Addition to ME AND BERTRAND RUSSELL (Philosopher)

Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist and Nobel laureate. Wikipedia (Also no-goodnik, but I didn’t know that when I developed a crush on him and almost wrote him a fan letter in 1967.)  He died in 1970, and fortunately I never connected with him personally.  I had read his autobiography for the years 1872-1914 while depressed, and fell in love with his words, which were depressing also.  I was certainly old enough to know better, but his words really touched me. I copied 6 pages of quotes in tiny handwriting in my journal.  What turned me on? Russell Quotes like these:

,,,,in human relations one should penetrate to the core of loneliness in each person and speak to that  (p 220)

…one needs, as the key to interpret alien experiences, a personal knowledge of great unhappiness, but that is a thing which one need hardly set forth to seek, for it comes unasked. When once one possesses this key, the strange, tragic phantasmagoria of people hoping, suffering, and then dying, begins to suffice without one’s desiring to take part, except occasionally, to speak a word of encouragement where it is possible. (p 253)

ADDED 6/25/16:  (p 287): We stand on the shore of an ocean, crying to the night and the emptiness; sometimes a voice answers out of the darkness. But it is a voice of one drowning; and in a moment the silence returns. The world seems to me quite dreadful; the unhappiness of most people is very great, and I often wonder how they all endure it. To know people well is to know their tragedy; it is usually the central thing about which their lives are built.

Well, I could go on and on with these words which I related to so positively  because of my own depression. I felt a connection with his experience and him. Perhaps I felt he somehow raised the experience of my own depression to a valuable,  esteemed level.  Fortunately, as I learned later, it was best that I did not pursue contact. I read that one girl did, and traveled to England to see him and later suicided.  Moreover, in my reading somewhere a man who knew him personally referred to him as an undesirable person. (Since I cannot recall the exact word used, I won’t risk making a mistake, but it was not good).



About Nan Mykel

At 79, I was just about to stop keeping a journal, but that felt like accepting that growth was finished. I don't want to be finished, yet! I'm 80 now, and struggling to communicate with you, if you'll come and set awhile. P.S. My how time flies! I'm 82 now.
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5 Responses to Addition to ME AND BERTRAND RUSSELL (Philosopher)

  1. I had this experience with Carl Jung. When I first read his work I wished he was my father. Very recently I read about his mistress, his other lovers and being a general S£*t – the same with a local writer who I looked up to by the name of Lourens van der Post – turns out he was a complete fake, ruined a 14-year old girl’s life by making her pregnant on a trip to England to start her career as a ballet dancer and got away with it!


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