George Santayana Quotes

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).
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Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer; there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through a long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness..
George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. Skepticism and Animal Faith, ch. 9 (1923).
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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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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.
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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).
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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).
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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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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).
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