If we were all given by magic the power to read each other’s thoughts I suppose the first effect would be that almost all friendships would be dissolved; the second effect, however, might be excellent, for a world without any friends would be felt to be intolerable, and we should learn to like each other without needing a veil of illusion to conceal from ourselves that we did not think each other absolutely perfect.
The most unhappy moments of my life were spent at Grantchester. My bedroom looked out upon the mill, and the noise of the millstream mingled inextricably with my despair. I lay awake through long nights, hearing first the nightingale, and then the chorus of birds at dawn, looking out upon sunrise and trying to find consolation in external beauty. I suffered in a very intense form the loneliness which I had perceived a year before to be the essential lot of man. I walked alone in the fields about Grantchester, feeling dimly that the whitening willows in the wind had some message from a land of peace. I read religious books such, as Taylor’s Holy Dying, in the hope that there might be something independent of dogma in the comfort which their authors derived from their beliefs. I tried to take refuge in pure contemplation; I began to write The Free Man’s Worship. The construction of prose rhythms was the only thing in which I found any real consolation.
出典：The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, v.１, chap. 6: Principia Mathematica, 1967]
Fads and hobbies, however, are in many cases, perhaps most, not a source of fundamental happiness, but a means of escape from reality, of forgetting for the moment some pain too difficult to be faced. Fundamental happiness depends more than anything else upon what may be called a friendly interest in persons and things.
To be out of harmony with one’s surroundings is, of course, a misfortune, but it is not always a misfortune to be avoided at all costs. Where the environment is stupid or prejudiced or cruel, it is a sign of merit to be out of harmony with it.
Wherever possible, therefore, young people who find themselves out of harmony with their surroundings should endeavour in the choice of a profession to select some career which will give them a chance of congenial companionship, even if this should entail a considerable loss of income. Often they hardly know that this is possible, since their knowledge of the world is very limited, and they may easily imagine that the prejudices to which they have become accustomed at home are world-wide.
People who are not in harmony with the conventions of their own set tend therefore to be prickly and uncomfortable and lacking in expansive good humour. These same people, transported into another set where their outlook is not thought strange, will seem to change their character entirely. From being serious, shy and retiring they may become gay and self-confident; from being angular they may become smooth and easy; from being self-centred they may become sociable and extrovert.
（28)The Conquest of Happiness, 1930, chap.9: Fear of public opinion.
Public opinion is always more tyrannical towards those who obviously fear it than towards those who feel indifferent to it. A dog will bark more loudly and bite more readily when people are afraid of him than when they treat him with contempt, and the human herd has something of this same characteristic.
Those of us whose work is not manual are apt to have far less physical exercise than the health of the body demands; or diet also tends to be rich without being nourishing.
Such homely reasons as these have, I believe, much more to do with the discontent of moderns than has any form of cosmic despair or decay of faith. If I am right, the cure for modern despair is a matter for the physician, not for the philosopher.
I, alas, am a philosopher, not a physician.
Fear of our neighbours is one of our most deep-seated emotions and is the enemy of all achievement, even in so comparatively simple a matter as furnishing a sitting room. We force this upon each other by our unfriendly censoriousness, by means of which we make each other dull and deprive ourselves of the pleasures to be derived from the spectacle of vigorous individuality expressing itself freely. Thus the source of ugly furniture is the same as the source of war and religious persecution, and of all the major evils of human life.
The hatred of reason which is common in our time is very largely due to the fact that the operations of reason are not conceived in a sufficiently fundamental way. The man divided against himself looks for excitement and distraction; he loves strong passions, not for sound reasons, but because for the moment they take him outside himself and prevent the painful necessity of thought. Any passion is to him a form of intoxication, and since he cannot conceive of fundamental happiness, all relief from pain appears to him solely possible in the form of intoxication.