“For the love that has been purged by gentleness of all tendency towards tyranny can give a joy more exquisite, more tender, more capable of transmuting the base metal of daily life into the pure gold of mystic ecstasy, than any emotion that is possible to the man still fighting and struggling to maintain his ascendency in this slippery world.”
I love smart people. Deconstructing the sage words of people like Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) is like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle – for a blind person.
Now, seriously, who doesn’t love a man with a pipe in his mouth and a tweed jacket to boot? The answer? Nobody. In fact, it’s hard to find stock images of Bernie R. (no one actually called him that) without a good ol’ pipe dangling from those luscious and lascivious lips of his.
Born before the invention of the freaking electric light bulb, the automobile, the airplane, and, obviously, the iPhone, Russell would also outlive notable contemporaries like Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Ernest Hemingway, Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Einstein.
I like this Quote of the Day because, like Russell himself, it’s multilayered and multifaceted. Mathematician, philosopher, educator, writer, historian and political activist, B.R. was also a Nobel Laureate in his lifetime. Yep, just another trophy for the mantle.
With the above quote, you can see his mind at work on so many levels: as a poetic musing on love; as the opening of a treatise on overcoming political oppression; as a scientific analogy to everyday survival; and as a basic guideline to achieving happiness.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, today’s quote comes from Bertrand Russell’s 1930 book The Conquest of Happiness.