A life without adventure is likely to be unsatisfying, but a life in which adventure is allowed to take whatever form it will is sure to be short

Against my will, in the course of my travels, the belief that everything worth knowing was known at Cambridge gradually wore off. In this respect my travels were very useful to me.

All movements go too far.

Almost everything that distinguishes the modern world from earlier centuries is attributable to science, which achieved its most spectacular triumphs in the seventeenth century.

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.

A stupid man's report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.

Boredom is a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.

Both in thought and in feeling, even though time be real, to realise the unimportance of time is the gate of wisdom.

Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves.

Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who'll get the blame.

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

Every living thing is a sort of imperialist, seeking to transform as much as possible of its environment into itself... When we compare the (present) human population of the globe with... that of former times, we see that "chemical imperialism" has been... the main end to which human intelligence has been devoted.

Every time the subject (philosophy) came up they (his family) repeated with unfailing regularity, 'what is mind? No matter. what is matter? Never mind.'

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

Freedom of opinion can only exist when the government thinks itself secure.

How dare we speak of the laws of chance? Is not chance the antithesis of all law?

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.

I like mathematics because it is not human and has nothing particular to do with this planet or with the whole accidental universe - because, like Spinoza's God, it won't love us in return.

I once saw a photograph of a large herd of wild elephants in Central Africa seeing an airplane for the first time, and all in state of wild collective terror... As, however, there were no journalists among them, the terror died down when the airplane was out of sight.

It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.

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 is permissible with certain precautions to speak in print of coitus, but it is not permissible to employ the monosyllabic synonym for this word.

I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.

I've made an odd discovery. Every time I talk to a savant I feel quite sure that happiness is no longer a possibility. Yet when I talk with my gardener, I'm convinced of the opposite.

If it is the devil that tempts the young to enjoy themselves, is it not, perhaps, the same personage that persuades the old to condemn their enjoyment?

If I were a medical man, I should prescribe a holiday to any patient who considered his work important.

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.

In addition to cotton goods we exported tuberculosis and syphilis, but for them there was no charge.

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.

In America everybody is of the opinion that he has no social superiors, since all men are equal, but he does not admit that he has no social inferiors, for, from the time of Jefferson onward, the doctrine that all men are equal applies only upwards, not downwards.

It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.

It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.

It may seem to your conceited to suppose that you can do anything important toward improving the lot of mankind. But this is a fallacy. You must believe that you can help bring about a better world. A good society is produced only by good individuals, just as truly as a majority in a presidential election is produced by the votes of single electors. Everybody can do something toward creating in his own environment kindly feelings rather than anger, reasonableness rather than hysteria, happiness rather than misery.

It seems to be the fate of idealists to obtain what they have struggled for in a form which destroys their ideals.

Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.

Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.

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.

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

Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that, but hope and enterprise and change.

Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.

Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are mad stupid by education.

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.

Mathematics may be defined as the subject where we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true.

Mathematics takes us into the region of absolute necessity, to which not only the actual word, but every possible word, must conform.

Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.

Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth, more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.

Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.

Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.

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.

Next to enjoying ourselves, the next greatest pleasure consists in preventing others from enjoying themselves, or, more generally, in the acquisition of power.

No man treats a motor car as foolishly as he treats another human being. When the car will not go, he does not attribute its annoying behavior to sin, he does not say, "You are a wicked motorcar, and I shall not give you any more petrol until you go." He attempts to find out what is wrong and set it right.

No one gossips about other people's secret virtues.

(Nowadays) every housemaid expects at least once a week as much excitement as would have lasted a Jane Austen heroine throughout a whole novel.

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?

None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.

Nothing of importance is ever achieved without discipline. I feel myself sometimes not wholly in sympathy with some modern educational theorists, because I think that they underestimate the part that discipline plays. 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.

Obscenity is whatever happens to shock some elderly and ignorant magistrate.

Of remoter ancestors I can only discover one who did not live to a great age, and he died of a disease which is now rare, namely, having his head cut off.

One of the chief obstacles to intelligence is credulity, and credulity could be enormously diminished by instructions as to the prevalent forms of mendacity. Credulity is a greater evil in the present day than it ever was before, because, owing to the growth of education, it is much easier than it used to be to spread misinformation, and, owing to democracy, the spread of misinformation is more important than in former times to the holders of power.

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.

One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.

Order, unity, and continuity are human inventions, just as truly as catalogues and encyclopedias.

Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.

Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country.

Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.

Religions that teach brotherly love have been used as an excuse for persecution, and our profoundest scientific insight is made into a means of mass destruction.

Right discipline consists, not in external compulsion, but in the habits of mind which lead spontaneously to desirable rather than undesirable activities.

Science is what you know, philosophy is what you don't know.

Sin is geographical.

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence; and in this respect ministers of religion follow gospel authority more closely than in some others.

Suppose atomic bombs had reduced the population of the world to one brother and sister; should they let the human race die out?

The coward wretch whose hand and heart Can bear to torture aught below, Is ever first to quail and start From the slightest pain or equal foe.

The degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts -- the less you know the hotter you get.

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.

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.

The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic.

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.

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.

The place of the father in the modern suburban family is a very small one, particularly if he plays golf.

The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.

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 time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

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.

The universe may have a purpose, but nothing we know suggests that, if so, this purpose has any similarity to ours.

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.

There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.

There is no nonsense so errant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.

This, however, is a passing nightmare; in time the earth will become again incapable of supporting life, and peace will retrurn.

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.

To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.

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.

Trivial people suffer trivially, great men suffer greatly.

We are told that sin consists in acting contrary to God's commands, but we are also told that God is omnipotent. If He is, nothing contrary to His will can occur; therefore when the sinner disobeys His commands, He must have intended this to happen.

We love those who hate our enemies, and if we had no enemies, there would be very few people whom we should love.

War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.

Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relative to other matter; second, telling other people to do so.