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?
To create a healthy philosophy you should renounce metaphysics but be a good mathematician.
Always remember that true happiness is not in getting what you want, but wanting what you already have. He who dies with the most toys is still dead. What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.
There will still be things that machines cannot do. They will not produce great art or great literature or great philosophy; they will not be able to discover the secret springs of happiness in the human heart; they will know nothing of love and friendship.
Aristotle is the last Greek philosopher who faces the world cheerfully; after him, all have, in one form or another, a philosophy of retreat.
Herd pressure is to be judged by two things: first, its intensity, and second, its direction.
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.
The conception of the necessary unit of all that is resolves itself into the poverty of the imagination, and a freer logic emancipates us from the straitwaistcoated benevolent institution, which idealism palms off as the totality of being.
The method of postulating what we want has many advantages; they are the same as the advantages of theft over honest toil.
Love as a relation between men and women was ruined by the desire to make sure of the legitimacy of children.
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.
The axiomatic method has many advantages over honest work.
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?
Broadly speaking, we are in the middle of a race between human skill as a means and human folly as an end.
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.
Every housemaid expects at least once a week as much excitement as would have lasted a Jane Austen heroine throughout a whole novel.
Perhaps the best hope for the future of mankind is that ways will be found of increasing the scope and intensity of sympathy.
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 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.
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.
Ironclads and Maxim guns must be the ultimate arbiters of metaphysical truth.
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.
There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge and wisdom. Shall we instead choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels? I appeal as a human being to human beings; remember your humanity, and forget the rest.
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.
The world that we must seek is a world in which the creative spirit is alive, in which life is an adventure full of joy and hope, based rather upon the impulse to construct than upon the desire to retain what we possess or to seize what is possessed by others.
One of the chief obstacles to intelligence is credulity, and credulity could be enormously diminished by instructions as to the prevalent forms of mendacity.
A million million years gives us some time to prepare for the end ... let us make the best of it.
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.
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?
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 mass cruelty, the expulsions of Germans ordered by the Russians fall not very far short of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis.
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.
Thinking you know when in fact you don't is a fatal mistake, to which we are all prone.
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.
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.
Organic life, we are told, has developed gradually from the protozoon to the philosopher, and this development, we are assured, is indubitably an advance. Unfortunately it is the philosopher, not the protozoon, who gives us this assurance.
The essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held; instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.
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.
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.
Science can teach us, and I think our hearts can teach us, no longer to look around for imaginary supporters, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make the world a fit place to live.
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.
The power of thought, the vast regions it can master.
Boys and girls should be taught respect for each other's liberty... and that jealousy and possessiveness kill love.
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.
Protestants, from the first, have been distinguished from their opponents by what they do not believe; to throw over one more dogma is, therefore, merely to carry the movement one stage further. Moral fervor is the essence of the matter.
No one ever gossips about the virtues of others.
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.
Is there any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it?
Everybody can do something toward creating in his own environment kindly feelings rather than anger, reasonableness rather than hysteria, happiness rather than misery.
The purpose of education is to teach a defense against eloquence.
If one lived for ever the joys of life would inevitably in the end lose their savour. As it is, they remain perennially fresh.
Righteousness cannot be born until self-righteousness is dead.
They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom. Those who continually search for happiness will never find it. Happiness is made, not found. To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.
Real life is, to most men, a long second best, a perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible.
Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear.
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.
If a law were passed giving six months to every writer of a first book, only the good ones would do it.
I cannot escape from the conclusion that the great ages of progress have depended upon a small number of individuals of transcendent ability.
Measures of sterilization should, in my opinion, be very definitely confined to persons who are mentally defective.
Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man.
I believe four ingredients are necessary for happiness: health, warm personal relations, sufficient means to keep you from want, and successful work.
Love should be a tree whose roots are deep in the earth, but whose branches extend into heaven.
Upon hearing via Littlewood an exposition on the theory of relativity: To think I have spent my life on absolute muck.
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.
Any philosophy worth taking seriously would have to be built upon a firm foundation of unyielding despair.
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.
A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of little men, of men unduly divorced from the slow process of nature, of men in whom every vital impulse slowly withers as though they were cut flowers in a vase.
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.
He will see himself and life and the world as truly as our human limitations will permit; realizing the brevity and minuteness of human life, he will realize also that in individual minds is concentrated whatever of value the known universe contains.
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.
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.
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.
Civilized people cannot fully satisfy their sexual instinct without love.
A democrat need not believe that the majority will always reach a wise decision. He should however believe in the necessity of accepting the decision of the majority, be it wise or unwise, until such a time that the majority reaches another decision.
War can only be abolished by the establishment of a world government.
If a Black Death could be spread throughout the world once in every generation survivors could procreate freely without making the world too full.
What hunger is in relation to food, zest is in relation to life.
Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion go hand in hand.
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.
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.
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.
What has human happiness to do with morals? The object of morals is not to make people happy.
Dogmatism is the greatest of mental obstacles to human happiness.
Machines deprive us of two things which are certainly important ingredients of human happiness, namely, spontaneity and variety.
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