George Santayana

(16 December 1863 - 26 September 1952 / Madrid)

George Santayana Quotes

  • ''Oxford, the paradise of dead philosophies.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. Egotism in German Philosophy, p. 144 (1916).
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  • ''Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. Life of Reason, "Reason in Common Sense," ch. 12 (1905-6). William L. Shirer made these words the epigraph for his Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1959).
  • ''What brings enlightenment is experience, in the sad sense of this word—the pressure of hard facts and unintelligible troubles, making a man rub his eyes in his waking dream, and put two and two together. Enlightenment is cold water.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, essayist. Originally published in The Dial (1922). "Marginal Notes on Civilization in the United States," Santayana on America, Harcourt, Brace & World (1968).
  • ''The effort of art is to keep what is interesting in existence, to recreate it in the eternal.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. "Reason in Art," ch. 8, The Life of Reason (1905-1906, rev. edition 1953).
  • ''Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. "Reason in Common Sense," ch. 12, The Life of Reason (1905-1906).
  • ''Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, essayist. Reason in Common Sense, introduction, originally published 1922.
  • ''There is a kind of courtesy in skepticism. It would be an offense against polite conventions to press our doubts too far.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. "Reason in Common Sense," ch. 4, The Life of Reason (1905-1906).
  • ''Character is the basis of happiness and happiness the sanction of character.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. "Reason in Common Sense," ch. 9, The Life of Reason (1905-1906).
  • ''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.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, essayist. Originally published 1922. Reason in Common Sense, chapter 3, Collier Books (1962).
  • ''The body is an instrument, the mind its function, the witness and reward of its operation.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. "Reason in Common Sense," ch. 9, The Life of Reason (1905-1906).

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Best Poem of George Santayana

Premonition

The muffled syllables that Nature speaks
Fill us with deeper longing for her word;
She hides a meaning that the spirit seeks,
She makes a sweeter music than is heard.

A hidden light illumines all our seeing,
An unknown love enchants our solitude.
We feel and know that from the depths of being
Exhales an infinite, a perfect good.

Though the heart wear the garment of its sorrow
And be not happy like a naked star,
Yet from the thought of peace some peace we borrow,
Some rapture from the rapture felt afar.

Our heart strings are too coarse ...

Read the full of Premonition

The Power Of Art

Not human art, but living gods alone
Can fashion beauties that by changing live,--
Her buds to spring, his fruits to autumn give,
To earth her fountains in her heart of stone;
But these in their begetting are o'erthrown,
Nor may the sentenced minutes find reprieve;
And summer in the blush of joy must grieve
To shed his flaunting crown of petals blown.
We to our works may not impart our breath,

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