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Lest We Forget

"In days long gone, in those halcyon days, the entire nation would sit down with bottles of stout and plates of dripping to watch a programme in which an enthusiastically cigarette-smoking Bertrand Russell, or someone of similar super-intelligence, sat motionless in a chair and discussed for hours the finer points of philosophy in incredible detail with an equally un-televisual man.”Where have all the thinkers gone?


Bertrand Russell, the great British philosopher and social critic, appeared on the BBC programme ‘Face-to-Face’ in 1959 and was asked a closing question: ‘What would you tell a generation living 1,000 years from now about the life you’ve lived and the lessons you’ve learned’. His answer is short, but pithy. 

I should like to say two things, one intellectual and one moral:

The intellectual thing I should want to say to them is this: When you are studying any matter or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe or by what you think would have beneficial social effects if it were believed, but look only and solely at what are the facts. That is the intellectual thing that I should wish to say.

The moral thing I should wish to say to them is very simple. I should say: Love is wise, hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other. We have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way, and if we are to live together and not die together we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.’- Excerpts from Open Culture

See also: Three Passions of Bertrand Russell (and a Collection of Free Texts)

Bertrand Russell - Message To Future Generations - YouTube--Watch the Video HERE


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