Quotes by George Santayana

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Man is as full of potential as he is of importance.

Prayer, among sane people, has never superseded practical efforts to secure the desired end.
The passions grafted on wounded pride are the most inveterate; they are green and vigorous in old age.
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.
The irrational in the human has something about it altogether repulsive and terrible, as we see in the maniac, the miser, the drunkard or the ape.
Nothing so much enhances a good as to make sacrifices for it.
Science is nothing but developed perception, interpreted intent, common sense rounded out and minutely articulated.
To be interested in the changing seasons is, in this middling zone, a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.
There is a kind of courtesy in skepticism. It would be an offense against polite conventions to press our doubts too far.
Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect.
The empiricist... thinks he believes only what he sees, but he is much better at believing than at seeing.
The spirit's foe in man has not been simplicity, but sophistication.
Men become superstitious, not because they have too much imagination, but because they are not aware that they have any.
I like to walk about among the beautiful things that adorn the world; but private wealth I should decline, or any sort of personal possessions, because they would take away my liberty.
Let a man once overcome his selfish terror at his own infinitude, and his infinitude is, in one sense, overcome.
The family is an early expedient and in many ways irrational. If the race had developed a special sexless class to be nurses, pedagogues, and slaves, like the workers among ants and bees, then the family would have been unnecessary. Such a division of labor would doubtless have involved evils of its own, but it would have obviated some drags and vexations proper to the family.
Religions are the great fairy tales of conscience.
The loftiest edifices need the deepest foundations.
Oxford, the paradise of dead philosophies.
Boston is a moral and intellectual nursery always busy applying first principles to trifles.
The body is an instrument, the mind its function, the witness and reward of its operation.
Beauty as we feel it is something indescribable; what it is or what it means can never be said.
The effort of art is to keep what is interesting in existence, to recreate it in the eternal.
It is veneer, rouge, aestheticism, art museums, new theaters, etc. that make America impotent. The good things are football, kindness, and jazz bands.
To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman.
The philosophy of the common man is an old wife that gives him no pleasure, yet he cannot live without her, and resents any aspersions that strangers may cast on her character.
Wealth, religion, military victory have more rhetorical than efficacious worth.
Every actual animal is somewhat dull and somewhat mad. He will at times miss his signals and stare vacantly when he might well act, while at other times he will run off into convulsions and raise a dust in his own brain to no purpose. These imperfections are so human that we should hardly recognise ourselves if we could shake them off altogether. Not to retain any dulness would mean to possess untiring attention and universal interests, thus realising the boast about deeming nothing human alien to us; while to be absolutely without folly would involve perfect self-knowledge and self-control. The intelligent man known to history flourishes within a dullard and holds a lunatic in leash. He is encased in a protective shell of ignorance and insensibility which keeps him from being exhausted and confused by this too complicated world; but that integument blinds him at the same time to many of his nearest and highest interests. He is amused by the antics of the brute dreaming within his breast; he gloats on his passionate reveries, an amusement which sometimes costs him very dear. Thus the best human intelligence is still decidely barbarous; it fights in heavy armour and keeps a fool at court.
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. This is the condition of children and barbarians, in whom instinct has learned nothing from experience.
One's friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human.

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