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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Bertrand Russell’s 10 Rules for Living

Bertrand Russell, one of 20th century’s most important and enduring thinkers, previously gave us this beautiful summary on what matters most in life.


If that meditation answers the what, then these guidelines help us answer the how. Published in 1951 as part of an article on liberalism for The New York Times Magazine, the ten rules dictate Russell’s guidelines that he, as a teacher, believed he should advocate. Although the rules ostensibly relate to rules for teaching, they really can be said to be, in the broadest sense, rules for living well.
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, endeavour 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 that 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.
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