[Editor's note: Any abstract of this famous essay could not do it justice. The abridged document is one-third the length of the original. But the original deserves to be read for the beauty of its language alone.]
Science shows Russell a universe without purpose or plan. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics predicts that the universe will cool to extinction and no matter how humans may strive, their end, decreed by nature, is death.
Yet, humans have some freedom of choice, some ways of acting that Russell describes. They can thereby assert a subtle mastery over the thoughtless forces of Nature and then they can stand proudly defiant of the irresistible forces.