Tag Archives: Bertrand Russell

Paul Bloom

Don’t try to establish equality and justice by raising others up to the level of those you love. Don’t try to make them more weighty. Rather, make yourself less weighty. Bring everyone to the same level by diminishing yourself. Put yourself, and those you love, on the level of strangers.

We see this sort of advice spelled out by Bertrand Russell, who says that when we read the newspaper, we ought to substitute the names of countries, including our own, to get a more fair sense of what’s going on. Take “Israel” and replace it with “Bolivia,” replace “United States” with “Argentina,” and so on. (Perhaps even better would be to use arbitrary symbols: X, Y, and Z.) This is an excellent way to remove bias.

Paul Bloom, Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion, New York, 2016, p. 109

G. H. Hardy

[T]here is one purpose at any rate which the real mathematics may serve in war. When the world is mad, a mathematician may find in mathematics an incomparable anodyne. For mathematics is, of all the arts and sciences, the most austere and the most remote, and a mathematician should be of all men the one who can most easily take refuge where, as Bertrand Russell says, “one at least of our nobler impulses can best escape from the dreary exile of the actual world.”

G. H. Hardy, A Mathematician’s Apology, Cambridge, 1940, sect. 28

Albert Einstein

Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices, but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.

Albert Einstein, quoted in Paul Edwards (ed.), Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects, London, 1957