Despite the bleakness of Bertrand Russell’s melancholy lament, the words he penned in his “Philosophical Essays” are at least honest and intellectually consistent with his atheism:
Brief and powerless is man’s life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark.
A meaningless end to a meaningless existence. A brief, powerless life followed by a slow, sure, pitiless, dark death. Unmitigated despair. That’s all that Bertrand Russell could find in life and in death.
He expressed a similar sentiment in his autobiography:
There is darkness without, and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendour, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing. Why live in such a world? Why even die?
Indeed. For Russell, thoughts like these were not the product of morbid bouts of depression; they were the logical result of his carefully considered atheism.
Given the opportunity, how would you have responded to Russell’s agonizing hopelessness?