Sunday, April 11, 2010

Quote of the Day: Bertrand Russell on Caution

“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.” ~~Bertrand Russell (English Logician and Philosopher 1872-1970)

Bertrand Russell was not only a man of great intellect, but also a man of great passions and Utopian vision. At seventeen he married his sweetheart Alys Pearsall Smith, despite the objections of his family, but their love did not last. He had passionate and often simultaneous affairs with a number of women, including Lady Ottoline Morrell and the actress Lady Constance Malleson. His most serious lover was Dora Black who traveled with him to Russia and China. When Dora became pregnant Russell divorced Alys and married her. Black was an advocate for women's rights and may have influenced Russell's positions on equity and social justice. She--as did so many of her generation--had realised the extent to which the laws regulating marriage contributed to women's subjugation.

In her view, only parents should be bound by a social contract, and only insofar as their cooperation was required for raising their children. Implicit was her conviction that both men and women were polygamous by nature and should therefore be free, whether married or not, to engage in sexual relationships that were based on mutual love. In this she was as much an early sexual pioneer as in her fight for women's right to information about, and free access to, birth control methods. She regarded these as essential for women to gain control over their own lives, and eventually become fully emancipated.

Black and Russell founded a school in 1927 called Beacon Hill School in which they tried to teach children to leave behind superstitions and irrational views of previous generations. Russell eventually left Black for one of his students after she had two children by one of her lover, Griffin Barry. She went on to write extensively on the right of the individual to be happy.

Russell throughout his life campaigned for human rights, social justice, peace, and nuclear disarmament. His lasting legacy as an advocate for peace is carried on by the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation.

(information on Russell and Black excerpted from Wikipedia)

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