Bertrand Russell on Thought

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth – more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid … Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”

Bertrand Russell, Why Men Fight

There can be a tendency in the therapy world to value feeling or embodiment or both (depending where you place yourself on the therapeutic spectrum) above cognitive. We would question that, and see it in terms of ‘as well as’, not ‘more than/less than’. We are whole beings, not collections of optional processes, and our task is to experience and inhabit our own unique being as fully as possible. We see therapy as a means of supporting the client’s movement into that.

We do, of course, recognize that culturally we tend to over-value cognitive, so there is often a re-balancing needed. But we also think Bertrand Russell has a point, and all of us would do well to make alliance with our thinking selves…..

Palace Gate Counselling Service

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