You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘cruelty’ tag.

The Prologue to Bertrand Russell’s Autobiography

What I Have Lived For

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.

I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy – ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness–that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what–at last–I have found.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.

Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.


Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) won the Nobel prize for literature for his History of Western Philosophy and was the co-author of Principia Mathematica.

 


Return to the Bertrand Russell Society Home Page
Advertisements

 

The fallen gods have spoken

their words drowned

in an endless howl

blood pouring from

gaping mouths of murderers

of their mothers and fathers

screeching with hatred

blinded by death

they spin the karmic wheel

one more time

Goya-Saturn-Devouring-His-Son

Art: Francisco Goya: Saturn Devouring His Son

 

extinction-is-forever

They are all dead. All. One by one, and en masse. Dead. The whole lot. Only one left. The human. Now all alone and quite insane, it still survives. Not for long. It roams the barren landscape, breathing acrid air as its lungs slowly shut down. Once standing, it is crawling now, retracing the path of the other animals, oblivious to its own murderous instincts. It still believes it can win. Win what? Soulless and heartless, it continues to think but there is nothing left to think about. And once its mind is completely gone, the human, too, will die. Any moment now. And no maggots left to dispose of its corpse…

Handout picture released by the town council of Chalchicomula showing one of the two mummified corpses found near the peak of the 5,636-metre Pico de Orizaba, also known as the Citlaltepetl volcano, on the border between the states of Veracruz and Puebla, on March 5, 2015. A team of Mexican climbers searching for a frozen body on the country's highest mountain -- and North America's third -- stumbled onto a second mummified cadaver during their expedition on March 5. The 12 local civil protection mountaineers had embarked on their mission after climbers reported seeing a frozen skull 310 metres (1,000 feet) from the peak of the Pico de Orizaba on Monday. The second body was found 150 metres away, and it was also frozen and mummified, said Juan Navarro, mayor of the town of Chalchicomula de Sesma, near the mountain.  AFP PHOTO / CHALCHICOMULA TOWN COUNCIL / HILARIO AGUILAR   ---   RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / CHALCHICOMULA TOWN COUNCIL / HILARIO AGUILAR" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTSHILARIO AGUILAR/AFP/Getty Images

Handout picture released by the town council of Chalchicomula showing one of the two mummified corpses found near the peak of the 5,636-metre Pico de Orizaba, also known as the Citlaltepetl volcano, on the border between the states of Veracruz and Puebla, on March 5, 2015. A team of Mexican climbers searching for a frozen body on the country’s highest mountain — and North America’s third — stumbled onto a second mummified cadaver during their expedition on March 5. The 12 local civil protection mountaineers had embarked on their mission after climbers reported seeing a frozen skull 310 metres (1,000 feet) from the peak of the Pico de Orizaba on Monday. The second body was found 150 metres away, and it was also frozen and mummified, said Juan Navarro, mayor of the town of Chalchicomula de Sesma, near the mountain. AFP PHOTO / CHALCHICOMULA TOWN COUNCIL / HILARIO AGUILAR — RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / CHALCHICOMULA TOWN COUNCIL / HILARIO AGUILAR” – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTSHILARIO AGUILAR/AFP/Getty Images

It happened again. A harnessed horse – this time one pulling a carriage with tourists in the old section of town – bolts in the middle of traffic and terrified onlookers; its frantic gallop captured on ubiquitous mobile phone cameras… A reminder of an equally panicked animal galloping beside the carriage carrying  the newlywed Prince William and Kate… again, caught on camera by the few that spotted the frightened rider-less horse. Who are those that will see the drama taking place on the sidelines, of both life and conscience, in the midst of chaos and society’s frenetic pace? Counting myself among those that do, I frankly bemoan their/my lot. The suffering of animals, both wild and domesticated, with a poignant bow to those relegated to the food ‘industry’, has been the bane of my existence, and could very well turn this blog into a litany of anguished recollections, images preferably erased from my memory, yet lodged there forever. And this is but a prelude to the damage we humans wreak on each other… The latest scientific discoveries point to a genetic predisposition towards empathy and kindness, as previously they linked genes to criminal behaviour. A slippery slope…Who knows…I still believe in the  innate knowledge of right and wrong, but as Bertrand Russell said, I would not die for my beliefs, because I could be wrong…

Leaving the philosophical discussion to others for now…  here are a few beautiful images of horses by French artist Léa Rivière…

ImageImageImage