What I Have Lived For

(A moving and sincere essay by Great philosopher and mathematician, Bertrand Russell. he was awarded the nobel prize literature in 1950. he was part of the logical positivism movement that swept through english speaking world. History of Western Philosophy is his major work. It has only limitation that he didn’t include Martin Heidegger, who is one of the greatest phosphor of 20th century)

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, the unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.

I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy – ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relives loneliness-the terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought, finally, because in the union of love i have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what i sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what-at last- I have found.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. I have tried to apprehend the pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.

Love and knowledge, so far as they were, possible, led upward toward the heaven. But always pity brought me back to the earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a hated burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

This has been life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again it the chance were offered me.

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