George Santayana Quotes

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).
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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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A conceived thing is doubly a product of mind, more a product of mind, if you will, than an idea, since ideas arise, so to speak, by the mind's inertia and conceptions of things by its activity. Ideas are mental sediment; conceived things are mental growths.
George Santayana (1863-1952), Spanish-born U.S. philosopher, poet. The Life of Reason: The Phases of Human Progress, pt. 1, ch. 6, Scribner (1906).
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The human race, in its intellectual life, is organized like the bees: the masculine soul is a worker, sexually atrophied, and essentially dedicated to impersonal and universal arts; the feminine is queen, infinite fertile, omnipresent in its brooding industry, but passive and abounding in intuitions without method and passions without justice.
George Santayana (1863-1952), Spanish-born U.S. philosopher, poet. The Life of Reason: The Phases of Human Progress, pt. 1, ch. 4, Scribner (1906).
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Language is like money, without which specific relative values may well exist and be felt, but cannot be reduced to a common denominator.
George Santayana (1863-1952), Spanish-born U.S. philosopher, poet. The Life of Reason: The Phases of Human Progress, pt. 4, ch. 5, Scribner (1906).
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When men and women agree, it is only in their conclusions; their reasons are always different.
George Santayana (1863-1952), Spanish-born U.S. philosopher, poet. The Life of Reason: The Phases of Human Progress, pt. 2, ch. 6, Scribner (1906).
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Old age is as forgetful as youth, and more incorrigible; it displays the same inattentiveness to conditions; its memory becomes self-repeating and degenerates into an instinctive reaction, like a bird's chirp.
George Santayana (1863-1952), Spanish-born U.S. philosopher, poet. The Life of Reason: The Phases of Human Progress, pt. 1, ch. 10, Scribner (1906).
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Man alone knows that he must die; but that very knowledge raises him, in a sense, above mortality, by making him a sharer in the vision of eternal truth. He becomes the spectator of his own tragedy; he sympathizes so much with the fury of the storm that he has no ears left for the shipwrecked sailor, though the sailor were his own soul. The truth is cruel, but it can be loved, and it makes free those who have loved it.
George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, essayist. Originally published in the Introduction to Spinoza's Ethics (1910). The Realm of Truth, preface, Scribner's (1938).
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By "essence" I understand a universal, of any degree of complexity and definition, which may be given immediately, whether to sense or to thought.... This object of pure sense or pure thought, with no belief superadded, an object inwardly complete and individual, but without external relations or physical status, is what I call an essence.
George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, essayist. Originally published 1920. "Three Proofs of Realism," Essays in Critical Realism, New York (1968).
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You cannot prove realism to a complete sceptic or idealist; but you can show an honest man that he is not a complete sceptic or idealist, but a realist at heart. So long as he is alive his sincere philosophy must fulfil the assumptions of his life and not destroy him.
George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, essayist. Originally published 1920. "Three Proofs of Realism," Essays in Critical Realism, New York (1968).
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