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Simon, B. Simon, N. (1972). The Pacifist Turn: An Episode of Mystic Illumination in the Autobiography of Bertrand Russell. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 20:109-121.

(1972). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 20:109-121

The Pacifist Turn: An Episode of Mystic Illumination in the Autobiography of Bertrand Russell

Bennett Simon, M.D. and Nancy Simon, R.N.


We present an analysis of Bertrand Russell's account of an episode of "mystic illumination" which culminated in his "conversion" to pacifism. Our construction links the form and content of the episode, as well as its outcome, to the traumatic experience of early parental loss. We particularly emphasize the role of aggression engendered in the setting of separation and object loss as crucial to understanding Russell's pacifist turn.

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