George Santayana Quotes (196 Quotes)


    Men have fiendishly conceived a heaven only to find it insipid, and a hell only to find it ridiculous.

    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.

    The hunger for facile wisdom is the root of all false philosophy.

    Each religion, by the help of more or less myth, which it takes more or less seriously, proposes some method of fortifying the human soul and enabling it to make its peace with its destiny.

    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


    The empiricist... thinks he believes only what he sees, but he is much better at believing than at seeing.


    When men and women agree, it is only in their conclusions; their reasons are always different.

    The primary use of conversation is to satisfy the impulse to talk.


    The effort of art is to keep what is interesting in existence, to recreate it in the eternal.

    Character is the basis of happiness and happiness the sanction of character.

    Language is like money, without which specific relative values may well exist and be felt, but cannot be reduced to a common denominator.

    Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer.

    The superiority of the distant over the present is only due to the mass and variety of the pleasures that can be suggested, compared with the poverty of those that can at any time be felt.

    Not to believe in love is a great sign of dullness. There are some people so indirect and lumbering that they think all real affection must rest on circumstantial evidence.

    Emotion is primarily about nothing and much of it remains about nothing to the end.

    The world is not respectable it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter and in these, the spirit blooms.

    History is always written wrong, and so always needs to be rewritten.... What is interesting is brought forward as if it had been central and efficacious in the march of events, and harmonies are turned into causes. Kings and generals are endowed with motives appropriate to what the historian values in their actions plans are imputed to them prophetic of their actual achievements, while the thoughts that really preoccupied them remain buried in absolute oblivion.


    Columbus found a world, and had no chart save one that Faith deciphered in the skies.

    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.

    To call war the soil of courage and virtue is like calling debauchery the soil of love.

    Philosophers are very severe towards other philosophers because they expect too much.

    Friendship is almost always the union of a part of one mind with the part of another; people are friends in spots.

    Work and love -- these are the basics waking life is a dream controlled.

    The human mind is not rich enough to drive many horses abreast and wants one general scheme, under which it strives to bring everything.

    Tyrants are seldom free; the cares and the instruments of their tyranny enslave them.



    People are usually more firmly convinced that their opinions are precious than that they are true.


    Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.



    The universe, as far as we can observe it, is a wonderful and immense engine

    There is nothing to which men, while they have food and drink, cannot reconcile themselves.

    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.

    The dreamer can know no truth, not even about his dream, except by awaking out of it.

    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.

    It is a revenge the devil sometimes takes upon the virtuous, that he entraps them by the force of the very passion they have suppressed and think themselves superior to.

    To understand one's self is the classic form of consolation to delude one's self is the romantic

    A soul is but the last bubble of a long fermentation in the world.

    Matters of religion should never be matters of controversy. We neither argue with a lover about his taste, nor condemn him, if we are just, for knowing so human a passion.

    To reform means to shatter one form and to create another; but the two sides of this act are not always equally intended nor equally successful.

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

    The same battle in the clouds will be known to the deaf only as lightning and to the blind only as thunder.

    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.

    Nothing is inherently and invincibly young except spirit. And spirit can enter a human being perhaps better in the quiet of old age and dwell there more undisturbed than in the turmoil of adventure.



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    Related Authors


    Karl Popper - Karl Marx - John Stuart Mill - Friedrich Nietzsche - Arthur Schopenhauer - Thales - Soren Kierkegaard - Protagoras - Leo Strauss - Epicurus


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