• SumoMe

Russell was a factotum: philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic.

One of my favorite thinkers of all time, Bertrand Russell, once wrote a set of his own ten commandments in 1930. The article was published in a magazine and spread like wildfire. Later, in 1951, he revised his commandments and directed them particularly at teachers.

Despite the intended audience, the commandments are particularly applicable and interesting to people of all walks of life.

The commandments ran as follows:

1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

2. Do not think it worthwhile 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 is happiness.

What are your ten commandments? How do you think Russell did with his set? Let’s discuss the meaning of life in the comments below.