Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Santayana, George

(Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás)

1863 – 1952 CE

Powerfully influential, true-to-himself philosopher/poet

Poet first, philosopher second, novelist, Harvard dropped-out professor, Christian-atheist, free-thinking cultural critic; Santayana mixed his poetic genius with deep, philosophic insights; beauty with truth. Born in Spain, he brought an old European flavor and aristocratic appreciation to his new but temporary American homeland saturated with the idealism and individualism of Emerson and Thoreau. Many of his aphorisms have progressed from words of wisdom to cliché to truism. ("Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it") Professor to students like T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Gertrude Stein, Walter Lippmann, W. E. B. Du Bois, Conrad Aiken, and Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter; major influence on thought-leaders like Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead; Santayana’s influence on awakened evolution continues

Eras

Unlisted Sources

Life of Reason: Reason in Science (1905-6)

Little Essays (1920)

Persons and Places (1944)

Persons and Places {)

R. in Science

Reason in Common Sense

Reason in Religion

Reason in Science

Skepticism and Animal Faith

Some Turns of Thought, 1933

The Absence of Religion in Shakespeare

The Life of Reason

The Life of Reason (1905)

The Life of Reason, 1905

Quotes by Santayana, George (45 quotes)

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

Themes: History

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“Only the dead have seen the end of war”

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“For Shakespeare, in the matter of religion, the choice lay between Christianity and nothing. He chose nothing.”

from The Absence of Religion in Shakespeare

Themes: Religion

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“The brute necessity of believing something so long as life lasts does not justify any belief in particular.”

Themes: Belief

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“Christianity persecuted, tortured, and burned. Like a hound it tracked the very scent of heresy. It kindled wars and nursed furious hatred and ambitions. Like Islam, it sanctified extermination and tyranny. All this would have been impossible if, like Buddhism, it had looked only to peace and the liberation of souls.”

from Reason in Science

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“Great thoughts require a great mind... Culture is on the horns of this dilemma: if profound and noble , it must remain rare if common, it must become mean.”

from The Life of Reason

Themes: Culture

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“Revolutions are ambiguous things. Their success is generally proportionate to their power of adaptation and to the reabsorption within them of what they rebelled against”

from The Life of Reason

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“The Life of Reason is an ideal to which everything in the world should be subordinated; it establishes lines of moral cleavage everywhere and makes right eternally different from wrong.”

from Reason in Religion

Themes: Reason

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“Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect.”

from Skepticism and Animal Faith

Themes: Doubt

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“Wisdom comes from disillusionment.”

from Reason in Common Sense

Themes: Wisdom

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“Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.”

from The Life of Reason

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“That life is worth living is the most necessary of assumptions, and, were it not assumed, the most impossible of conclusions.”

from The Life of Reason

Themes: Meaningfulness

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“It is pathetic to observe how lowly are the motives that religion, even the highest, attributes to the deity... That fear first created the gods is perhaps as true as anything so brief could be on so great a subject.”

Themes: Fear God

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“A thousand reforms have left the world as corrupt as ever, for each successful reform has founded a new institution, and this institution has bred its new and congenial abuses”

from The Life of Reason

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“To call war the soil of courage and virtue is like calling debauchery the soil of love... the glories of war are all blood-stained, delirious, and infected with crime; the combative instinct is a savage prompting by which one man's good is found in another's evil.”

from The Life of Reason

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“To fight is a radical instinct; if men have nothing else to fight over, they will fight over words, fancies, or women; or they will fight because they dislike each other’s looks, or because they have met walking in opposite directions… To fight for a reason and in a calculating spirit is something your true warrior despises.”

from Reason in Religion

Themes: Conflict Warriors

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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, infinitely fertile, omnipresent in its brooding industry, but passive and abounding in intuitions without method and passions without justice... There is something mysterious and oracular about a women’s mind which inspires a certain deference and puts it out of the question to judge what she says by masculine standards.”

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“The family is one of nature's masterpieces.”

Themes: Family

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“A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.”

Themes: Education

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“Sanity is a madness put to good uses.”

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“My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests.”

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“It takes patience to appreciate domestic bliss; volatile spirits prefer unhappiness.”

Themes: Patience

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“A man's feet must be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.”

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“There are books in which the footnotes, or the comments scrawled by some reader's hand in the margin, are more interesting than the text. The world is one of those books.”

Themes: Books

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“Sex endows the individual with a dumb and powerful instinct, which carries his body and soul continually toward another... What more could be needed to suffuse the world with the deepest meaning and beauty.”

Themes: Sex

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“If all the arts aspire to the condition of music, all the sciences aspire to the condition of mathematics.”

from Some Turns of Thought, 1933

Themes: Science Music

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“Most men's conscience, habits, and opinions are borrowed from convention and gather continually comforting assurances from the same social consensus that originally suggested them.”

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“The true contrast between science and myth is more nearly touched when we say that science alone is capable of verification.”

from The Life of Reason, 1905

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“In endowing us with memory, nature has revealed to us a truth utterly unimaginable to the collective creation—the truth of immortality.”

from Reason in Religion

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“A theory is not an unemotional thing. If music can be full of passion, merely by giving form to a single sense, how much more beauty or terror may not a vision be pregnant with which brings order and method into everything that we know”

from R. in Science

Themes: Philosophy

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“A thousand reforms have left the world as corrupt as ever, for each successful reform has founded a new institution, and this institution has bred its new and congenial abuses.”

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“To be bewitched is not to be saved, though all the magicians and aesthetes in the world should pronounce it to be so.”

from The Life of Reason

Themes: Illusion

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“The greatest thought that mankind has ever hit upon? Lucretius' idea that all of life is the unending mutation of indestructible substances”

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“Since barbarism has its pleasures, it naturally has its apologists.”

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“Myths are not believed in, they are conceived and understood.”

from Little Essays (1920)

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“You and I possess manifold ideal bonds in the interests we share; but each of us has his poor body and his irremediable, incommunicable dreams.”

from Life of Reason: Reason in Science (1905-6)

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“Real unselfishness consists in sharing the interests of others.”

Themes: Golden Rule

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“Wealth is dismal and poverty cruel unless both are festive. There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.”

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“To be served by travel, before he sets out, the traveller must possess fixed interests and facilities. If he drifted aimlessly from country to country, he would not travel but only wander”

Themes: Travel

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“To keep beauty in its place is to make all things beautiful.”

from The Life of Reason (1905)

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“An ideal society is a drama enacted exclusively in the imagination.”

from The Life of Reason (1905)

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“”

from Persons and Places {)

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“Between the laughing and weeping philosopher, there is no opposition: the same facts that make one laugh make one weep.”

from Persons and Places (1944)

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“Music is essentially useless, as life is... Music is a means of giving form to our inner feelings without attaching them to events or objects in the world.”

from The Life of Reason (1905)

Themes: Music

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“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.”

Themes: Family

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Quotes about Santayana, George (4 quotes)

“In the classroom [his] periods had the intricate perfection of a poem and the import of a prophecy; he spoke somehow for his hearers and not to them, stirring the depths in their natures and troubling their minds as an oracle might”

Horace Kallen 1921 CE –
from Journal of Philosophy, 1921

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“Santayana also liked religion, but in a very different way. He liked it aesthetically and historically, not as a help towards a moral life... He did not intellectually accept any of the Christian dogmas, but he was content that others should believe them, and himself appreciated what he regarded as the Christian myth.”

Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”
from History of Western Philosophy

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“Seldom has an incredible philosophy been so graced wit style—metaphors flashing light upon abstractions, words molded into hypnotizing music. Read and beware!”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Fallen Leaves

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“A mature and subtle, though too sombre, soul has written itself down quietly, in statuesque and classic prose. And though we may not like its minor key, its undertone of sweet regret for a vanished world, we see it it the finished expression of this dying and nascent age, in which men cannot be altogether wise and free, because they have abandoned their old ideas and have not yet found the new ones that shall lure them nearer to perfection.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from The Story of Philosophy, 1926

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