George Santayana


Spanish-born American Philosopher, Essayist, Poet, Novelist, Critic, Philosophy Professor at Harvard University

Author Quotes

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

It is wisdom to believe the heart.

Man has an inexhaustible faculty for lying, especially to himself.

Nonsense is good only because common sense is so limited.

Only the dead have seen the end of war.

Prejudice is a great time saver. It enables you to form opinions without bothering to get the facts.

That fear first created the gods is perhaps as true as anything so brief could be on so great a subject.

The earth has music for those who listen.

It takes a wonderful brain and exquisite senses to produce a few stupid ideas.

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

Nothing can so pierce the soul as the uttermost sigh of the body.

Only when vitality is low do people find material things oppressive and ideal things unsubstantial.

Professional philosophers are usually only apologists: that is, they are absorbed in defending some vested illusion or some eloquent idea. Like lawyers or detectives, they study the case for which they are retained.

That lights the pathway but one step ahead

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

Belief in indeterminism is a sign of indetermination. No commanding or steady intellect flirts with so miserable a possibility, which in so far as it actually prevailed would make virtue impotent and experience, in its pregnant sense, impossible.

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

For an idea ever to be fashionable is ominous, since it must afterwards be always old-fashioned.

I am worse than an arm-chair philosopher: I am a poet in slippers.

In endowing us with memory, nature has revealed to us a truth utterly unimaginable to the unreflective creation, the truth of immortality...The most ideal human passion is love, which is also the most absolute and animal and one of the most ephemeral.

Intoxication is a sad business, at least for a philosopher; for you must either drown yourself altogether, or else when sober again you will feel somewhat fooled by yesterday's joys and somewhat lost in to-day's vacancy.

Bid, then, the tender light of faith to shine By which alone the mortal heart is led Unto the thinking of the thought divine.

England is not the best possible world but it is the best actual country, and a great rest after America.

For gold is tried in the fire and acceptable men in the furnace of adversity.

I believe in general in a dualism between facts and the ideas of those facts in human heads.

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Spanish-born American Philosopher, Essayist, Poet, Novelist, Critic, Philosophy Professor at Harvard University