Quotes by George Santayana

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

There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval. The dark background which death supplies brings out the tender colors of life in all their purity.
Wisdom comes by disillusionment.
History is always written wrong, and so always needs to be rewritten.
Our dignity is not in what we do, but what we understand.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness.
Habit is stronger than reason.
Fun is a good thing but only when it spoils nothing better.
The lover knows much more about absolute good and universal beauty than any logician or theologian, unless the latter, too, be lovers in disguise.
If pain could have cured us we should long ago have been saved.
Intolerance is a form of egotism, and to condemn egotism intolerantly is to share it.
Friendship is almost always the union of a part of one mind with the part of another; people are friends in spots.
Advertising is the modern substitute for argument; its function is to make the worse appear the better.
It takes patience to appreciate domestic bliss; volatile spirits prefer unhappiness.
When men and women agree, it is only in their conclusions; their reasons are always different.
Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.
Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.
It is a great advantage for a system of philosophy to be substantially true.
Music is essentially useless, as life is.
Nonsense is good only because common sense is so limited.
A man's feet must be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.
Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it.
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 easier to make a saint out of a libertine than out of a prig.
The Difficult is that which can be done immediately; the Impossible that which takes a little longer.
A man is morally free when, in full possession of his living humanity, he judges the world, and judges other men, with uncompromising sincerity.
The family is one of nature's masterpieces.
The great difficulty in education is to get experience out of ideas.
Perhaps the only true dignity of man is his capacity to despise himself.
Character is the basis of happiness and happiness the sanction of character.
The little word is has its tragedies: it marries and identifies different things with the greatest innocence; and yet no two are ever identical, and if therein lies the charm of wedding them and calling them one, therein too lies the danger.
All thought is naught but a footnote to Plato.
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.
Life is not a spectacle or a feast; it is a predicament.
Parents lend children their experience and a vicarious memory; children endow their parents with a vicarious immortality.
Sanity is a madness put to good uses; waking life is a dream controlled.
Society is like the air, necessary to breathe but insufficient to live on.
The universe, as far as we can observe it, is a wonderful and immense engine.
Oaths are the fossils of piety.
There is nothing sweeter than to be sympathized with.
Knowledge is recognition of something absent; it is a salutation, not an embrace.
The more rational an institution is the less it suffers by making concessions to others.
Happiness is the only sanction of life; where happiness fails, existence remains a mad and lamentable experience.
There is nothing to which men, while they have food and drink, cannot reconcile themselves.
The human mind is not rich enough to drive many horses abreast and wants one general scheme, under which it strives to bring everything.
That fear first created the gods is perhaps as true as anything so brief could be on so great a subject.
Fashion is something barbarous, for it produces innovation without reason and imitation without benefit.
The highest form of vanity is love of fame.
Emotion is primarily about nothing and much of it remains about nothing to the end.
The diseases which destroy a man are no less natural than the instincts which preserve him.
The primary use of conversation is to satisfy the impulse to talk.
America is a young country with an old mentality.
To knock a thing down, especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle, is a deep delight to the blood.
To be brief is almost a condition of being inspired.
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.
The aim of life is some way of living, as flexible and gentle as human nature; so that ambition may stoop to kindness, and philosophy to condor and humor. Neither prosperity nor empire nor heaven can be worth winning at the price of a virulent temper, bloody hands, an anguished spirit, and a vain hatred of the rest of the world.
Nothing can be meaner than the anxiety to live on, to live on anyhow and in any shape; a spirit with any honor is not willing to live except in its own way, and a spirit with any wisdom is not over-eager to live at all.
In endowing us with memory, nature has revealed to us a truth utterly unimaginable to the unreflective creation, the truth of immortality. The most ideal human passion is love, which is also the most absolute and animal and one of the most ephemeral.
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.

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