Talk:George Santayana

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Nonsensical Quote[edit]

The quote "People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors." in the "Life Of Reason" "Vol. 1", is anyone sure this is the correct quote? I would also need a citation

Quote Worth Mentioning[edit]

No link to Wikipedia article[edit]

Thanks for getting his history quote right!

This page now has a link to

whereas, e.g. does have a box at the bottom with "Wikipedia has an article about: Philosophy"

(I'm new to Wikiquote.)

I was doing a research paper on Jim Jones and this quote was also used during the White Night where over 900 people killed themselves. Above the tub of cyanide-laced Kool-aid was a sign that said "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."-George Santayana

Unconfirmed citation for past ("history") quote[edit]

I have not confirmed the citation below, which was posted to a message board, but it may help others:

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

CITES: George Santayana, The Life of Reason or The Phases of Human Progress: Reason in Common Sense 284 (2nd ed., Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, New York 1924 (originally published 1905 Charles Scribner's Sons)(appears in chapter XII, "Flux and Constancy in Human Nature")). George Santayana, The Life of Reason or The Phases of Human Progress 82 (one-volume edition, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, New York 1954)(appears in Book I, Reason in Common Sense, chapter 10, "Flux and Constancy in Human Nature").

Source:, as displayed 2006-05-16; Original message dated Jan 22, 1998 23:00, from "Maintainer."

That quote again, and Google Books[edit]

When I searched for:

repeat "those who" history OR past inauthor:George inauthor:Santayana

on Google Books, the first result was The Life of Reason: Or, The Phases of Human Progress, published 1905 (public domain!), C. Scribner's Sons. Original from Harvard University. Digitized Nov 8, 2006. The entire book appears to have been scanned. The scan of page 284 shows the following:

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

(Emphasis mine.)

Does this call for an ellipsis (or the additional sentence) between the sentences? 16:05, 12 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable, precise and verifiable source for any quote on this list please move it to George Santayana. --Antiquary 19:25, 25 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • The painfull truth falls like a weapon upon those that chose a poor defense.
  • A child educated only at school is an uneducated child. “Why I Am Not a Marxist” by George Santayana, published in “Modern Monthly: Volume: 9″ (April 1935); Page: 77-79.
  • A man's feet must be planted in his country but his eyes must survey the world.
  • Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it.
  • Chaos is perhaps at the bottom of everything.
  • Friends are generally of the same sex, for when men and women agree, it is only in the conclusions; their reasons are always different.
  • Friends need not agree in everything or go always together, or have no comparable other friendships of the same intimacy.
  • Fun is a good thing but only when it spoils nothing better.
  • Gold is tried in the fire and acceptable men in the furnace of adversity.
  • Intolerance is a form of egotism, and to condemn egotism intolerantly is to share it.
  • It is easier to make a saint out of a libertine than out of a prig.
  • Love makes us poets and the approach of death makes us philosophers.
  • Music is essentially useless, as life is: but both have an ideal extension which lends utility to its conditions.
  • Never build your emotional life on the weaknesses of others.
  • Sanity is madness put to good uses.
  • Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer.
  • Skepticism, like chastity, should not be relinquished too readily.
  • The Difficult is that which can be done immediately; the Impossible that which takes a little longer.
  • The human mind is not rich enough to drive many horses abreast and wants one general scheme, under which it strives to bring everything.
  • The loftiest edifices need the deepest foundations.
  • Life is neither a feast nor a spectacle, but a predicament.
  • The great difficulty in education is to get experience out of ideas.
  • History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren't there.

There is a comma missing in the first line between "essayist" and "poet."[edit]

I have no account here. Anyone want to change this? 13:24, 27 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Done, thanks. (Yes, I know it's 2 years later...) JesseW (talk) 06:05, 31 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations has "fulfill" instead of "repeat". I have checked the 1906 text (A.Constable and Co Ltd, London) and it is indeed "repeat". However, he has just mentioned hunter-gatherer populations which he (mistakenly) believes do indeed merely repeat their pasts. However, once societies take off on the descent to civilization, fulfill -- far more ominous than repeat -- becomes the appropriate word, both in terms of his philosophy as I understand it and reality, viz. global warming. Nic David.