second best, a perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible.
Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake.
Whether science-and indeed civilization in general-can long survive depends upon psychology, that is to say, it depends upon what human beings desire.
I did not, however, commit suicide, because I wished to know more of mathematics.
A million million years gives us some time to prepare for the end ... let us make the best of it.
Liberty is the right to do what I like; license, the right to do what you like.
You are a wicked motorcar, and I shall not give you any more petrol until you go.
Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.
The whiter my hair becomes, the more ready people are to believe what I say.
The legacy of Greece to Western philosophy is Western philosophy.
Physics is mathematical not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little; it is only its mathematical properties that we can discover.
In the ordinary business of life punctuality is ... necessary.
No; we have been as usual asking the wrong question. It does not matter a hoot what the mockingbird on the chimney is singing. The real and proper question is: Why is it beautiful?
Machines have altered our way of life, but not our instincts. Consequently, there is maladjustment.
To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.
One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.
Aristotle could have avoided the mistake of thinking that women have fewer teeth than men, by the simple device of asking Mrs. Aristotle to keep her mouth open while he counted.
The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as poetry.
In a just world, there would be no possibility of 'charity'.
Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.
Humanistic ethics is based on the principle that only humans themselves can determine the criterion for virtue and not an authority transcending us.
People who are vigorous and brutal often find war enjoyable.
To like many people spontaneously and without effort is perhaps the greatest of all sources of personal happiness.
The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
The resistance to a new idea increases by the square of its importance.
Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear.
Love should be a tree whose roots are deep in the earth, but whose branches extend into heaven.
The purpose of education is to teach a defense against eloquence.
To be able to concentrate for a considerable time is essential to difficult achievement.
I never held Negroes to be inherently inferior. The statement in Marriage and Morals refers to environmental conditioning. I have had it withdrawn from subsequent editions because it is clearly ambiguous.
Many of the actions by which men have become rich are far more harmful to the community than the obscure crimes of poor men, yet they go unpunished because they do not interfere with the existing order.
If one lived for ever the joys of life would inevitably in the end lose their savour. As it is, they remain perennially fresh.
Mystery is delightful, but unscientific, since it depends upon ignorance.
But I simply can't stand a view limited to this earth, I feel life is so small unless it has windows into other worlds...I like mathematics largely because it is not human.
Mathematics rightly viewed possesses not only truth but supreme beauty.
We are all prone to the malady of the introvert who with the manifold spectacle of the world spread out before him, turns away and gazes only upon the emptiness within.
Time you enjoy wasting, was is wasted time.
The camera is as subjective as we are.
The fundamental concept in social science is power, in the same sense in which energy is the fundamental concept in physics.
Keeping an open mind is a virtue, but not so open that your brains fall out.
The Mormons had a divine revelation in favour of polygamy, but under pressure from the United States Government they discovered that the revelation was not binding.
What hunger is in relation to food, zest is in relation to life.
All forms of fear produce fatigue.
Dogmatism is the greatest of mental obstacles to human happiness.
Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
Law in origin was merely a codification of the power of dominant groups, and did not aim at anything that to a modern man would appear to be justice.
Broadly speaking, we are in the middle of a race between human skill as a means and human folly as an end.
Science tells us what we can know, but what we can know is little, and if we forget how much we cannot know we become insensitive to many things of great importance.
Televison allows thousands of people to laugh at the same joke and still remain alone.
When I found myself regarded as respectable, I began to wonder what sins I had committed. I must be very wicked, I thought. I began to engage in the most uncomfortable introspection.
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.
Heretical views arise when the truth is uncertain, and it is only when the truth is uncertain that censorship is invoked.
When conscious activity is wholly concentrated on some one definite purpose, the ultimate result, for most people, is lack of balance accompanied by some form of nervous disorder.
No nation was ever so virtuous as each believes itself, and none was ever so wicked as each believes the other.
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.
The more we realize our minuteness and our impotence in the face of cosmic forces, the more amazing becomes what human beings have achieved.
All the conditions of happiness are realized in the life of the man of science.
All's well that ends well; which is the epitaph I should put on my tombstone if I were the last man left alive.
To the primitive mind, everything is either friendly or hostile; but experience has shown that friendliness and hostility are not the conceptions by which the world is to be understood.
Love as a relation between men and women was ruined by the desire to make sure of the legitimacy of children.
Why is propaganda so much more successful when it stirs up hatred than when it tries to stir up friendly feeling?
No one ever gossips about the virtues of others.
I have come to realize that an early symptom of approaching mental illness is the belief that one's work is terribly important. If you consider your work very important you should take a day off.
Arithmetic must be discovered in just the same sense in which Columbus discovered the West Indies, and we no more create numbers than he created the Indians.
It's a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly, just as it is to be angry with a car that won't go.
None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.
What men want is not knowledge, but certainty.
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.
A man of Seville is shaved by the Barber of Seville if and only if the man does not shave himself. Does the barber shave himself?
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.
To the primitive mind, everything is either friendly or hostile; but experience has shown that friendliness and hostility are not the conceptions by which the world is to be understood.
Emphatic and reiterated assertion, especially during childhood, produces in most people a belief so firm as to have a hold even over the unconscious.
Boys and young men acquire readily the moral sentiments of their social milieu, whatever these sentiments may be.
The Axiom of Choice is necessary to select a set from an infinite number of socks, but not an infinite number of shoes.
The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.
Sometimes the hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn.
There is no need to worry about mere size. We do not necessarily respect a fat man more than a thin man. Sir Isaac Newton was very much smaller than a hippopotamus, but we do not on that account value him less.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so sure of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts.
For a good notation has a subtlety and suggestiveness which at times make it seem almost like a live teacher.
To avoid the various foolish opinions to which mankind are prone, no superhuman genius is required. A few simple rules will keep you, not from all error, but from silly error.
Few people can be happy unless they hate some other person, nation, or creed.
A man's acts are partly determined by spontaneous impulse, partly by the conscious and unconscious effects of the various groups to which he belongs.
The method of "postulating" what we want has many advantages; they are the same as the advantages of theft over honest toil.
Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country.
There is darkness without and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendor, nor vastness anywhere; only triviality for a moment and then nothing.
Science is what you know, philosophy is what you don't know.
The true spirit of delight...is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.
The wise use of leisure, it must be conceded, is a product of civilization and education.
There are certain things that our age needs. It needs, above all, courageous hope and the impulse to creativeness.
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.
Love is wise -- Hatred is foolish.
The commonest objection to birth control is that it is against nature.
Next to enjoying ourselves, the next greatest pleasure consists in preventing others from enjoying themselves, or, more generally, in the acquisition of power.
John Locke invented common sense, and only Englishmen have had it ever since!
Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination.
Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
The pursuit of social success, in the form of prestige or power or both, is the most important obstacle to happiness in a competitive society.
Those who forget good and evil and seek only to know the facts are more likely to achieve good than those who view the world through the distorting medium of their own desires.
One of the main causes of trouble in the world is dogmatic and fanatical belief in some doctrine for which there is no adequate evidence.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.
Mankind is divided into two classes: those who, being artificial, praise nature, and those who, being natural, praise art.
You could live without the opera singer, but not without the services of the baker. On this ground you might say that the baker performs a greater service; but no lover of music would agree.
I think it would be just to say the most essential characteristic of mind is memory, using this word in its broadest sense to include every influence of past experience on present reactions.
Naive realism leads to physics, and physics, if true, shows naive realism to be false. Therefore naive realism, if true, is false; therefore it is false.
Patriots always talk of dying for their country but never of killing for their country.
Worry is a form of fear.
We know too much and feel too little.
The Eugenic Society ... is perpetually bewailing the fact that wage-earners breed faster than middle-class people.
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.
Both in thought and in feeling, even though time be real, to realise the unimportance of time is the gate of wisdom.
Boys and girls should be taught respect for each other's liberty... and that jealousy and possessiveness kill love.
I am firm; YOU are obstinate; HE is a pig-headed fool.
Plato possessed the art to dress up illiberal suggestions in such a way that they deceived future ages, which admired the Republic without ever becoming aware of what was involved in its proposals.
The ... increase in the power of officials is a constant source of irritation to everybody else.
But the discipline you have in your life should be one determined by your own desires and your own needs, not put upon you by society or authority.
Aristotle is the last Greek philosopher who faces the world cheerfully; after him, all have, in one form or another, a philosophy of retreat.
It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.
Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves.
There are two motives for reading a book; one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.
Since Adam and Eve ate the apple, man has never refrained from any folly of which he was capable.
In a democracy it is necessary that people should learn to endure having their sentiments outraged.
Moral progress has consisted in the main of protest against cruel customs, and of attempts to enlarge human sympathy.
Those who in principle oppose birth control are either incapable of arithmetic or else in favor of war, pestilence and famine as permanent features of human life.
Any philosophy worth taking seriously would have to be built upon a firm foundation of unyielding despair.
Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them.
I do not pretend that birth control is the only way in which population can be kept from increasing. There are others, which, one must suppose, opponents of birth control would prefer.
It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
If any philosopher had been asked for a definition of infinity, he might have produced some unintelligible rigmarole, but he would certainly not have been able to give a definition that had any meaning at all.
Even if we could be certain that one of the world's religions were perfectly true, given the sheer number of conflicting faiths on offer, every believer should expect damnation purely as a matter of probability.
Our individual life is brief, and perhaps the whole life of mankind will be brief if measured in astronomical scale.
Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
All the time that he can spare from the adornment of his person, he devotes to the neglect of his duties.
If we were all given by magic the power to read each other's thoughts, I suppose the first effect would be to dissolve all friendships.
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.
Belief in a Divine mission is one of the many forms of certainty that have afflicted the human race.
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.
It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.
I do not think any reasonable person can doubt that in India, China and Japan, if the knowledge of birth control existed, the birthrate would fall very rapidly.
The importance of time is rather practical than theoretical, rather in relation to our desires than in relation to truth.
My own view on religion is ... It helped in early days to fix the calendar, and ... to chronicle eclipses ... These two services I am prepared to acknowledge.
The desire to understand the world and the desire to reform it are the two great engines of progress, without which human society would stand still or retrogress.
An individual human existence should be like a river.
There is as much difference between a collection of mentally free citizens and a community molded by modern methods of propaganda as there is between a heap of raw materials and a battleship.
The use of self control is like the use of brakes on train. It is useful when you find yourself in wrong direction but merely harmful when the direction is right.
I believe four ingredients are necessary for happiness: health, warm personal relations, sufficient means to keep you from want, and successful work.
Ethical metaphysics is fundamentally an attempt, however disguised, to give legislative force to our own wishes.
Modern life cannot be constructed on ... physically strenuous principles. A great deal of work is sedentary, and most manual work exercises only a few specialized muscles.
No great achievement is possible without persistent work.
The first essential character of civilization, I should say, is forethought. This, indeed, is what mainly distinguishes men from brutes and adults from children.
It is the things for which there is no evidence that are believed with passion.
There's a Bible on that shelf there. But I keep it next to Voltaire -- poison and antidote.
No satisfaction based upon self-deception is solid, and however unpleasant the truth may be, it is better to face it once and for all, to get used to it, and to proceed to build your life in accordance with it.
Change is scientific; progress is ethical; change is indubitable, whereas progress is a matter of controversy.
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell.
Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken.
It is possible that mankind is on the threshold of a golden age; but, if so, it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door, and this dragon is religion.
Uncertainty in the pressure of vivid hopes and fears is painful, but must be endured if we wish to live without the support of comforting fairy tales.
The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy; I mean that if you are happy you will be good.
What hunger is in relation to food, zest is in relation to life..
The discipline in your life should be one determined by your own desires and your own needs, not put upon you by society or authority.
Thinking you know when in fact you don't is a fatal mistake, to which we are all prone.
Every housemaid expects at least once a week as much excitement as would have lasted a Jane Austen heroine throughout a whole novel.
Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
The power of thought, the vast regions it can master.
The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile.
The place of the father in the modern suburban family is very small one, particularly if he plays golf.
It seems to be the fate of idealists to obtain what they have struggled for in a form which destroys their ideals.
Every great idea starts out as a blasphemy.
There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our thoughts.
The degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts -- the less you know the hotter you get.
I do not believe that I am now dreaming, but I cannot prove that I am not. I am, however, quite certain that I am having certain experiences, whether they be those of a dream or those of waking life.
It might seem that the empirical philosopher is the slave of his material, but that the pure mathematician, like the musician, is a free creator of his world of ordered beauty.
Every sane and sensible and quiet thing we do is absolutely ignored by the press.
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.
It is not known why the Lord made the human body as he did, since one might suppose that omnipotence could have made it such as would not have shocked the nice people.
A world without delight and without affection is a world destitute of value.
A great many worries can be diminished by realizing the unimportance of the matter which is causing anxiety.
Civilized life has altogether grown too tame, and, if it is to be stable, it must provide a harmless outlets for the impulses which our remote ancestors satisfied in hunting.
A habit of basing convictions upon evidence, and of giving to them only that degree or certainty which the evidence warrants, would, if it became general, cure most of the ills from which the world suffers.
You may reasonably expect a man to walk a tightrope safely for ten minutes; it would be unreasonable to do so without accident for two hundred years.
The objection to propaganda is not only its appeal to unreason, but still more the unfair advantage which it gives to the rich and powerful.
Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty.
Everybody can do something toward creating in his own environment kindly feelings rather than anger, reasonableness rather than hysteria, happiness rather than misery.
Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact.
There have been poverty, pestilence, and famine, which were due to man's inadequate mastery of nature. There have been wars, oppressions and tortures which have been due to men's hostility to their fellow men.
To fear love is to fear life.
Dread of disaster makes everybody act in the very way that increases the disaster.
It's coexistence or no existence.
Cynicism such as one finds very frequently among the most highly educated young men and women of the West, results from the combination of comfort and powerlessness.
Drunkenness is temporary suicide: the happiness that it brings is merely negative, a momentary cessation of unhappiness.
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.
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.
The luxury to disparage freedom is the privilege of those who already possess it.
Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, Thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought is great and swift and free.
The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
For my part I distrust all generalizations about women, favorable and unfavorable, masculine and feminine, ancient and modern; all alike, I should say, result from paucity of experience.
The essence of life is doing things for their own sakes.
Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.
The more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs.
Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.
Joy of life... depends upon a certain spontaneity in regard to sex. Where sex is repressed, only work remains, and a gospel of work for work's sake never produced any work worth doing.
None of our beliefs are quite true; all have at least a penumbra of vagueness and error.
Ironclads and Maxim guns must be the ultimate arbiters of metaphysical truth.
The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
To understand a name you must be acquainted with the particular of which it is a name.
Worry is a form of fear, and all forms of fear produce fatigue. A man who has learned not to feel fear will find the fatigue of daily life enormously diminished.
Righteousness cannot be born until self-righteousness is dead.
The saviors of the world, society's last hope.
The nonexistence of God makes more difference to some of us than to others. To me, it means that there is no absolute morality, that moralities are sets of social conventions devised by humans to satisfy their needs.
I feel as if one would only discover on one's death bed what one ought to have lived for.
I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue.
The search for something permanent is one of the deepest of the instincts leading men to philosophy.
Only mathematics and mathematical logic can say as little as the physicist means to say.
I believe in using words, not fists. I believe in my outrage knowing people are living in boxes on the street. I believe in honesty. I believe in a good time. I believe in good food. I believe in sex.
Perhaps the best hope for the future of mankind is that ways will be found of increasing the scope and intensity of sympathy.