Bertrand Russell’s Liberal Decalogue

Originally written in 1951, philosopher/mathematician Betrand Russell lays out ten rules to live by.

  1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

  2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

  3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.

  4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

  5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

  6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

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

  8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

  9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

  10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

I especially enjoy number three. On which points do you agree? Disagree?

Source: brainpickings

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About WCD

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2 Responses to “Bertrand Russell’s Liberal Decalogue”

  1. Rhoderick Gates says :

    Regarding number 5, I’d ask him what he meant by ‘respect’. Did he mean compliance?

    • J.C. says :

      I think he meant to not blindly follow someone because they are/have “authority”. Also, that you can always find contrary opinions, even between people with so-called “authority”.

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