Bertrand Russell (Transl. by: Avgust Pokhlebkin 1 )
  • 1 Independent Researcher, Oktabrsky Prospekt, 1A-32, Podolsk, Russian Federation 142117

What Desires Are Politically Important?

2017, vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 138–150 [issue contents]
The article provides a Russian translation of Bertrand Russell’s Nobel lecture delivered on December 11th, 1950, at the Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony in Stockholm. The text is based on a collation of two versions of the speech, one as available on NobelPrize.org, and the other as transcribed from a 1952 recording of the same speech for an American audience. The differences in the wording of the sources are indicated. Audience reactions and Russell’s non-verbal signals have also been included. The translator’s comments are added to clarify the translation, to disambiguate a mentioned fact, or to identify a person. For historical purposes, parts of the text that were omitted in an earlier Russian translation are also marked. The speech deals with the political impact of the desires deemed unessential to an immediate human self-preservation and limitless in terms of their fulfillment. Of these desires, acquisitiveness, rivalry, vanity, and the love of power are classified as the main ones, while boredom, fear, hate, and compassion are classified as corollary ones. Each kind of desire is defined, and then discussed through historical, anecdotal, and hypothetical examples. Desires are seen as an integral part of human life and cannot be eliminated completely, but their practical impact differs greatly depending on the venue they are allowed to take in a particular social system. Therefore, the importance of neutral and socially beneficial venues for the venting of passions is highly stressed. In conclusion, Russell suggests the cultivation of intelligence as the best antidote for social strife.
Citation: Russell B. (2017) Kakie zhelaniya politicheski vesomy? [What Desires Are Politically Important?]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 16, no 1, pp. 138-150 (in Russian)
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