George Santayana
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"Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás", known as "George Santayana", was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. Santayana was raised and educated in the United States and identified himself as an American people/American, although he always kept a valid Spanish passport. He wrote in English and is generally considered an American man of letters. At the age of forty-eight, Santayana left his position at Harvard and returned to Europe permanently, never to return to the United States. His last wish was to be buried in the Spanish pantheon in Rome.

Santayana is known for famous sayings, such as "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it", or "Only the dead have seen the end of war." Santayana, like many philosophers from the late nineteenth century, was a naturalist (that is, he denied the existence of supernatural beings, like gods and ghosts), but he found profound meaning in literary writings and in religious ideas and texts (which he regarded as fundamentally akin to literature). Santayana was a broad ranging cultural critic whose observations spanned many disciplines. He said that he stood in philosophy "exactly where [he stood] in daily life."

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Science is nothing but developed perception, interpreted intent, common sense rounded out and minutely articulated.

Our an omen of our destiny, and the more integrity we have and keep, the simpler and nobler that destiny is likely to be.

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

Music is a means of giving form to our inner feelings, without attaching them to events or objects in the world.

Music is essentially useless, as life is: but both have an ideal extension which lends utility to its conditions.

The need of exercise is a modern superstition, invented by people who ate too much and had nothing to think about.

America is the greatest of opportunities and the worst of influences.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Before he sets out, the traveler must possess fixed interests and facilities to be served by travel.

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.

Wisdom comes by disillusionment.

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

Before you contradict an old man, my fair friend, you should endeavor to understand him.

Skepticism 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 long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

America is a young country with an old mentality.

The wisest mind has something yet to learn.

The truth is cruel, but it can be loved, and it makes free those who have loved it.

A child only educated at school is an uneducated child.

Sanity is a madness put to good use.

The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool.

Do not have evil-doers for friends, do not have low people for friends: have virtuous people for friends, have for friends the best of men.

The degree in which a poet's imagination dominates reality is, in the end, the exact measure of his importance and dignity.

Nothing is really so poor and melancholy as art that is interested in itself and not in its subject.

An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world.

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

Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are.

Why shouldn't things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory? They are so, and we are so, and they and we go very well together.

To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.

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 timidly, and struggles to the light amid the thorns.

Music is essentially useless, as life is.

Society is like the air; necessary to breathe, but insufficient to live on.

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 enabline it to make its peace with its destiny.

Advertising is the modern substitute for argument; its function is to make the worse appear the better.

There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.

Whoever it was who searched the heavens with a telescope and found no God would not have found the human mind if he had searched the brain with a microscope.

The body is an instrument, the mind its function, the witness and reward of its operation.

Those who speak most of progress measure it by quantity and not by quality.

Skepticism, like chastity, should not be relinquished too readily.

The lover knows much more about absolute good and universal beauty than any logician or theologian, unless the latter, too, be lovers in disguise.

Happiness is the only sanction of life; where happiness fails, existence remains a mad and lamentable experiment.

To knock a thing down, especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle, is a deep delight of the blood.

Beauty as we feel it is something indescribable; what it is or what it means can never be said.

Matters of religion should never be matters of controversy. We neither argue with a lover about his taste, not condemn him, if we are just, for knowing so human a passion.

Intolerance itself is a form of egoism, and to condemn egoism intolerantly is to share it.

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

A man is morally free when, in full possession of his living humanity, he judges the world, and judges other men, with uncompromising sincerity.

The family is one of nature's masterpieces.

Friends need not agree in everything or go always together, or have no comparable other friendships of the same intimacy. On the contrary, in friendship union is more about ideal things: and in that sense it is more ideal and less subject to trouble than marriage is.

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

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