4. Other metaphors that Russell employs include: his passions have blown him about like “great winds” (figures of speech using like or as are known as similes) “one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss” “Love and knowledge…led upward toward the heavens” Answers to the second part of the question will vary, but essentially, Russell uses metaphorical language to express ideas that are outside of ordinary, daily experience. In order to try to communicate the deeply felt nature of his passions, he turns to extraordinary, figurative language. Critical Reading and Discussion 1. Answers will vary. In order to identify their passions, students may need to examine the forces that were behind important decisions they have made. 2. Answers will vary. Certainly other factors, such as greed, fear, jealousy, anger, optimism, or hope could be powerful influences in people’s lives. 3.
"Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life," wrote Bertrand Russell in the prologue to his autobiography: "the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind."
This five minute video, a preview of a three-part series produced in 2005 for Ontario public television called "The Three Passions of Bertrand Russell," features a recording of Russell reading passages from the prologue, entitled "What I Have Lived For." You can read the original text at the Bertrand Russell Society, an excellent online resource, that also makes available free books by Russell, including:
You can also download the first edition of Russell's landmark 1910-13 collaboration with Alfred North Whitehead, Principia Mathematica, as well as many of Russell's essays, including:
To explore the full list of available resources, and to learn how you can support the society's activities, visit the Bertrand Russell Society website.
Also don't miss some great Russell material in our own archives, including all six of his 1948 BBC Reith Lectures, a clip from a Canadian television interview featuring his views on God, and his eloquent 1959 message to the future.