[Ads-l] Quote: Most people would die sooner than think - in fact, they do so. Request "The ABC of Relativity" 1925 by Bertrand Russell

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Tue Aug 28 09:40:09 EDT 2018

Sheldon brings to mind Henry Sheldon, a leading light of Brooklyn society
in the mid-19th century, and his descendants.

He was not known for his writing, however.

There is also the Sheldon of the Sheldon Edition in ... Topeka?

On Thu, Aug 23, 2018, 8:23 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>

> A psychology professor asked me to explore the following expression.
> Most people would rather die than think, and many of them do.
> I've conducted a preliminary search, and it appears that "The ABC of
> Relativity" (1925 & 1927 edition) by Bertrand Russell does contain an
> instance although the phrasing differs from the statement above (see
> below for the correct phrasing). The Google Books database contains a
> snippet match in the 1927 edition.
> If you have access to the 1925 edition would you please verify the
> presence of the excerpt below? It should be appear within the page
> range 160 to 170. Later editions (1958 and after) have removed the
> quotation.
> Year: 1927 (Edition in Google Books)
> Title: The ABC of Relativity
> Author: Bertrand Russell
> Quote Page 166 (According to Google Books; please check nearby pages)
> Database: Google Books (Data may be inaccurate and must be verified
> with hardcopy or scans)
> [Begin excerpt from "The ABC of Relativity" and "Psyche". Verification
> required.]
> We all have a tendency to think that the world must conform to our
> prejudices. The opposite view involves some effort of thought, and
> most people would die sooner than think — in fact, they do so. But the
> fact that a spherical universe seems odd to people who have been
> brought up on Euclidean prejudices is no evidence that it is
> impossible.
> [End excerpt]
> Here is some additional optional background. Interesting citations
> from list members would be welcome.
> Below is a match in 1913 with the comical addendum "and they do". I do
> not know the identity of "Sheldon".
> Date: September 4, 1913
> Periodical: Printers' Ink: A Journal for Advertisers
> Volume 84, Number 10
> Article: (Advertisement encouraging the purchase of newspaper
> advertisements in the "Standard Union" of Brooklyn)
> Quote Page 54
> https://books.google.com/books?id=ZcIpAAAAYAAJ&q=%22rather+fail%22#v=snippet&
> [Begin excerpt]
> Most people would rather fail, sicken and die than think—and they do.
> —Sheldon
> [End excerpt]
> Below is a match in 1857 without the comical addendum. I do not know
> who wrote "Editor's Table".
> Date: August 1857
> Periodical: Harper's New Monthly Magazine
> Article: Editor's Table
> Start Page 410, Quote Page 406
> https://books.google.com/books?id=HIYCAAAAIAAJ&q=%22rather+die%22#v=snippet&
> [Begin excerpt]
> There are men who will dare death for glory or for country, who could
> not dare scorn or contumely for the truth; and people generally would
> rather die than think. Nothing but that enrapturing sentiment and
> vivid vision implied in the love of truth--nothing but that
> transporting thrill which imparadises the soul in the perception of a
> new thought, can lift a wise and good man above the wholesome
> prejudices of prudence, custom, country, and common belief, and make
> him let loose the immortal idea his mind imprisons, and send it forth
> to war against false systems and tenacious errors, with the firm faith
> that it will result in eventual good, though at first it seems to
> trail along with it the pernicious consequences of a lie.
> [End excerpt]
> Garson O'Toole
> QuoteInvestigator.com
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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