Why Men Fight: A Method of Abolishing the International Duel

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Century Company, 1917 - Social problems - 270 pages
 

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In this book Russell talks what he thinks are the reasons for wars. (He seems to be referring to WWI at the time but it can be applied to wars of our time.) He talks about institutions that shape the life of an individual such as schools, state, marriage, churches, etc. and how they contribute to wars. And he concludes how to change the state of affairs so that wars can be prevented. 

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Page 9 - And thou opposed, being of no woman born, Yet I will try the last. Before my body I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff, And damned be him that first cries "Hold enough!
Page 179 - Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible; thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits ; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the welltried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. It sees man, a feeble speck, surrounded by unfathomable depths of silence; yet it bears itself...
Page 161 - The defenseless children are taught by distortions and suppressions and suggestions. The false ideas as to the history of the world which are taught in the various countries are of a kind which encourages strife and serves to keep alive a bigoted nationalism. If good relations between States were desired, one of the first steps ought to be to submit all teaching of history to an international commission, which should produce neutral textbooks free from the patriotic bias which is now demanded everywhere.
Page 113 - Germany had been annihilated by a natural cataclysm, they would at once have begun to hate one another, as they did before Germany was strong. For this reason, the possibility of cooperation in the present alliance against Germany affords no ground whatever for hoping that all the nations of the world might cooperate permanently in a peaceful alliance. The present motive for cohesion, namely, a common fear, would be gone, and could not be replaced by any other motive unless men's thoughts and purposes...
Page 178 - men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible ; thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions and comfortable habits ; thought is indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages.
Page 154 - Education is, as a rule, the strongest force on the side of what exists and against fundamental change ; threatened institutions, while they are still powerful, possess themselves of the educational machine, and instil a respect for their own excellence into the malleable minds of the young.
Page 168 - ... of the grounds for opposition. Instead of credulity, the object should be to stimulate constructive doubt, the love of mental adventure, the sense of worlds to conquer by enterprise and boldness in thought. Contentment with the status quo, and subordination of the individual pupil to political aims, owing to the indifference to the things of the mind, are the immediate causes of these evils ; but beneath these causes there is one more fundamental, the fact that education is treated as a means...
Page 159 - It is this motive, in the main, which determines the subjects taught, the knowledge offered, and the knowledge withheld, and also decides what mental habits the pupils are expected to acquire. Hardly anything is done to foster the inward growth of mind and spirit; in fact, those who have had most education are very often atrophied in their mental and spiritual life, devoid of impulse, and possessing only certain mechanical aptitudes which take the place of living thought. Some of the things which...
Page 157 - mould " the child : in imagination he is the potter with the clay. And so he gives to the child some unnatural shape, which hardens with age, producing strains and spiritual dissatisfactions, out of which grow cruelty and envy, and the belief that others must be compelled to undergo the same distortions. The man who has reverence will not think it his duty to " mould
Page 180 - It is because modern education is so seldom inspired by a great hope that it so seldom achieves a great result. The wish to preserve the past rather than the hope of creating the future dominates the minds of those who control the teaching of the young.

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