Bertrand Russell’s Great Message to the Future

Bertrand Russell, the great British philosopher and social critic, appeared on the BBC program Face-to-Face in 1959 and was asked a closing question: What would you tell a generation living 1,000 years from now about the life you’ve lived and the lessons you’ve learned. The video, found in our collection of 275 Cultural Icons, gives you the rest…

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  • Ian Wojtowicz

    I wonder if 1000 years from now the computers and robots listening to this message will find it funny.

  • Tom in SFCA

    Why would Bertrand Russell tell a listener 1000 years in the future the key to human survival in the modern age? If they exist to hear the message then they must already know much more about that subject than he ever could.

  • nixy

    Tom, why would they know much more about the subject? Knowledge does not automatically increase with time. On the contrary, knowledge is a kind of power which is often demotivated or oppressed by those in possession of other kinds of power, such as political, economical, religious, etc. We need philosophers like Russell.

  • Raymond Smullyan

    I completely agree with Russell, only I wish he had added something that I know he believed–namely that retributive
    ethics is one of the main factors that is retarding civilization.

  • ven asana

    “Why would Bertrand Russell tell a listener 1000 years in the future the key to human survival in the modern age?”

    Because he was asked to tell what lessons he had learned in his lifetime.

    He had given it some thought I suspect.

    I find it ironic that Raymond Smullyan agrees with Russell ‘completely’…but that’s just me, I’m a little slow.

    Hope he doesn’t flame me for saying so!

  • Asana

    Since posting my previous comment I have read Dr. Smullyan’s book ‘Who Knows ?’ and I understand a little more of what he means by ‘retributive ethics’ and why he ‘completely’ agrees with Russells message.
    What a wonderful and inspiring book!
    And such a beautiful mind that produced it!
    I’ve just started another of his books ‘ A Spiritual Journey – Reflections on the Philosophy of Religion, A Transcendental Journey, and Cosmic Conciousness Redux’ and have been viewing his musical performances on youtube.
    A treasure indeed!

  • Thorn daCosta

    Almost all lessons only last a max of 50 to 75yrs. Memories of moral and emotional resonance fade with the passing of generations experiencing them first hand. Histories are rewritten, and two thousand years after the dead sea scrolls were hidden have we learned the continual answers being offered to fundamental questions. His message was eloquent and direct. A voice from the past that knows the chances of catastrophe occurring ate both real and constant. There’s no reason to assum anyone in the future would have any answers left. Let alone being advanced. We’re clever monkys and should bare that factor in mind.

  • Zsuzsanna F.

    “Love is wright, hatred is foolish”

  • http://----- jack west

    I remember that during his stint with the ban the bomb protests that some parts of the media tried to convince us “prols” that B.R. was a buffoon. I was not convinced. However the arrogance that enabled the media to adopt such a public stance, has, due to constant use come to be accepted as the norm throughout public life, See bankers, MP’s expenses.Phone tapping.neglectful child care, physical abuse of the aged, and so many other examples that if he were alive today and was asked the question under discussion his response, bearing in mind his preference for the facts might well be something like ” I am inclined to the view that this question is inappropriate,because in my view civilization cannot possibly last in any civilized form for 1000 thousand years in the face of increasing corruption and monumental ineptitude on the part of governments, which in my view are already unfit for purpose. Westicus

  • June Dewar

    And if you had been born into a family who believe in evolution you would believe you came from a fish into an amphibian eventually evolving into a human following a monkey. Whatever a person believes is his/ her religion. But only the Truth is True and the truth so is it true the world came from a dot smaller than the period at the end of a sentence into the spheric wonders we see today without any blueprint?

  • June Dewar

    In answer to video made by Richard Dawkins where answers religious believer in Christ.

  • Rich

    He should have said “use your time travel technology to come back and pick me up and take me there. Thanks. You can be in this video too if you want. See you in a couple of minutes.”