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Quotations From GEORGE SANTAYANA

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  • 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).
  • The theatre, for all its artifices, depicts life in a sense more truly than history, because the medium has a kindred movement to that of real life, though an artificial setting and form.
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. Skepticism and the Animal Mind, p. 102.

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  • My remembrance of the past is a novel I am constantly recomposing; and it would not be a historical novel, but sheer fiction, if the material events which mark and ballast my career had not their public dates and characters scientifically discoverable.
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, essayist. Originally published 1923. Skepticism and Animal Faith, chapter 3, Dover Publications (1955).
  • To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman.
    George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. "Reason in Society," ch. 3, The Life of Reason (1905-1906).

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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.
  • 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).

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  • 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).

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  • 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).
  • 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).
  • 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).

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