I have just finished a book by Bertrand Russell and have been surprised by three things; that it would ever end, that I would stick to reading it until the last page, and that I would thoroughly enjoy it.
It was written in 1930, and treats of happiness – in this case by seeking the conquest of it. It is apparently well within Russell’s style of clear composition presenting muddled thought. The stream of consciousness is not that muddy, however, and most of what BR has to say is pretty sensible. As he does not jolt upright and thrust his politics into the face of the reader more than 3 or 4 times, the main part of the essay is actually useful.
It’s certainly drawn an echo from some of the circumstances of my life, and I think the experiences over the years have opened me to be able to read him – where I threw his books in the figurative fire as a youth.
It’s rather fun to be able to read an English philosopher who writes in comparatively modern times and who can be seen to be wrong about as many times as he is right by his public pronouncements…and private secrets. One need not reverence him but can just pick the kernels of wisdom out of the unpopped thoughts.
I wonder if it is safe to read any of the rest of his stuff? If I do, I shall want the real thing and not a history teacher’s précis.