The well-known British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) says of himself in his autobiography: “When I survey my life, it seems to me to be a useless one, devoted to impossible ideals.
My activities continue from force of habit, and in the company of others, I forget the despair which underlies my daily pursuits and pleasure. But when I am alone and idle, I cannot conceal from myself that my life has no purpose, and that I know of no new purpose to which to devote my remaining years.”
Bertrand Russell started his life as a star personality. But when he died at the age of 97, his was a case of frustration. What was the reason behind this tragedy? An analysis of the above statement gives us the answer. One of Russell’s cherished goals was the establishment of a ‘single supreme world government’ capable of enforcing peace.
According to him, the only thing that would redeem mankind was cooperation, which could be achieved only through a world government. Russell devoted his life to the achievement of this goal. However, he failed utterly.
Failure in life is not final defeat. Failure means that a man has failed in achieving the first choice, but he still has the second choice. Bertrand Russell failed to discover the second choice. This was Russell’s real failure.
Failure in life is not final defeat. Failure means that a man has failed in achieving the first choice, but he still has the second choice.
It is said that Russell was a voracious reader. However, according to his own confession, his study was done out of habit. Habits are current, unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition. This was Russell’s weakness. He studied a lot, but he did so as a habit rather than by way of conscious planning. If you do something as a matter of conscious planning, it will make your mind creative. But, if you do something as a habit, then it will not develop creative thinking. Doing something out of habit is the same as an animal’s doing things by instinct. What is instinct for an animal, is habit for human beings.
Doing something as a result of conscious planning develops a person’s mind and leads to creative thinking. One who plans consciously is capable of engaging in introspection, reassessing his work and taking a U-turn in his life. Then he can make a new choice for himself. A creative mind is an active mind which is in a position to take new decisions every moment.
The ideal that Bertrand Russell had set as his goal was not achievable. Had Russell been a creative mind, he would have re-examined his goal and made a new choice. This would have made his life meaningful once again.
Experience shows that people generally lack creative thinking. The reason for this is people mostly do not consciously plan their activities.
Instead they work out of habit. Even if they begin their work by conscious planning, they slowly become habitual to it and start working unconsciously. Such a person cannot take a new decision in life. He will live as a prisoner of his habits, although what is right is for him to have a living mind.
Man should do everything as a result of conscious planning. A conscious plan will have the right goal and right goals will be fulfilled. When goals are fulfilled there is no room for frustration. And in case the goal is not right, his creative mind will take a new decision and reset his priorities.
Habit is a general term. It covers almost all human activities, from becoming addicted to wine to being part of politics—everything comes under its purview. Frustration is only for those who do things habitually.
Those who do things by way of conscious planning can never become victims of frustration.
PowerIn this world, one has poweronly over oneself. No one hasany power over any otherindividual.