View Full Version : Bertrand Russell "will" quote

02-27-2012, 04:21 AM
I would like some thoughts on this? Define the opposite.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is its exact opposite. - Bertrand Russell


02-27-2012, 07:02 AM
I would like some thoughts on this? Define the opposite.

Not the 'wish', but rather the choicelessness/inevitability of eventually KNOWING/finding out. He's quite on the mark, IMO.

(and no, it's not very 'pleasant' :))

02-27-2012, 10:20 AM
I think there are clearly two trains of thought on this.

There are those who find complete contentment in believing; those with blind faith.
I had first hand experience of this with my mother. You could see it in her eyes whenever she was
doing something in relation to her religion (Roman Catholic).

On her death bed she was hardly able to take a breath and was not talking to anyone, even though
the whole family was present, but if you could have seen her face light up as the priest entered the
room to give here the last rites, it was amazing. I wish I could experience that kind of happiness.

Then there are those that seek the truth, a truth that must have facts and logic; rationalised thought.
I think I come under that category.

I am aware that the truth may be even stranger than watching those with blind faith, but whenever I
think about faith I feel that it's a form or surrender, conceding to the feeling that the path is too
difficult. It is a feeling of failure as IMO it is a duty to seek the truth; an explainable truth that
everyone would want to share.

Perhaps there are those that need to seek knowledge for themselves and those that need to be told.
Even though I do not comprehend blind faith maybe those people already know something that I do not.
I am a great believer in intuition; however I would like to find a rational explanation for it.

Reading this back it sounds a little contradictory, but its the best explanation I can give. Whatever train
of thought one holds I am sure that it is the way it is meant to be.

(and no, it's not very 'pleasant' )

Androgynus can you define "pleasent"?


Illen A. Cluf
02-27-2012, 11:38 PM
What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is its exact opposite. - Bertrand Russell


I find this statement to be very straightforward and accurate.

In life there are many issues, mostly not readily solvable, with at least two main points of view. There are some people who prefer to simply accept one point of view based mostly on their overall impression or guidance from some trusted source of influence. These are mostly people who have great trust for perceived figures of authority, and who generally prefer not to take any initiative that involves excessive industry or detracts from the comfort they derive from their belief. They don’t just “wish” to believe in the preferred point of view, they simply will themselves to believe in it and will accept no other alternative. Their “will” is based on their need for a sense of order within a narrow comfort zone based on their immediate community and a total trust in a societal framework. Thus they generally represent the “laissez faire”.

Then there are others who are not satisfied with simply accepting a point of view based on what others with influence say, but who have a great sense of curiosity, who have a strong sense of self-responsibility, and who enjoy taking the time and initiative to learn more about the issue, and try to resolve it by him/herself. These are generally speaking, the “academics” and “doers”. They don’t have the “will” to find out, because they know that a final definitive solution may not be possible. Thus they simply “wish” to find out, always hoping for a more definitive solution.

solomon levi
03-02-2012, 06:33 AM
I'm not sure what it means.
I understand the part of putting "to find out" against "to believe".
I think that's already been discussed quite a bit.
But then wishing seems so empty and vain.
"I wish to find out". I really can't relate to that at all.
Why wish? Just be determined to do so.
I can't recall the last time I used the words "I wish".