Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bertrand Russell 1/4


born: May 18th 1872
parents: Viscount and Viscountess Amberley
siblings: Frank Russell, Rachel Russell
grandparents: Countess Russell (née Lady Frances Elliot), Earl Russell

Russell was born into a liberal and influential British family. Both of his parents were radical for their time, advocating things like birth control and his father consented to his mother's affair with the children's tutor.  Russell's mother, sister, and father all died while he was still very young. Russell and his brother Frank went on to live with their grandparents.

The Countess was the dominant family role model for Russell, and she raised the boys as agnostics. She was radical in other areas though supporting Darwinism and Irish Home Rule, her influence on Bertrand Russell's outlook on social justice and standing up for principle remained with him throughout his life. The countess had a beloved bible verse from Exodus that became Russell's moto: "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil."

In Russell's adolescence he often felt lonely and considered suicide many times. For the most part he was really only interested in religion and mathematics. When Russell was eleven his brother Frank showed him the workings on Euclid and that changed his life.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it interesting, how often people who entertained the thought of suicide in youth went on to live long and accomplished lives? As Jennifer Michael Hecht says: "Stay!"