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George Santayana

(16 December 1863 - 26 September 1952 / Madrid)

Quotations

  • ''It is veneer, rouge, aestheticism, art museums, new theaters, etc. that make America impotent. The good things are football, kindness, and jazz bands.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. Letter, May 22, 1927, to critic Van Wyck Brooks.
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  • ''Philosophers are very severe towards other philosophers because they expect too much.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, essayist. Originally published 1920. Character and Opinion in the United States, ch. 1, Doubleday Anchor (1956).
  • ''Nietzsche said that the earth has been a madhouse long enough. Without contradicting him we might perhaps soften the expression, and say that philosophy has been long enough an asylum for enthusiasts.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, essayist. Originally published 1920. Character and Opinion in the United States, ch. 5, Doubleday Anchor (1956).
  • ''The word experience is like a shrapnel shell, and bursts into a thousand meanings.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, essayist. Originally published 1920. Character and Opinion in the United States, ch. 3, Doubleday Anchor (1956).
  • ''The love of all-inclusiveness is as dangerous in philosophy as in art.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, essayist. Originally published 1920. Character and Opinion in the United States, ch. 1, Doubleday Anchor (1956).
  • ''The existence of any evil anywhere at any time absolutely ruins a total optimism.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, essayist. Originally published 1920. Character and Opinion in the United States, ch. 4, Doubleday Anchor (1956).
  • ''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.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, essayist. Originally published 1920. Character and Opinion in the United States, ch. 1, Doubleday Anchor (1956).
  • ''The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. Dialogues in Limbo, ch. 3 (1925).
  • ''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.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. "Dickens," Soliloquies in England (1922).
  • ''Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.''
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. Dominations and Powers, bk. 1, pt. 1, ch. 1 (1951).

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Sonnet XXV

As in the midst of battle there is room
For thoughts of love, and in foul sin for mirth;
As gossips whisper of a trinket's worth
Spied by the death-bed's flickering candle-gloom;
As in the crevices of Caesar's tomb
The sweet herbs flourish on a little earth
So in this great disaster of our birth
We can be happy, and forget our doom.

[Hata Bildir]