George Santayana

George Santayana

Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás, known in English as George Santayana (December 16, 1863 – September 26, 1952), was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. Santayana is popularly known for aphorisms, such as "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it", "Only the dead have seen the end of war", and the definition of beauty as "pleasure objectified".

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The family is one of nature's masterpieces.

The earth has its music for those who will listen.

The primary use of conversation is to satisfy the impulse to talk.

Graphic design is the paradise of individuality eccentricity, heresy, abnormality, hobbies and humors.

The Bible is literature, not dogma.

My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests.

Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are.

Do not have evil-doers for friends, do not have low people for friends: have virtuous people for friends, have for friends the best of men.

History is a pack of lies about events that never happened, told by people who weren't there.

The love of all-inclusiveness is as dangerous in philosophy as in art.

It takes patience to appreciate domestic bliss, volatile spirits prefer unhappiness.

The great difficulty in education is to get experience out of ideas.

A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.

A man's feet should be planted in his country but his eyes should survey the world.

Knowledge is recognition of something absent, it is a salutation, not an embrace.

America is a young country with an old mentality.

Society is like the air, necessary to breathe, but insufficient to live on.

To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman.

Wealth, religion, military, victory, have more rhetorical than efficacious worth.

The passions grafted on wounded pride are the most inveterate, they are green and vigorous in old age.

Parents lend children their experience and a vicarious memory, children endow their parents with a vicarious immortality.

Periods of tranquillity are seldom prolific of creative achievement. Mankind has to be stirred up.

Language is like money without which specific relative values may well exist and be felt but cannot be reduced to a common denominator.

If pain could have cured us we should long ago have been saved.

Religion, in its humility, restores man to his only dignity, the courage to live by grace.

It is veneer rouge aestheticism art museums new theaters etc. that make America impotent. The good things are football kindness and jazz bands.

The lover knows much more about absolute good and universal beauty than any logician or theologian unless the latter too be lovers in disguise.

The word experience is like a shrapnel shell and bursts into a thousand meanings.

Prayer among sane people has never superseded practical efforts to secure the desired end.

Fun is a good thing but only when it spoils nothing better.

The effort of art is to keep what is interesting in existence to recreate it in the eternal.

The existence of any evil anywhere at any time absolutely ruins a total optimism.

Friendship is almost always the union of a part of one mind with the part of another, people are friends in spots.

Happiness is the only sanction of life, where happiness fails existence remains a mad and lamentable experiment.

The spirit's foe in man has not been simplicity but sophistication.

To knock a thing down especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle is a deep delight of the blood.

Advertising is the modern substitute for argument, its function is to make the worse appear the better.

There is a kind of courtesy in skepticism. It would be an offense against polite conventions to press our doubts too far.

All thought is naught but a footnote to Plato.

Oaths are the fossils of piety.

Nothing can so pierce the soul as the uttermost sigh of the body.

Character is the basis of happiness and happiness the sanction of character.

The wisest mind has something yet to learn.

Let a man once overcome his selfish terror at his own infinitude and his infinitude is in one sense overcome.

We must welcome the future remembering that soon it will be the past, and we must respect the past remembering that it was once all that was humanly possible.

Emotion is primarily about nothing and much of it remains about nothing to the end.

Only the dead have seen the end of the war.

Fashion is something barbarous for it produces innovation without reason and imitation without benefit.

The Soul is the voice of the body's interests.

A soul is but the last bubble of a long fermentation in the world.

It is easier to make a saint out of a libertine than out of a prig.

Each religion by the help of more or less myth which it takes more or less seriously proposes some method of fortifying the human soul and enabling it to make its peace with its destiny.

There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.

An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world.

Friends are generally of the same sex, for when men and women agree it is only in the conclusions, their reasons are always different.

Music is a means of giving form to our inner feelings without attaching them to events or objects in the world.

The more rational an institution is the less it suffers by making concessions to others.

A conception not reducible to the small change of daily experience is like a currency not exchangeable for articles of consumption, it is not a symbol but a fraud.

I like to walk about among the beautiful things that adorn the world, but private wealth I should decline or any sort of personal possessions because they would take away my liberty.

To me it seems a dreadful indignity to have a soul controlled by geography.

Almost every wise saying has an opposite one no less wise to balance it.

Perhaps the only true dignity of man is his capacity to despise himself.

To reform means to shatter one form and to create another, but the two sides of this act are not always equally intended nor equally successful.

The hunger for facile wisdom is the root of all false philosophy.

Skepticism like chastity should not be relinquished too readily.

All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with, all else they ignore or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong or deny to be possible.

For gold is tried in the fire and acceptable men in the furnace of adversity.

Fanaticism consists of redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.

Knowledge is not eating and we cannot expect to devour and possess what we mean. Knowledge is recognition of something absent, it is a salutation not an embrace.

Oxford the paradise of dead philosophies.

The irrational in the human has something about it altogether repulsive and terrible as we see in the maniac the miser the drunkard or the ape.

Many possessions if they do not make a man better are at least expected to make his children happier, and this pathetic hope is behind many exertions.

One's friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human.

Philosophers are very severe towards other philosophers because they expect too much.

The philosophy of the common man is an old wife that gives him no pleasure, yet he cannot live without her and resents any aspersions that strangers may cast on her character.

The truth is cruel but it can be loved and it makes free those who have loved it.

When men and women agree it is only in their conclusions, their reasons are always different.

A string of excited fugitive miscellaneous pleasures is not happiness, happiness resides in imaginative reflection and judgment when the picture of one's life or of human life as it truly has been or is satisfies the will and is gladly accepted.

That fear first created the gods is perhaps as true as anything so brief could be on so great a subject.

The degree in which a poet's imagination dominates reality is in the end the exact measure of his importance and dignity.

The world is a perpetual caricature of itself, at every moment it is the mockery and the contradiction of what it is pretending to be.

Habit is stronger than reason.

In Greece wise men speak and fools decide.

Sanity is madness put to good use.

Tyrants are seldom free, the cares and the instruments of their tyranny enslave them.

Experience seems to most of us to lead to conclusions but empiricism has sworn never to draw them.

Theory helps us to bear our ignorance of facts.

By nature's kindly disposition most questions which it is beyond a man's power to answer do not occur to him at all.

It is always pleasant to be urged to do something on the ground that one can do it well.

The Difficult is that which can be done immediately, the Impossible that which takes a little longer.

Before you contradict an old man my fair friend you should endeavor to understand him.

Wisdom comes by disillusionment.

Nothing so much enhances a good as to make sacrifices for it.

Nonsense is so good only because common sense is so limited.

The dreamer can know no truth not even about his dream except by awaking out of it.

To be brief is almost a condition of being inspired.

Friends need not agree in everything or go always together or have no comparable other friendships of the same intimacy.

The young man who has not wept is a savage and the older man who will not laugh is a fool.

The mind of the Renaissance was not a pilgrim mind but a sedentary city mind like that of the ancients.

To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.

The body is an instrument the mind its function the witness and reward of its operation.

To know what people really think pay regard to what they do rather than what they say.

Intolerance is a form of egotism and to condemn egotism intolerantly is to share it.

For a man who has done his natural duty death is as natural as sleep.

The Bible is a wonderful source of inspiration for those who don't understand it.

Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.

Depression is rage spread thin.

I believe in general in a dualism between facts and the ideas of those facts in human heads.

The tendency to gather and to breed philosophers in universities does not belong to ages of free and humane reflection: it is scholastic and proper to the Middle Ages and to Germany.

Bid then the tender light of faith to shine By which alone the mortal heart is led Unto the thinking of the thought divine.

Music is essentially useless as is life.

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Never build your emotional life on the weaknesses of others.

The highest form of vanity is love of fame.

Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness.

It is a revenge, the devil sometimes takes upon the virtuous that he entraps them by the force of the very passion they have suppressed and think themselves superior to.

It is possible to be a master in false philosophy easier in fact than to be a master in the truth because a false philosophy can be made as simple and consistent as one pleases.

Life is not a spectacle or a feast, it is a predicament.

The diseases which destroy a man are no less natural than the instincts which preserve him.