George Santayana

(16 December 1863 - 26 September 1952 / Madrid)

George Santayana Quotes

  • ''Perhaps the only true dignity of man is his capacity to despise himself.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. Spinoza's Ethics, introduction (1910).
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  • ''Oaths are the fossils of piety.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. "The Absence of Religion in Shakespeare," issue 5, New World Journal.
  • ''He carries his English weather in his heart wherever he goes, and it becomes a cool spot in the desert, and a steady and sane oracle amongst all the delirium of mankind.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. "The British Character," Soliloquies in England (1922).
  • ''Fun is a good thing but only when it spoils nothing better.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. "The Comic," The Sense of Beauty (1896).
  • ''Sanity is a madness put to good uses; waking life is a dream controlled.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. repr. In Little Essays, ed. Logan Pearsall Smith (1920). "The Elements of Poetry," Interpretations of Poetry and Religion (1900).
  • ''The mind of the Renaissance was not a pilgrim mind, but a sedentary city mind, like that of the ancients.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. The Genteel Tradition at Bay, ch. 1 (1931).
  • ''The primary use of conversation is to satisfy the impulse to talk.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. The Last Puritan, p. 385 (1935).
  • ''Experience is a mere whiff or rumble, produced by enormously complex and ill-deciphered causes of experience; and in the other direction, experience is a mere peephole through which glimpses come down to us of eternal things.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, essayist. Letter, May 1933, to the Marchesa Iris Origo. The Letters of George Santayana, ed. Daniel Cory (1955).
  • ''Happiness is the only sanction of life; where happiness fails, existence remains a mad and lamentable experiment.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. The Life of Reason, "Reason in Common Sense," ch. 10 (1905-1906).
  • ''A conceived thing is doubly a product of mind, more a product of mind, if you will, than an idea, since ideas arise, so to speak, by the mind's inertia and conceptions of things by its activity. Ideas are mental sediment; conceived things are mental growths.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), Spanish-born U.S. philosopher, poet. The Life of Reason: The Phases of Human Progress, pt. 1, ch. 6, Scribner (1906).

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Best Poem of George Santayana


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


Silent daisies out of reach,
Maidens of the starry grass,
Gazing on me as I pass
With a look too wise for speech,
Teach me resignation,--teach
Patience to the barren clod,
As, above your happier sod,
Bending to the wind's caress,
You--unplucked, alas!--no less
Sweetly manifest the god.

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