Bertrand Russell – Face to Face Interview, BBC 1959
[11:45] Mathematics, Philosophy, and Religion
Until I was about 40, I got the sort of satisfaction that Plato says you can get out of mathematics. It was an eternal world, it was a timeless world, it was a world where there was a possibility of a certain kind of perfection. And, I certainly got something analogous to religious satisfaction out of it.
[12:38] The First World War, Nazi’s and Communists
I thought, as a politician, and I still think that it would have been very much better for the world if Britain had remained neutral and the Germans would have won a quick victory. We should not have had neither the Nazis, nor the Communists if that had happened, because they were both products of the first World War. The war would have been brief, there would have been nothing like so much destruction.
[22:45] Argument(s) Against War
Scientific man cannot survive if he is going to continue to make war.
The worst possibility is that human life may be extinguished, and it is a very real possibility — very real — and that is the worst. But assuming that doesn’t happen, I can’t bear the thought of many hundreds of millions of people dying in agony, only and solely because the rulers of the world are stupid and wicked. I can’t bear it.
[26:40] Message To The Future
I should like to say two things, one intellectual and one moral.
The intellectual thing I should want to say [to them] is this: 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’d wish to believe, or by what you think could have beneficent social effects if it were believed. Look only and solely at what are the facts. That is the intellectual thing that I should wish to say.
The moral thing I should wish to say [to them] is very simple: Love is wise, hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things we don’t like. We can only live together in that way. But if we are to live together, and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital, to the continuation of human life on this planet.