• Short Summary

    BRITAIN'S EARL RUSSELL - BETTER KNOWN AS BERTRAND RUSSELL, THE NAME UNDER WHICH HE WROTE - IS (WAS) ONE OF THE GREATEST THINKERS OF THIS CENTURY AND ALSO ONE OF ITS MOST CONTROVERSIAL FIGURES.

  • Description

    BRITAIN'S EARL RUSSELL - BETTER KNOWN AS BERTRAND RUSSELL, THE NAME UNDER WHICH HE WROTE - IS (WAS) ONE OF THE GREATEST THINKERS OF THIS CENTURY AND ALSO ONE OF ITS MOST CONTROVERSIAL FIGURES. PHILOSOPHER, MATHEMATICIAN AND NOBEL PRIZE WINNER, HE HAD A RARE BLEND OF INTELLECT AND EMOTION THAT EARNED HIM MORE FAME THAN ANY BRITISH PHILOSOPHER FOR THE PAST TWO CENTURIES.

    FOR MUCH OF HIS LONG LIFE HE WAS REGARDED AS A RADICAL WHOSE IDEAS AND VIEWS ON MANY SUBJECTS RANGING FROM HISTORY, POLITICS, AND PACIFISM TO SOCIAL PROBLEMS AND SEXUAL MORALITY, OFTEN MADE HEADLINES AND PROVOKED STORMS OF PROTEST.

    BORN IN 1872, RUSSELL WAS REARED IN THE HOME OF HIS GRANDFATHER, LORD JOHN RUSSELL, A FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, AND HIS SCHOOLROOM WAS HIS GRANDFATHER'S LIBRARY. HE FIRST MADE A NAME FOR HIMSELF AT CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY, IN THE MOST ABSTRACT AND TECHNICAL FIELDS OF PHILOSOPHY. IN 1910 HE PUBLISHED THE MONUMENTAL "PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA", A BRILLIANT STUDY OF THE RELATIONS BETWEEN MATHEMATICS AND LOGIC.

    BUT RUSSELL'S INTERESTS GRADUALLY EXPANDED OVER EVERY FORM OF PHILOSOPHIC ENQUIRY. HE WROTE ON THE ORGANIZATION OF SOCIETY; THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN; WAR AND PEACE; LOVE AND MARRIAGE. IN ETHICS, HE BELIEVED THAT HAPPINESS WAS THE FIRST MORAL LAW. HIS ETHICAL JUDGEMENT, PRONOUNCED WITH FRANK VIGOUR, OFTEN BROUGHT HIM INTO CONFLICT WITH AUTHORITY. HE WAS JAILED IN BRITAIN FOR HIS PACIFIST VIEWS DURING WORLD WAR I, AND DISMISSED FROM AN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY POST IN WORLD WAR II BECAUSE OF HIS ATTITUDE ON SEXUAL MORALITY.

    BUT RUSSELL'S GENIUS DID NOT GO UNRECOGNIZED. IN 1950 WHEN HE WAS 72, HE WAS AWARDED THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE. AT THE AWARD CEREMONY IN STOCKHOLM - FILMED HEREWITH - HE WAS HAILED AS ONE OF OUR TIME'S MOST BRILLIANT SPOKESMEN OF HUMANITY AND A CHAMPION OF FREE SPEECH AND FREE THOUGHT. THEN, IN 1959, CAME ANOTHER HONOUR - THE UNESCO KALINGA PRIZE IN RECOGNITION OF HIS WORK LEADING TO A NEW INTERPRETATION OF SCIENCE.

    DURING THE FIFTIES, THE THREAT OF NUCLEAR WARFARE LED LORD RUSSELL TO MAKE MANY FERVENT APPEALS FOR PEACE. IN 1955, HE ISSUED A STATEMENT SIGNED BY HIMSELF AND SIX OTHER NOTED SCIENTISTS, CALLING FOR THE RENUNCIATION OF WAR. TWO YEARS LATER, HE ORGANIZED A CONFERENCE OF SCIENTISTS FROM TEN NATIONS, INCLUDING THE UNITED STATES, BRITAIN AND RUSSIA, WHICH MET AT PUGWASH, NOVA SCOTIA, TO ASSESS THE PERILS TO HUMANITY ARISING FROM NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

    LATER, LORD RUSSELL BECAME PRESIDENT OF BRITAIN'S CAMPAIGN FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, BUT SOON BECAME DISSATISFIED AND RESIGNED TO FORM THE MORE MILITANT ANTI-NUCLEARIST ORGANIZATION, THE COMMITTEE OF 100. IN 1961, LORD RUSSELL AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE BRITISH DEFENCE MINISTRY IN LONDON. THE DEMONSTRATION, SHOWN ON FILM, WAS AIMED AGAINST NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN GENERAL AND BRITAIN'S POLARIS BASE AGREEMENT WITH AMERICA IN PARTICULAR.

    A FEW MONTHS LATER, LORD RUSSELL, THEN 89, AND HIS WIFE, 61, WERE JAILED FOR SEVEN DAYS IN CONNECTION WITH A MASS ANTI-NUCLEAR DEMONSTRATION PLANNED TO TAKE PLACE IN LONDON'S PARLIAMENT SQUARE. THEY SERVED THEIR SENTENCE IN LONDON'S BRIXTON PRISON, AND WERE INTERVIEWED ON THEIR RELEASE:
    DESPITE THE STIGMA OF JAIL AND HIS MUCH-CRITICIZED PACIFISM, LORD RUSSELL CONTINUED TO COMMAND WIDE RESPECT AS ONE OF THE WORLD'S FOREMOST HUMANITARIANS. IN 1962, U THANT, THEN ACTING SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS, MET AND DISCUSSED WORLD AFFAIRS WITH LORD RUSSELL DURING A VISIT TO LONDON.

    LAST YEAR, AT HIS HOME IN NORTH WALES, LORD RUSSELL MADE ANOTHER PLEA FOR PEACE IN A TRIBUTE TO THE SPACE FLIGHTS OF SOVIET ASTRONAUTS NIKOLAYEV AND POPOVITCH. HE SAID THAT SINCE - AT THAT TIME - RUSSIA SEEMED TO HAVE GAINED SUPREMACY IN MANNED SPACE SATELLITES, SHE COULD AFFORD TO SHOW GENEROSITY IN THE PURSUIT OF PEACE WITHOUT SUPPOSING IT WAS A SIGN OF WEAKNESS. HE SAID:
    "THOSE WORDS UNDERLINE LORD RUSSELL'S FIRM BELIEF THAT PEACE AMONG NATIONS COULD BE ACHIEVED IF ONLY RATIONAL THOUGHT WERE ALLOWED TO OVERCOME POLITICAL DIFFERENCES. FOR THIS BELIEF HE WENT TO JAIL. AS A FEARLESS CHAMPION OF PEACE, HE IS ASSURED OF A PLACE IN POSTERITY, ALONG WITH HIS ACHIEVEMENTS AS PHILOSOPHER, SCIENTIST AND WRITER EXTRAORDINARY.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAB8RGAW80Z82UXER1OOFODRYIZ
    Media URN:
    VLVAB8RGAW80Z82UXER1OOFODRYIZ
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    25/02/1963
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:03:13:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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