In adolescence, I hated life and was continually on the verge of suicide, from which, however, I was restrained by the desire to know more mathematics. Now, on the contrary, I enjoy life; I might almost say that with every year that passes I enjoy it more.
It is in our hearts that evil lies, and it is from our hearts that it must be plucked out.
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.
...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.
A world without delight and without affection is a world destitute of value.
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.
We do not like to be robbed of an enemy; we want someone to hate when we suffer. It is so depressing to think that we suffer because we are fools; yet, taking mankind in the mass, that is the truth.
Thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit.
I feel as if one would only discover on one's death-bed what one ought to have lived for, and realise too late that one's life has been wasted. Any passionate and courageous life seems good in itself, yet one feels that some element of delusion is involved in giving so much passion to any humanly at
Envy consists in seeing things never in themselves, but only in their relations. If you desire glory, you may envy Napoleon, but Napoleon envied Caesar, Caesar envied Alexander, and Alexander, I daresay, envied Hercules, who never existed.
3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is a paradox; as is a paradox why the number 1 is not prime if it has no other divisors besides himself.
Do not feel certain of anything.
The first essential character [of civilization], I should say, is forethought. This, I would say, is what distinguishes men from brutes and adults from children.
Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the georgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the g
Awareness of universals is called conceiving, and a universal of which we are aware is called a concept.
Most men do not feel in themselves the competence required for leading their group to victory, and therefore seek out a captain who appears to possess the courage and sagacity necessary for the achievement of supremacy. Even in religion this impulse appears. Nietzsche accused Christianity of inculca
Never try to discourage thinking, for you are sure to succeed.
In detective stories . . . I alternately identify myself with the murderer and the huntsman-detective, but . . . there are those to which this vicarious outlet is too mild.
The tendency of our perceptions is to emphasise increasingly the objective elements in an impression, unless we have some special reason, as artists have, for doing the opposite.
The pursuit of knowledge is, I think, mainly actuated by love of power. And so are all advances in scientific technique.
At the age of eleven, I began Euclid, with my brother as my tutor. This was one of the great events of my life, as dazzling as first love. I had not imagined there was anything so delicious in the world. From that moment until I was thirty-eight, mathematics was my chief interest and my chief source
(on A History of Western Philosophy) I was sometimes accused by reviewers of writing not a true history but a biased account of the events that I arbitrarily chose to write of. But to my mind, a man without a bias cannot write interesting history - if, indeed, such man exists.
It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true
The most essential characteristic of scientific technique is that it proceeds from experiment, not from tradition. The experimental habit of mind is a difficult one for most people to maintain; indeed, the science of one generation has already become the tradition of the next
I have been merely oppressed by the weariness and tedium and vanity of things lately: nothing stirs me, nothing seems worth doing or worth having done: the only thing that I strongly feel worth while would be to murder as many people as possible so as to diminish the amount of consciousness in the w
If we compare Europe with other continents, it is marked out as [another] persecuting continent.
To teach how to live without certainty and yet without being paralysed by hesitation is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can do for those who study it.
We are ... led to a somewhat vague distinction between what we may call "hard" data and "soft" data. This distinction is a matter of degree, and must not be pressed; but if not taken too seriously it may help to make the situation clear. I mean by "hard" data those which resist the solvent influence
Either man will abolish war, or war will abolish man.
Dogmatism is the greatest of mental obstacles to human happiness.