Bertrand Russell

Just watched on YouTube a 1959 interview by John Freeman with Bertrand Russell. It ends with Freeman asking what would be his two pieces of advice to people in the distant future, one intellectual and one moral. His reply:

Intellectual: “When you are studying any matter or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe, or by what you think would have benevolent social effects if it were believed. But only and solely at what are the facts.” 

Moral: “Love is wise, hatred is foolish. Let us tolerate and live together, not die together.”

Nothing surprising from such a great man, especially since I studied some of his books as an undergraduate. But what is worth noting is the phenomenal lucidity with which he speaks, not a single grunt or slip or affectation. Clear, simple, perfectly formed sentences. And he was 87!

There used to be a copy of one of his books on display in the Wren Library at Trinity College in Cambridge; once again, the lucidity was stunning. Hand-written in beautiful style and perfect lines without a single crossing-out (and yes, it was the first and only draft).

The time has come to review my life as a whole, and to ask whether it has served any useful purpose or has been wholly concerned in futility.
— Russell, Last Essay, 1967