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©1996-2014 T. P. Davis

From The Letters of George Santayana

To say that all standards of value are arbitrary is not to say that you have none—that you have given up the practice of estimating the relative worth of things. All you have done is to admit that this worth depends on a standard proper to you, and that the same things have a different value according to other standards. To perceive that your ideal is one of many which are actual, and of numberless ideals which are possible, is not equivalent to giving it up. The unemancipated are like the children who think the angels talk English: but there is no contradiction in going on talking English when you discover that the little angels don't. English doesn't become less necessary when it becomes less heavenly. So I go on using my moral language—talking about good, bad, beautiful, ugly, right and wrong. I suppose you to understand my language: if you don't, why, you are a foreigner, and I will respect you as such and wish I could understand you better. I take for granted that my good is your good: should your good happen to be my evil, why, I will say you worship the devil,—and admit your perfect right to do so, else I should be authorizing you to deny my right to worship God.

Letters 1:19 (To Henry Ward Abbot, Berlin, November 1, 1886) [#573 1886]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Philosophy, after all, is not the foundation of things, but a late and rather ineffective activity of reflecting men.

Letters 1:47 (To Henry Ward Abbot, Berlin, February 5, 1887) [#227 1887]

From The Letters of George Santayana

You must keep one thing always in mind if you want to avoid hopeless entanglements: we do not act on the ideas we previously have, but we acquire ideas as the consequence of action and experience.

Letters 1:48 (To Henry Ward Abbot, Berlin, February 4, 1887) [#415 1887]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[Philosophy is] an attempt to express a half-undiscovered reality, just as art is, and that two different renderings, if they are expressive, far from canceling each other add to each other's value. . . . [P]hilosophy seems to me to be its own reward, and its justification lies in the delight and dignity of the art itself.

Letters 1:90 (To William James, Berlin, December 18, 1887) [#228 1887]

From The Letters of George Santayana

There is a certain ideal dwelling in each of us, which the growth of our minds and bodies under the most favorable circumstances would fulfil.

Letters 1:91 to 1:92 (To William Morton Fullerton, Berlin, December 28, 1887) [#525 1887]

From The Letters of George Santayana

The difference between beauty and the good in general and all-inclusive sense, is that beauty is the excellence or perfection of the expression of a thing: It is the adequate presentation of the ideal impulse, whereas virtue is its adequate existence. Therefore virtue is beautiful when represented, but beauty is not virtuous. For beauty being in the image or expression of things, these things need not exist to produce beauty, but only their image need exist—Verbum sat.

Letters 1:92 (To William Morton Fullerton, Berlin, December 28, 1887) [#31 1887]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Consciousness is a local and occasional ebulition like the hiccough.

Letters 1:114 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Ávila, August 10, 1890) [#521 1890]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

It is the tendency to make our experience of love rational, as scientific thinking is a tendency to make rational our experience of the outer world. The theories of natural science are creations of human reason; they change with the growth of reason, and express the intellectual impulses of each nation and age. Theories about the highest good do the same; only being less applicable in practice, less controllable by experiment, they seldom attain the same distinctness and articulation. . . . Natural science is persuasive because it embodies the momentum of common sense and of the practical arts . . . . Moral science is persuasive under the same conditions . . . .

Poetry & Religion at 87 (Platonic Love in Some Italian Poets) [#135 1896]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

We may venture to say that among the thinkers of all nations Aristotle was the first to reach the conception of what may fitly be called God [a being spiritual, personal, and perfect, immutable without being abstract, and omnipotent without effort and with out degradation]. . . . The analytic study of Nature (a study which at the same time must be imaginative and sympathetic) could guide us to the conception of her inner needs and tendencies and of what their proper fulfilment would be. We could then see that this fulfilment would lie in intelligence and thought. Growth is for the sake of the fruition of life, and the fruition of life consists in the pursuit and attainment of objects. The moral virtues belong to the pursuit, the intellectual to the attainment. Knowledge is the end of all endeavour, the justification and fulfilment of all growth. Intelligence is the clarification of love.

Poetry & Religion at 46 (The Dissolution of Paganism) [#497 1899]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

Beginning, however, with that zealous Protestant, the old Xenophanes, the austerer minds, moralists, naturalists, and wits, united in decrying the fanciful polytheism of the poets. This criticism was in one sense unjust; it did not consider the original justification of mythology in human nature and in the external facts. It was, like all heresy or partial scepticism, in a sense superficial and unphilosophical. It was far from conceiving that its own tenets and assumptions were as groundless, without being as natural or adequate, as the system it attacked. To a person sufficiently removed by time or by philosophy from the controversies of sects, orthodoxy must always appear right and heresy wrong ; for he sees in orthodoxy the product of the creative mind, of faith and constructive logic, but in heresy only the rebellion of some partial interest or partial insight against the corollaries of a formative principle imperfectly grasped and obeyed with hesitation. At a distance, the criticism that disintegrates any great product of art or mind must always appear short-sighted and unamiable.

Poetry & Religion at 46 (The Dissolution of Paganism) [#742 1899]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

The mass of mankind is divided into two classes, the Sancho Panzas who have a sense for reality, but no ideals, and the Don Quixotes with a sense for ideals, but mad. The expedient of recognizing facts as facts and accepting ideals as ideals . . . , although apparently simple enough, seems to elude the normal human power of discrimination.

Poetry & Religion at 4 (Preface) [#260 1900]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

The environing world can justify itself to the mind only by the free life which it fosters there.

Poetry & Religion at 5 (Preface) [#496 1900]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

The same minds [the profounder ones] are, moreover, often swayed by emotion, by the ever-present desire to find a noble solution to all questions, perhaps a solution already hallowed by authority and intertwined inextricably, for those who have always accepted it, with the sanctions of spiritual life.

Poetry & Religion at 6 (Understanding, Imagination, and Mysticism) [#666 1900]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

Indeed, if there be any special endowment of mind and body called human nature, as there seems to be, it is obvious that all human experience must be relative to that. . . .

. . . . It is true that every idea is equally relative to human nature and that nothing can be represented in the human mind except by the operation of human faculties. But it is not true that all these products of human ideation are of equal value, since they are not equally conducive to human purposes or satisfactory to human demands.

Poetry & Religion at 12-13 (Understanding, Imagination, and Mysticism) [#527 1900]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

These complications not unnaturally inspire discouragement and a sense of the hopeless relativity of human thought. Indeed, if there be any special endowment of mind and body called human nature, as there seems to be, it is obvious that all human experience must be relative to that. But the truth, the absolute reality, surrounds and precedes these operations of finite faculty. What value, then, we may say, have these various ideals or perceptions, or the conflicts between them? Are not our senses as human, as "subjective" as our wills? Is not the understanding as visionary as the fancy? Does it not transform the Unknowable into as remote a symbol as does the vainest dream?

The answer which a rational philosophy would make to these questions would be a double one. It is true that every idea is equally relative to human nature and that nothing can be represented in the human mind except by the operation of human faculties. But it is not true that all these products of human ideation are of equal value, since they are not equally conducive to human purposes or satisfactory to human demands.

The impulse that would throw over as equally worthless every product of human art, because it is not indistinguishable from some alleged external reality, does not perceive the serious self-contradictions under which it labours. In the first place the notion of an external reality is a human notion; our reason makes that hypothesis, and its verification in our experience is one of the ideals of science, as its validity is one of the assumptions of daily life. In throwing over all human ideas, because they are infected with humanity, all human ideas are being sacrificed to one of them—the idea of an absolute reality. . . . Furthermore, even if we granted for the sake of argument a reality which our thoughts were essentially helpless to represent, whence comes the duty of our thoughts to represent it? Whence comes the value of this unattainable truth? From an ideal of human reason. We covet truth. So that the attempt to surrender all human science as relative and all human ideals as trivial is founded on a blind belief in one human idea and an absolute surrender to one human passion.

Poetry & Religion at 12-13 (Understanding, Imagination, and Mysticism) [#574 1900]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

[Mysticism] consists in the surrender of a category of thought on account of the discovery of its relativity. . . . The ideal of mysticism is accordingly exactly contrary to the ideal of reason ; instead of perfecting human nature it seeks to abolish it; instead of building a better world, it would undermine the foundations even of the world we have built already ; instead of developing our mind to greater scope and precision, it would return to the condition of protoplasm to the blessed consciousness of an Unutterable Reality.

Poetry & Religion at 14 (Understanding, Imagination, and Mysticism) [#60 1900]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

The ideal of mysticism is accordingly exactly contrary to the ideal of reason ; instead of perfecting human nature it seeks to abolish it . . . .

Poetry & Religion at 14 (Understanding, Imagination, and Mysticism) [#528 1900]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

The art of mysticism is to be mystical in spots and to aim the heavy guns of your transcendental philosophy against those realities or those ideas which you find particularly galling. Planted on your dearest dogma, on your most precious postulate, you may then transcend everything else to your heart's content. You may say with an air of enlightened profundity that nothing is "really" right or wrong, because in Nature all things are regular and necessary, and God cannot act for purposes as if his will were not already accomplished; your mysticism in religion and morals is kept standing, as it were, by the stiff backing which is furnished by your materialistic cosmology.

Poetry & Religion at 15 (Understanding, Imagination, and Mysticism) [#152 1900]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

While the existence of things must be understood by referring them to their causes, which are mechanical, their functions can only be explained by what is interesting in their results, in other words, by their relation to human nature and to human happiness.

Poetry & Religion at 59 (The Poetry of Christian Dogma) [#529 1900]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

Was Christianity right in saying that the world was made for man? Was the account it adopted of the method and causes of Creation conceivably correct? Was the garden of Eden a historical reality, and were the Hebrew prophecies announcements of the advent of Jesus Christ? Did the deluge come because of man's wickedness, and will the last day coincide with the dramatic denouement of the Church’s history? In other words, is the spiritual experience of man the explanation of the universe? Certainly not, if we are thinking of a scientific, not of a poetical explanation. As a matter of fact, man is a product of laws which must also destroy him, and which, as Spinoza would say, infinitely exceed him in their scope and power. His welfare is indifferent to the stars, but dependent on them. And yet that counter-Copernican revolution accomplished by Christianity—a revolution which Kant should hardly have attributed to himself—which put man in the centre of the universe and made the stars circle about him, must have some kind of justification. And indeed its justification (if we may be so brief on so great a subject) is that what is false in the science of facts may be true in the science of values. While the existence of things must be understood by referring them to their causes, which are mechanical, their functions can only be explained by what is interesting in their results, in other words, by their relation to human nature and to human happiness.

The Christian drama was a magnificent poetic rendering of this side of the matter, a side which Socrates had envisaged by his admirable method, but which now flooded the consciousness of mankind with torrential emotions. Christianity was born under an eclipse, when the light of Nature was obscured; but the star that intercepted that light was itself luminous, and shed on succeeding ages a moonlike radiance, paler and sadder than the other, but no less divine, and meriting no less to be eternal. Man now studied his own destiny, as he had before studied the sky, and the woods, and the sunny depths of water; and as the earlier study produced in his soul—anima naturcditer poeta—the images of Zeus, Pan, and Nereus, so the later study produced the images of Jesus and of Mary, of Heaven and Hell, of miracles and sacraments. The observation was no less exact, the translation into poetic images no less wonderful here than there. To trace the endless transfiguration, with all its unconscious ingenuity and harmony, might be the theme of a fascinating science. Let not the reader fancy that in Christianity everything was settled by records and traditions. The idea of Christ himself had to be constructed by the imagination in response to moral demands, tradition giving only the barest external points of attachment. The facts were nothing until they became symbols; and nothing could turn them into symbols except an eager imagination on the watch for all that might embody its dreams.

Poetry & Religion at 59-60 (The Poetry of Christian Dogma) [#345 1900]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

[M]en became superstitious not because they had too much imagination, but because they were not aware that they had any.

Poetry & Religion at 68 (The Poetry of Christian Dogma) [#162 1900]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

For the barbarian is the man who regards his passions as their own excuse for being: who does not domesticate them either by understanding their cause or by conceiving their ideal goal. He is the man who does not know his derivations nor perceive his tendencies, but who merely feels and acts, valuing in his life its force and its filling, but being careless of its purpose and its form. His delight is in abundance and vehemence; his art, like his life, shows an exclusive respect for quantity and splendour of materials. His scorn for what is poorer and weaker than himself is only surpassed by his ignorance of what is higher.

Poetry & Religion at 108-109 (The Poetry of Barbarism) [#109 1900]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

Philosophy and religion are nothing if not ultimate; it is their business to deal with general principles and final aims.

Poetry & Religion at 126 (The Poetry of Barbarism) [#226 1900]

From Interpretations of Poetry and Religion

[W]e have learned to look for a symbolic meaning in detached episodes, and to accept the incidental emotions they cause, because of their violence and our absorption in them, as in some sense sacramental and representative of the whole. Thus the picture of an unmeaning passion, of a crime without an issue, does not appear to our romantic apprehension as the sorry farce it is, but rather as a true tragedy. Some have lost even the capacity to conceive of a true tragedy, because they have no idea of a cosmic order, or general laws of life, or of an impersonal religion. They measure the profundity of feeling by its intensity, not by its justifying relations; and in the radical disintegration of their spirit, the more they are devoured the more they fancy themselves fed.

Poetry & Religion at 168 (The Elements and Function of Poetry) [#164 1900]

From The Letters of George Santayana

What you say, for instance, about the value of the good lying in its existence, and about the continuity of the world of values with that of fact, is not different from what I should admit. Ideals would be irrelevant if they were not natural entelechies, if they were not called for by something that exists and if consequently their realization would not be a present and actual good.

Letters 1:212 (To William James, Cambridge, Easter 1900) [#140 1900]

From The Letters of George Santayana

After this I need hardly say that I neither wish people to kiss the Pope's toe nor to be liberals, if liberalism in philosophy is to mean the tendency to believe that unverifiable hypotheses, if they are meagre and abstract enough, may be passed off for matters of fact. I want my metaphysics and religion to be good poetry, not bad and inadequate poetry. . . . Therefore I prefer Catholic ideas to Protestant, and Pagan to Catholic: or, if you like, I would only accept Christianity as a form of Paganism. For in Paganism I see the only religion that tried to do justice to all life, and at the same time retained the consciousness that it was a kind of poetry.

Letters 1:218 (To William Roscoe Thayer , Cambridge, May 29, 1900) [#722 1900]

From Reason in Religion

God [to Saint Augustine] was simply the ideal eternal object of human thought and love. . . . . . . God is not true but the truth (i.e., the ideal object of thought in any sphere), not good but the good (i.e., the ideal object of will in all its rational manifestations). . . . [H]ence the sweetness of that endless colloquy in prayer into which he was continually relapsing, a passion and a sweetness which no one will understand to whom God is primarily a natural power and only accidentally a moral ideal.

[T]heology, for those whose religion is secondary, is simply a false physics . . . . [T]hose whose reflection or sentiment does not furnish them with a key to the moral symbolism and poetic validity underlying theological ideas . . . will very soon come to regard religion as a delusion. Where religion is primary, however, all that worldly dread of fraud and illusion becomes irrelevant, as it is irrelevant to an artist's pleasure to be warned that the beauty he expresses has no objective existence, or as it would be irrelevant to a mathematician's reasoning to suspect that Pythagoras was a myth and his supposed philosophy an abracadabra. . . .

Proofs of the existence of God are therefore not needed, since his existence is in one sense obvious and in another of no religious interest. It is obvious in the sense that the ideal is a term of moral experience, and that truth, goodness, and beauty are inevitably envisaged by any one whose life has in some measure a rational quality. It is of no religious interest in the sense that perhaps some physical or dynamic absolute might be scientifically discoverable in the dark entrails of nature or of mind. The great difference between religion and metaphysics is that religion looks for God at the top of life and metaphysics at the bottom; a fact which explains why metaphysics has such difficulty in finding God, while religion has never lost him.

This brings us to the grand characteristic and contradiction of Saint Augustine's philosophy . . . . This is the idea that the same God who is the ideal of human aspiration is also the creator of the universe and its only primary substance.

Religion at 155-159 (The Christian Compromise) [#264 1901]

From Reason in Religion

The insoluble problems of the origin of evil and of freedom, in a world produced in its every fibre by omnipotent goodness, can never be understood until we remember their origin. They are artificial problems, unknown to philosophy before it betook itself to the literal justification of fables in which the objects of rational endeavour were represented as causes of natural existence. The former are internal products of life, the latter its external conditions. When the two are confused we reach the contradiction confronting Saint Augustine, and all who to this day have followed in his steps. The cause of everything must have been the cause of sin, yet the principle of good could not be the principle of evil. Both propositions were obviously true, and they were contradictory only after the mythical identification of the God which meant the ideal of life with the God which meant the forces of nature.

Religion at 167-168 (The Christian Compromise) [#675 1901]

From Reason in Religion

The insoluble problems of the origin of evil and of freedom, in a world produced in its every fibre by omnipotent goodness, . . . are artificial problems, unknown to philosophy before it betook itself to the literal justification of fables in which the objects of rational endeavour were represented as causes of natural existence. The former are internal products of life, the latter its external conditions. When the two are confused we reach the contradiction confronting Saint Augustine, and all who to this day have followed in his steps. The cause of everything must have been the cause of sin, yet the principle of good could not be the principle of evil. Both propositions were obviously true, and they were contradictory only after the mythical identification of the God which meant the ideal of life with the God which meant the forces of nature.

Religion at 167-168 (The Christian Compromise) [#265 1901]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

You became in this way idealists in physics and realists in morals, so that in neither department had your philosophy any validity or truth.

Buchler's Obiter at 25 (The Two Idealisms) [#261 1902]

From Santayana on America: Essays, Notes, and Letters on American Life, Literature, and Philosophy

The remedy, which it will take centuries to make thoroughly efficacious, but which every one may apply in a measure for himself, is simply to deepen practical life, to make it express all its possible affinities, all its latent demands. Were that done, we should find ourselves in unexpected and spontaneous harmony with the traditions which we might seem to have disregarded. . . . . All traditions have been founded on practice: in practice the most ideal of them regain their authority, when practice really deals with reality, and faces the world squarely, in the interest of the whole soul. To bring the whole soul to expression is what all civilization is after.

Lyon's Santayana on America at 34-35 (Tradition and Practice) [#134 1904]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I have been reading Moore's Principia Ethica . . . . I should more heartily agree with his logic if it were backed by some sense of the conditions in which it operates, some knowledge of human nature. His points become cogent only when the speaker forgets himself and makes his assertions irresponsibly forthright and categorical. .... How little wisdom these metaphysicians have, and how punctiform and scholastic their vision of things is apt to become when they live in colleges or dwell in an atmosphere of technical controversy.

Letters 1:275 (To Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson , Florence, November 22, 1904) [#765 1904]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

To the ideal function of envisaging the absent, memory and reflection will add (since they exist and constitute a new complication in being) the practical function of modifying the future. Vital impulse, however, when it is modified by reflection and veers in sympathy with judgments pronounced on the past, is properly called reason.

Common Sense at 2 (Introduction) [#73 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

The tenets of Protestant bodies are notoriously varied and on principle subject to change. There is hardly a combination of tradition and spontaneity which has not been tried in some quarter. If we think, however, of broad tendencies and ultimate issues, it appears that in Protestantism myth, without disappearing, has changed its relation to reality: instead of being an extension to the natural world myth has become its substratum. Religion no longer reveals divine personalities, future rewards, and tenderer Elysian consolations; nor does it seriously propose a heaven to be reached by a ladder nor a purgatory to be shortened by prescribed devotions. It merely gives the real world an ideal status and teaches men to accept a natural life on supernatural grounds. The consequence is that the most pious can give an unvarnished description of things. Even immortality and the idea of God are submitted, in liberal circles, to scientific treatment. On the other hand, it would be hard to conceive a more inveterate obsession than that which keeps the attitude of these same minds inappropriate to the objects they envisage. They have accepted natural conditions; they will not accept natural ideals. The Life of Reason has no existence for them, because, although its field is clear, they will not tolerate any human or finite standard of value, and will not suffer extant interests, which can alone guide them in action or judgment, to define the worth of life.

Common Sense at 12-13 (Introduction) [#743 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

It was a thing taken for granted in ancient and scholastic philosophy that a being dwelling, like man, in the immediate, whose moments are in flux, needed constructive reason to interpret his experience and paint in his unstable consciousness some symbolic picture of the world. . . . We know that life is a dream, and how should thinking be more?

Common Sense at 29 (Introduction) [#448 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

Modern theory has not done so much to help us here, however, as it has in physics. It seldom occurs to the modern moralists that theirs is the science of all good and the art of its attainment; they think only of some set of categorical precepts or some theory of moral sentiments, abstracting altogether from the ideals reigning in society, in science, and in art. . . . They attach morals to religion, rather than to politics . . . . They divide man into compartments . . .; and sometimes pedantry and scholasticism are carried so far that noting but an abstract sense of duty remains in the broad region which should contain all human goods.

Such trivial sanctimony in morals is doubtless due to artificial views about the conditions of welfare; the basis is laid in authority rather than in human nature, and the goal in salvation rather than in happiness.

Common Sense at 30 (Introduction) [#530 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

Thought is not a mechanical calculus, where the elements and the method exhaust the fact. Thought is a form of life, and should be conceived on the analogy of nutrition, generation, and art. Reason, as Hume said with profound truth, is an unintelligible instinct.

Common Sense at 67 (The Discovery of Natural Objects) [#657 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

Hume, like Berkeley, was extremely young, scarce five-and-twenty, when he wrote his most incisive work; he was not ready to propose in theory that test of ideas by their utility which in practice he and the whole English school have instinctively adopted. An ulterior test of validity would not have seemed to him satisfactory, for though inclined to rebellion and positivism he was still the pupil of that mythical philosophy which attributed the value of things to their origin rather than to their uses, because it had first, in its parabolic way, erected the highest good into a First Cause.

Common Sense at 92-93 (On Some Critics of This Discovery) [#786 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

Nature had been proved [in Kant's thought] a figment of human imagination so that, once rid of all but a mock allegiance to her facts and laws, we might be free to invent any world we chose and believe it to be absolutely real and independent of our nature.

Common Sense at 97 (On Some Critics of This Discovery) [#531 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

An age of mythology yields to an age of subjectivity; reason being equally neglected and exceeded in both.

Common Sense at 129 (Nature Unified and Mind Discerned) [#149 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

[Nature] is thought to lie between two [worlds], both now called mental, but in their original quality altogether disparate: the world of spiritual forces and that of sensuous appearance. The notions of permanence and independence by which [nature is conceived] apply also, of course, to everything spiritual; and while the dominion exercised by spirits may be somewhat precarious, they are as remote as possible from immediacy and sensation. They come and go; they govern nature . . . ; they visit man . . .; and they dwell in him, constituting his powers of conscience and invention. Sense . . . is a mere effect, either of body or spirit or both in conjunction. It gives a vitiated personal view of these realities. Its pleasures are dangerous and unintelligent, and it perishes as it goes.

Such are, for primitive apperception, the three great realms of being: nature, sense, and spirit. Their frontiers, however, always remain uncertain.

Common Sense at 132 (Nature Unified and Mind Discerned) [#156 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

The existence of any evil—and if evil is felt it exists, for experience is its locus . . . .

Common Sense at 143 (Conflict of Mythology with Moral Truth) [#789 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

Mind is the body's entelechy, a value which accrues to the body when it has reached a certain perfection, of which it would be a pity, so to speak, that it should remain unconscious; so that while the body feeds the mind the mind perfects the body, lifting it and all its natural relations and impulses into the moral world, into the sphere of interests and ideas.

Common Sense at 206 (How Thought Is Practical) [#498 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

Spirit is useless, being the end of things: but it is not vain, since it alone rescues all else from vanity.

Common Sense at 212 (How Thought Is Practical) [#499 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

Thought is essentially practical in the sense that but for thought no motion would be an action, no change a progress; but thought is in no way instrumental or servile; it is an experience realised, not a force to be used. . . . To execute the simplest intention we must rely on fate: our own acts are mysteries to us. Do I know how I open my eyes or how I walk down stairs? Is it the supervising wisdom of consciousness that guides me in these acts? Is it the mind that controls the bewildered body and points out the way to physical habits uncertain of their affinities? Or is it not much rather automatic inward machinery that executes the marvellous work, while the mind catches here and there some glimpse of the operation, now with delight and adhesion, now with impotent rebellion? . . . . The mind at best vaguely forecasts the result of action: a schematic verbal sense of the end to be accomplished possibly hovers in consciousness while the act is being performed; but this premonition is itself the sense of a process already present and betrays the tendency at work; it can obviously give no aid or direction to the unknown mechanical process that produced it and that must realise its own prophecy, if that prophecy is to be realised at all.

Common Sense at 213-214 (How Thought Is Practical) [#416 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

In a word, the value of thought is ideal. The material efficacy which may be attributed to it is the proper efficacy of matter—an efficacy which matter would doubtless claim if we knew enough of its secret mechanism. And when that imputed and incongruous utility was subtracted from ideas they would appear in their proper form of expressions, realisations, ultimate fruits.

Common Sense at 219 (How Thought Is Practical) [#417 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

That thought is nature's concomitant expression or entelechy, never one of her instruments, is a truth long ago divined by the more judicious thinkers, like Aristotle and Spinoza; but it has not met with general acceptance or even consideration. It is obstructed by superficial empiricism . . .; it is obstructed also by traditional mythical idealism, intent as this philosophy is on proving nature to be the expression of something ulterior and non-natural and on hugging the fatal misconception that ideals and eventual goods are creative and miraculous forces . . . .

Common Sense at 223-224 (How Thought Is Practical) [#418 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

It may therefore be worth while, before leaving this phase of the subject [of the relation of mind to body, of reason to nature], to consider one or two prejudices which might make it sound paradoxical to say, as we propose, that ideals are ideal and nature natural.

Common Sense at 224 (How Thought Is Practical) [#262 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

Threatened destruction would not involve pain unless that threatened destruction were being resisted; so that the reaction which pain is supposed to cause must already be taking place before pain can be felt. . . . Determinate impulses must exist already for their inhibition to have taken place or the pain to arise which is the sign of that inhibition.

Common Sense at 227 (How Thought Is Practical) [#419 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

The picture of life as an eternal war for illusory ends was drawn at first by satirists . . . . A barbarous mind cannot conceive life, like health, as a harmony continually preserved or restored, and containing those natural and ideal activities which disease merely interrupts. Such a mind, never having tasted order, cannot conceive it, and identifies progress with new conflicts and life with continual death. Its deification of unreason, instability, and strife comes partly from piety and partly from inexperience. There is piety in saluting nature in her perpetual flux and in thinking that since no equilibrium is maintained forever none, perhaps, deserves to be. There is inexperience in not considering that whatever interests and judgments exist, the natural flux has fallen, so to speak, into a vortex, and created a natural good, a cumulative life, and an ideal purpose. Art, science, government, human nature itself, are self-defining and self-preserving: by partly fixing a structure they fix an ideal. But the barbarian can hardly regard such things, for to have distinguished and fostered them would be to have founded a civilization.

Common Sense at 262 (Some Abstract Conditions of the Ideal) [#532 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

Illustrations might have been sought in some fictitious world, if imagination had not seemed so much less interesting than reality, which besides enforces with unapproachable eloquence the main principle in view, namely, that nature carries its ideal with it and that the progressive organisation of irrational impulses makes a rational life.

Common Sense at 290-291 (Flux and Constancy in Human Nature) [#123 1905]

From Introduction and Reason in Common Sense

This definition of human nature, clear as it may be in itself and true to the facts, will perhaps hardly make sufficiently plain how the Life of Reason, having a natural basis, has in the ideal world a creative and absolute authority. A more concrete description of human nature may accordingly not come amiss, especially as the important practical question touching the extension of a given moral authority over times and places depends on the degree of kinship found among the creatures inhabiting those regions. To give a general picture of human nature and its rational functions will be the tasks of the following books.

Common Sense at 290 (Flux and Constancy in Human Nature) [#533 1905]

From Reason in Art

We must observe, however, that only by virtue of a false perspective do ideas seem to govern action . . . .

Art at 6 (The Basis of Art in Instinct and Experience) [#420 1905]

From Reason in Art

The psychology of nominalism is undoubtedly right where it insists that every image is particular and every term, in its existential aspect, a flatum vocis; but nominalists should have recognised that images may have any degree of vagueness and generality when measured by a conceptual standard. . . . Functional or logical universality lies in another sphere altogether, being a matter of intent and not of [psychological] existence. When we say that "universals alone exist in the mind" we mean by "mind" something unknown to Berkeley; not a bundle of psychoses nor an angelic substance, but quick intelligence, the faculty of discourse. Predication is an act, understanding a spiritual and transitive operation: its existential basis may well be counted in psychological]y and reduced to a stream of immediate presences; but its meaning can be caught only by another meaning, as life only can exemplify life. Vague or general images are as little universal as sounds are; but a sound better than a flickering abstraction can serve the intellect in its operation of comparison and synthesis. Words are therefore the body of discourse, of which the soul is understanding.

Art at 74-75 (Speech and Signification) [#708 1905]

From Reason in Religion

Man is still in his childhood; for he cannot respect an ideal which is not imposed on him against his will, nor can he find satisfaction in a good created by his own action.

Religion at 91 (The Christian Epic) [#263 1905]

From Reason in Religion

Pagan Christianity, or Catholicism, may accordingly be said to consist of two elements: first, the genius of paganism, the faculty of expressing spiritual experience in myth and external symbol, and, second, the experience of disillusion, forcing that pagan imagination to take wing from earth and to decorate no longer the political and material circumstances of life, but rather to remove beyond the clouds and constitute its realm of spirit beyond the veil of time and nature, in a posthumous and metaphysical sphere. A mythical economy abounding in points of attachment to human experience and in genial interpretations of life, yet lifted beyond visible nature and filling a reported world, a world believed in on hearsay or, as it is called, on faith—that is Catholicism.

Religion at 108 (Pagan Custom and Barbarian Genius Infused Into Christianity) [#721 1905]

From Reason in Religion

Fashion is something barbarous, for it produces innovation without reason and imitations without benefit. It marks very clearly that margin of irresponsible variation in manners and thoughts which among a people artificially civilised may so easily be larger than the solid core. It is characteristic of occidental society in mediæval and modern times, because this society is led by people who, being educated in a foreign culture, remain barbarians at heart.

Religion at 113-114 (Pagan Custom and Barbarian Genius Infused Into Christianity) [#117 1905]

From Reason in Religion

To this day we have not achieved a really native civilisation. Our art, morals, and religion, though deeply dyed in native feeling, are still only definable and, indeed, conceivable by reference to classic and alien standards. Among the northern races culture is even more artificial and superinduced than among the southern; whence the strange phenomenon of snobbery in society, affectation in art, and a violent contrast between the educated and the uneducated, the rich and the poor, classes that live on different intellectual planes and often have different religions. Some educated persons, accordingly, are merely students and imbibers; they sit at the feet of a past which, not being really theirs, can produce no fruit in them but sentimentality. Others are merely protestants; they are active in the moral sphere only by virtue of an inward rebellion against something greater and overshadowing, yet repulsive and alien. They are conscious truants from a foreign school of life.

. . . . [Protestantism] is simply the natural religion of the Teutons raising its head above the flood of Roman and Judean influences. Its character may be indicated by saying that it is a religion of pure spontaneity, of emotional freedom, deeply respecting itself but scarcely deciphering its purposes. It is the self-consciousness of a spirit in process of incubation, jealous of its potentiality, averse to definitions and finalities of any kind because it can itself discern nothing fixed or final.

Religion at 114-115 (Pagan Custom and Barbarian Genius Infused Into Christianity) [#744 1905]

From Reason in Religion

[Protestantism] boasts, not without cause, of its depth and purity; but this depth and purity are those of any formless and primordial substance. It keeps unsullied that antecedent integrity which is at the bottom of every living thing and at its core; it is not acquainted with that ulterior integrity, that sanctity, which might be attained at the summit of experience through reason and speculative dominion. It accordingly mistakes vitality, both in itself and in the universe, for spiritual life.

Religion at 115-116 (Pagan Custom and Barbarian Genius Infused Into Christianity) [#644 1905]

From Reason in Religion

[Protestantism's] true essence is not constituted by the Christian dogmas that at a given moment it chances to retain, but by the spirit in which it constantly challenges the others, by the expression it gives to personal integrity, to faith in conscience, to human instinct courageously meeting the world. It rebels, for instance, against the Catholic system of measurable sins and merits, with rewards and punishments legally adjusted and controlled by priestly as well as by divine prerogative. Such a supernatural mechanism seems to an independent and uncowed nature a profanation and an imposture. Away, it says, with all intermediaries between the soul and God, with all meddlesome priestcraft and all mechanical salvation. Salvation shall be by faith alone, that is, by an attitude and sentiment private to the spirit, by an inner co-operation of man with the world. The Church shall be invisible, constituted by all those who possess this necessary faith and by no others. It really follows from this, although the conclusion may not be immediately drawn, that religion is not an adjustment to other facts or powers, or to other possibilities, than those met with in daily life and in surrounding nature, but is rather a spiritual adjustment to natural life, an insight into its principles, by which a man learns to identify himself with the cosmic power and to share its multifarious business no less than its ulterior security and calm.

Protestantism, in this perfectly instinctive trustfulness and self-assertion, is not only prior to Christianity but more primitive than reason and even than man. The plants and animals, if they could speak, would express their attitude to their destiny in the Protestant fashion. "He that formed us," they would say, "lives and energises within us. He has sealed a covenant with us, to stand by us if we are faithful and strenuous in following the suggestions he whispers in our hearts. With fidelity to ourselves and, what is the same thing, to him, we are bound to prosper and to have life more and more abundantly for ever." This attitude, where it concerns religion, involves two corollaries: first, what in accordance with Hebrew precedent may be called symbolically faith in God, that is, confidence in one's own impulse and destiny, a confidence which the world in the end is sure to reward; and second, abomination of all contrary religious tenets and practices—of asceticism, for instance, because it denies the will; of idolatry and myth, because they render divinity concrete rather than relative to inner cravings and essentially responsive; finally of tradition and institutional authority, because these likewise jeopardise the soul"s experimental development as, in profound isolation, she wrestles with reality and with her own inspiration.

Religion at 121-122 (Pagan Custom and Barbarian Genius Infused Into Christianity) [#745 1905]

From Reason in Religion

A myth is an inverted image of things, wherein their moral effects are turned into their dramatic antecedents—as when the wind’s rudeness is turned into his anger. . . . So the good, which in itself is spiritual only, is transposed [in myth] into a natural power.

Religion at 141 (Conflict of Mythology with Moral Truth) [#128 1905]

From Reason in Religion

The existence of any evil . . . is a proof that some accident has intruded into God’s works. [W]e must admit into the world . . . a principle . . . which is not rational. . . . For we wish to . . . maintain our loyalty to the good . . . . To pious feeling, the free-will of creatures, their power, active or passive, of independent origination, is the explanation of all defects; and everything which is not helpful to men's purposes must be assigned to their own irrationality as its cause. Herein lies the explanation of that paradox in religious feeling which attributes sin to the free will, but repentance and every good work to divine grace.

Religion at 143-144 (Conflict of Mythology with Moral Truth) [#674 1905]

From Reason in Religion

There is accordingly . . . a universal justice called charity, a kind of all-penetrating courtesy . . . . Value is attributed to rival forms of life . . . . When this imaginative expansion ends in neutralising the will altogether, we have mysticism; but when it serves merely to co-ordinate felt interests with other actual interests conceived sympathetically, and to make them converge, we have justice and charity.

Religion at 220-221 (Charity) [#61 1905]

From Reason in Religion

As common morality itself falls easily into mythical expressions and speaks of a fight between conscience and nature, reason and the passions, as if these were independent in their origin or could be divided in their operation, so spiritual life even more readily opposes the ideal to the real, the revealed and heavenly truth to the extant reality, as if the one could be anything but an expression and fulfillment of the other. Being equally convinced that spiritual life is authoritative and possible, and that it is opposed to all that earthly experience has as yet supplied, the prophet almost inevitably speaks of another world above the clouds and another existence beyond the grave; he thus seeks to clothe in concrete and imaginable form the ideal to which natural existence seem to him wholly rebellious. Spiritual life comes to mean life abstracted from politics, from art, from sense, even in the end from morality. Natural motives and natural virtues are contrasted with those which are henceforth called supernatural, and all the grounds and sanctions of right living are transferred to another life. Religion ‘05 at 227-228 (Charity).

Religion at 227-228 (Charity) [#665 1905]

From Reason in Religion

It is hard to convince people that they have such a gift as intelligence. If they perceive its animal basis they cannot conceive its ideal affinities or understand what is meant by calling it divine; if they perceive its ideality and see the immortal essences that swim into its ken, they hotly deny that it is an animal faculty, and invent ultramundane places and bodiless persons in which it is to reside; as if those celestial substances could be, in respect to thought, any less material than matter or, in respect to vision and life, any less instrumental than bodily organs. It never occurs to them that if nature has added intelligence to animal life it is because they belong together. Intelligence is a natural emanation of vitality.

Religion at 266 (Ideal Immortality) [#266 1905]

From Reason in Science

All that is scientific or Darwinian in the theory of evolution is accordingly an application of mechanism, a proof that mechanism lies at the basis of life and morals. The Aristotelian notion of development, however, was too deeply rooted in tradition for it to disappear at a breath. Evolution as conceived by Hegel, for instance, or even Spencer, retained Aristotelian elements, though these were disguised and hidden under a cloud of new words. Both identify evolution with progress, with betterment; a notion which would naturally be prominent in any one with enlightened sympathies living in the nineteenth century, when a new social and intellectual order was forcing itself on a world that happened largely to welcome the change, but a notion that has nothing to do with natural science. The fittest to live need not be those with the most harmonious inner life nor the best possibilities. The fitness might be due to numbers, as in a political election, or to tough fibre, as in a tropical climate. Of course a form of being that circumstances make impossible or hopelessly laborious had better dive under and cease for the moment to be; but the circumstances that render it inopportune do not render it essential inferior. Circumstances have no power of that kind; and perhaps the worst incident in the popular acceptance of evolution has been a certain brutality thereby introduced into moral judgment, an abdication of human ideals, a mocking indifference to justice, under cover of respect for what is bound to be, and for the rough economy of the world. Disloyalty to the good in the guise of philosophy had appeared also among the ancients, when their political ethics had lost its authority, just as it appeared among us when the prestige of religion had declined. The Epicureans sometimes said that one should pursue pleasure because all the animals did so, and the Stoics that one should fill one's appointed place in nature, because such was the practice of the clouds and rivers.

Science at 108-109 (Hesitations in Method) [#608 1906]

From Reason in Science

The thoughts of men are incredibly evanescent, merely the foam of their labouring natures . . . .

Science at 127 (Psychology) [#421 1906]

From Reason in Science

Aristotle called the soul the first entelechy of such a body. This first entelechy is what we should call life, since it is possessed by a man asleep. The French I know but do not use is in its first entelechy; the French I am actually speaking is in its second. Consciousness is therefore the second or actualised entelechy of its body.

Science at 149 note (Psychology) [#40 1906]

From Reason in Science

The sincere dialectician, the genuine moralist, must stand upon human, Socratic ground. Though art be long, it must take a short life for its basis and an actual interest for its guide. The liberal dialectician has the gift of conversation; he does not pretend to legislate from the throne of Jehovah about the course of affairs, but asks the ingenuous heart to speak for itself, guiding and checking it only in its own interest. The result is to express a given nature and to cultivate it; so that whenever any one possessing such a nature is born into the world he may use this calculation, and more easily understand and justify his mind. Of course, if experience were no longer the same, and faculties had entirely varied, the former interpretation could no longer serve. Where nature shows a new principle of growth the mind must find a new method of expression, and move toward other goals. Ideals are not forces stealthily undermining the will; they are possible forms of being that would frankly express it. These forms are invulnerable, eternal, and free; and he who finds them divine and congenial and is able to embody them at least in part and for a season, has to that extent transfigured life, turning it from a fatal process into a liberal art.

Science at 208-209 (Dialectic) [#34 1906]

From Reason in Science

The sincere dialectician, the genuine moralist, must stand upon human, Socratic ground. Though art be long, it must take a short life for its basis and an actual interest for its guide. The liberal dialectician has the gift of conversation; he does not pretend to legislate from the throne of Jehovah about the course of affairs, but asks the ingenuous heart to speak for itself, guiding and checking it only in its own interest. The result is to express a given nature and to cultivate it; so that whenever any one possessing such a nature is born into the world he may use this calculation, and more easily understand and justify his mind. Of course, if experience were no longer the same, and faculties had entirely varied, the former interpretation could no longer serve. Where nature shows a new principle of growth the mind must find a new method of expression, and move toward other goals. Ideals are not forces stealthily undermining the will; they are possible forms of being that would frankly express it. These forms are invulnerable, eternal, and free; and he who finds them divine and congenial and is able to embody them at least in part and for a season, has to that extent transfigured life, turning it from a fatal process into a liberal art.

Science at 208-209 (Dialectic) [#598 1906]

From Reason in Science

Philosophers would do a great discourtesy to estimation if they sought to justify it. It is all other acts that need justification by this one. The good greets us initially in every experience and in every object. Remove from anything its share of excellence and you have made it utterly insignificant, irrelevant to human discourse, and unworthy of even theoretical consideration. Value is the principle of perspective in science, no less than of rightness in life. The hierarchy of goods, the architecture of values, is the subject that concerns man most. Wisdom is the first philosophy, both in time and in authority . . . . The first philosophers were accordingly sages. They were statesmen and poets who knew the world and cast a speculative glance at the heavens, the better to understand the conditions and limits of human happiness. . . . Such was philosophy in the beginning and such is philosophy still.

Science at 216-217 (Prerational Morality) [#229 1906]

From Reason in Science

In vindicating his ideal [the autonomous moralist] does not recant his human nature. In asserting the initial right of every impulse in others, he remains the spokesman of his own. . . . If the sophist declares that what his nature attaches him to is not 'really' a good, because it would not be a good, perhaps, for a different creature, he is a false interpreter of his own heart, and rather discreditably stultifies his honest feelings and actions by those theoretical valuations which, in guise of a mystical ethics, he gives out to the world.

Science at 243-244 (Rational Ethics) [#534 1906]

From Reason in Science

The autonomous moralist differs from the sophist or ethical sceptic in this: that he retains his integrity. In vindicating his ideal he does not recant his human nature. In asserting the initial right of every impulse in others, he remains the spokesman of his own. Knowledge of the world, courtesy, and fairness do not neutralise his positive life. He is thoroughly sincere, as the sophist is not; for every man, while he lives, embodies and enacts some special interest; and this truth, which those who confound psychology with ethics may think destructive of all authority in morals, is in fact what alone renders moral judgment possible and respectable. If the sophist declares that what his nature attaches him to is not 'really' a good, because it would not be a good, perhaps, for a different creature, he is a false interpreter of his own heart, and rather discreditably stultifies his honest feelings and actions by those theoretical valuations which, in guise of a mystical ethics, he gives out to the world.

Science at 243-244 (Rational Ethics) [#575 1906]

From The Letters of George Santayana

As to my teaching Strong "Catholic metaphysics", you must understand that my own philosophy—no es muy Católica; it is independent of religion altogether, and looks at religion merely as at a historic and human fact—more or less appealing or beneficent, as the case may be. You have seen all you probably care to see of this attitude in my "Interpretations of poetry and religion". The attitude of my new book is exactly the same . . . .

Letters 1:343 (To Susan Sturgis de Sastre, Toulouse, April 29, 1906) [#723 1906]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Is there any "modernist" movement or party in Spain? . . . . I believe I have always been a "modernist"; only it never crossed my mind that such an attitude was compatible with being a practical Catholic, much less a priest. How can they be so blind?

Letters 1:402 (To Susan Sturgis de Sastre, Cambridge, March 18, 1909) [#724 1909]

From The Letters of George Santayana

You ask me what "modernism" is precisely. It is not anything precise; but as a general tendency, it consists in accepting all the rationalistic views current or possible in matters of history and science, and then saying that, in a different sense, the dogmas of the Church may still be true. For instance, all miracles, including the Incarnation and Resurrection, are denied to be historical facts; but they remain, in some symbolic sense, theological truths.

Letters 1:404 (To Susan Sturgis de Sastre , Cambridge, April 19, 1909) [#725 1909]

From The Letters of George Santayana

It sometimes looks to me as if by existence you meant substance; in that case I should readily agree that appearances did not exist. . . . [And yet, these] manifestations are notable historic and experimental facts; to say that, as sensuous and poetic manifestations, they do not exist seems to me a hopeless torturing of language. They are certainly not substances, but they exist as truly as your opinions and mine upon this subject exist: opinions which again are not substances, but mental phenomena the substance of which is something in our brain and in the mechanical world that plays upon our brains.

Letters 2:10 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Cambridge, March 16, 1910) [#89 1910]

From The Letters of George Santayana

But it is one thing to see the arbitrary and ultimately unstable character of a civilization (every civilization is essentially unstable) and another to set about destroying it by blind force. This latter system is hateful, because inspired only by hate; it has no ideal of a positive sort to inspire it, nor, if it had, could it attain that ideal merely by destroying what now exists. The want of intelligence is immense, that does not see that everything we have that makes (or might make) life worth living is an incident to the irrational, traditional civilization in which we have been reared. All things are like language, which we must use, beautify, but not worship; and your anarchists are mere blundering dumb beasts, that sputter and howl, because they find the rules of grammar absurd and inconvenient. So they are, for people who are too stupid or too ill-bred to use them: but that does not make these people martyrs, or heralds of progress.

Letters 2:16 to 2:17 (To John Francis Stanley Russell, Ávila, July 29, 1910) [#597 1910]

From Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe

Nothing comes out of nothing, nothing falls back into nothing, if we consider substance; but everything comes from nothing and falls back into nothing if we consider things—the objects of love and experience.

Poets at 45 (Lucretius) [#689 1910]

From Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe

[U]nder this childish or metaphorical [Socratic] physics, there is a serious morality. After all, the use of opium is that it is a narcotic; no matter why, physically, it is one. The use of the body is the mind, whatever the origin of the body may be. . . . [Nature's] use is to serve the good—to make life, happiness, and virtue possible. . . . Observation must yield to dialectic [under the Socratic philosophy] . . . .

Poets at 76 (Dante) [#347 1910]

From Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe

[The one comprehensive and orthodox solution] is that universal terms or natures exist before the particulars, and in the particulars, and after the particulars: for God, before he made the world . . . had eternally in his mind the notions of a perfect man, horse, etc., after which the particulars were modeled . . . . But universal terms or natures existed also in particulars, since the particulars illustrated them . . . . Nevertheless, the universals existed also after the particulars: for the discursive mind of man . . . could not help noticing and abstracting the common types that often recur; and this ex post facto idea, in the human mind, is a universal term also. To deny any of the three theories, and not to see their consistency, is to miss the medieval point of view, which, in every sense of the word, was Catholic.

Poets at 93-94 (Dante) [#707 1910]

From Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe

Faust is, then, no philosophical poem, after an open or deliberate fashion; and yet it offers a solution to the moral problem of existence as truly as do the poems of Lucretius and Dante.

Poets at 141-142 (Goethe's Faust) [#230 1910]

From Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe

Spinoza has an admirable doctrine, or rather insight, which he calls seeing things under the form of eternity. This faculty is fundamental in the human mind; ordinary perception and memory are cases of it. Therefore, when we use it to deal with ultimate issues, we are not alienated from experience, but, on the contrary, endowed with experience and with its fruits. A thing is seen under the form of eternity when all its parts or stages are conceived in their true relations, and thereby conceived together. The complete biography of Caesar is Caesar seen under the form of eternity.

Poets at 189-190 (Goethe's Faust) [#43 1910]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I am writing a brand new system of philosophy to be called "Three Realms of Being"—not the mineral vegetable and animal, but something far more metaphysical, namely Essence, Matter and Consciousness.

Letters 2:37 (To Susan Sturgis de Sastre, Cambridge, May 16, 1911) [#312 1911]

From Winds of Doctrine: Studies in Contemporary Opinion

Hence the whole Platonic and Christian scheme, in making the good independent of private will and opinion, by no means makes it independent of the direction of nature in general and of human nature in particular; for all things have been created with an innate predisposition towards the creative good, and are capable of finding happiness in nothing else. Obligation, in this system, remains internal and vital.

Winds at 154 n.8 (The Philosophy of Mr. Bertrand Russell) [#535 1911]

From Winds of Doctrine: Studies in Contemporary Opinion

Transcendentalism is the philosophy which the romantic era produced in Germany, and independently, I believe, in America also. Transcendentalism proper, like romanticism, is not any particular set of dogmas about what things exist; it is not a system of the universe regarded as a fact, or as a collection of facts. It is a method, a point of view, from which any world, no matter what it might contain, could be approached by a self-conscious observer. Transcendentalism is systematic subjectivism. . . . In other words, transcendentalism is the critical logic of science. . . .

[A]s a method I regard it as correct . . . . I regard it as the chief contribution made in modern times to speculation. But it is a method only . . . . Yet the Germans who first gained the full transcendental insight were romantic people . . . . Transcendental logic, the method of discovery for the mind, was to become also the method of evolution in nature and history. Transcendental method, so abused, produced transcendental myth. A conscientious critique of knowledge was turned into a sham system of nature. We must therefore distinguish sharply the transcendental grammar of the intellect, which is significant and potentially correct, from the various transcendental systems of the universe, which are chimeras.

Winds at 193-194 (The Genteel Tradition in American Philosophy) [#766 1911]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I think I see the first principle of objectivism or new realism somewhat more clearly. It starts with Berkeley—the object of knowledge is the idea in the mind (the sense-datum) and this is the "thing" of common sense and non-metaphysical physics. That is the foundation—a big blunder—and what James adds is only a confusion of that hybrid with a sort of adumbration of essence, for he says that the "Experience" as psychical and as physical is numerically as well as qualitatively one; which could only be true of it as an essence apart from existence. For as existence is distinguished precisely by presence in a non-dialectical context, and the physical context of the datum and the psychical context, James admits, are two, therefore I say the Existences are also, although the essence realized in each may be the same.

Letters 2:91 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Paris, June 19, 1912) [#700 1912]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

This privilege, native to every creature, of arranging different perfections imagined by it in a scale of ascending values, relieves the naturalist of the charge of indifference and anarchy in morals; for the naturalist has a nature of its own, and if he learns to know himself, he will have a clear and dogmatic system of ethics.

Buchler's Obiter at 73 (Plotinus and the Nature of Evil) [#121 1913]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

Human nature is not altogether fixed, and human goodness and what man can look upon as good vary with it.

Buchler's Obiter at 75 (Plotinus and the Nature of Evil) [#798 1913]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

Pantheism, in teaching that the world ought to be full of horrors, since so it is, accepts the most savage of ideals . . . . Plotinus, however, was no pantheist, and his God, who created the world by a virtue that flowed, as it were, from the hem of his garment, was not responsible for the world, nor glorified by the evils in it, nor even cognizant of their existence. Plotinus could not explain the origin of evil ; in fact he could not explain the origin of anything, his whole natural philosophy being unnatural, and merely a moral allegory.

Buchler's Obiter at 83 (Plotinus and the Nature of Evil) [#217 1913]

From The Letters of George Santayana

And this leads me to make a slight complaint against you for having said that I am an "epiphenomenalist"—I don't complain of your calling me a "pragmatist" because I know that it is mere piety on your part. But the title of epiphenomenalist is better deserved, and I have only this objection to it: that it is based (like the new realism) on idealistic prejudices and presuppositions. An epiphenomenon must have some other phenomenon under it: but what underlies the mind, according to my view, is not a phenomenon but a substance—the body, or nature at large. To call this is [sic] a phenomenon is to presuppose another thing in itself, which is chimerical. Therefore I am no epiphenomenalist, but a naturalist pure and simple, recognizing a material world, not a phenomenon but a substance, and a mental life struck off from it in its operation, like a spark from the flint and steel, having no other substance than that material world, but having a distinct existence of its own (as it is emitted continually out of bodily life as music is emitted from an instrument) and having a very different kind of being, since it is immaterial and moral and cognitive. This mental life may be called a phenomenon if you like, either in the platonic sense of being an instance of an essence (in which sense every fact, even substance, is a phenomenon) or in the modern sense of being an observable effect of latent forces; but it cannot be called an epiphenomenon, unless you use the word phenomenon in the one sense for substance and in the other sense for consciousness.

Letters 2:127 (To Horace Meyer Kallen , Madrid, April 7, 1913) [#422 1913]

From The Letters of George Santayana

The word consciousness does not seem to me ambiguous. It means what Descartes called pensée, the fact that somebody is awake and having experiences that, as they differ from death, deep sleep, and psychic non-existence, constitute self-existing and indubitable facts, and have moral importance. Where there is consciousness there is a shade and beginning of happiness or unhappiness; and there is also a shade or beginning of cognition.

Letters 2:149 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Cambridge, November 2, 1913) [#33 1913]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Here my chief conversation is with Bertrand Russell. He has a theory of nature, or rather of the knowledge of nature, which is rather Mill-ish and almost Humean; it is artificial and accurate, and is related to reality like a literal translation in Bohn’s library to the original Homer or Aeschylus. But in logic I find him very clear and enlightening, and I hope to profit by his indications in my book. We are very far apart, however, farther than I had supposed, in outlook. He wants certainty, and the narrowest deepest possible foundations for thought; I want judicious opinions and a just balance in the imagination.

Letters 2:156 (To Horace Meyer Kallen , Cambridge, November 10, 1913) [#760 1913]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Russell says there are some things that it is a fallacy even to mention! They can be only predicates. I understand numbers are among them. Poor infallible arithmetic thus turns out to be guilty of original sin and to have committed a fallacy before it begins to speak. Perhaps the Pope is alone infallible after all. Russell is more English, atomistic, and nominalistic than I had supposed.

Letters 2:157 to 2:158 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Cambridge, November 18, 1913) [#761 1913]

From The Letters of George Santayana

You say at the very end that Russell should speak of "things as they appear" and not of "sense-data". It may interest you to know that by "sense-data" he means just that, i.e. what I call objects of animal perception. He does not mean sensible qualities, but existences of that quality. He denies altogether . . . essences of my sort; they are "things which it is a fallacy even to mention", since predicates can be predicates only, never subjects. And they are all absolutely simple. Such "essences" as numbers do not exist (even in the realm of essence) but are mere qualities of things in couples, etc. . . . I feel more vividly than before that all of you—realists, panpsychists and idealists, and even Bertie the apostle of logistic—are interested only in physics; you are all blooming existence-hunters, and like the pre-Socratics, exclusively concerned with the material principle. It remains for me only, the sole "materialist", to be something more as well.

Letters 2:161 (To Charles Augustus Strong , Cambridge, November 28, 1913) [#762 1913]

From The Letters of George Santayana

But alleged things, supposed existences directly intuited, may not exist in fact, as the mouse didn't in the case of the "psychical" lady. These dreamt-of-things (and perception is, I say, just dreaming in itself) may not actually be those on which the bodily reaction ensues, they may be illusions. To show that some of them are not we need inference, argument, and above all art, mechanical practice. This faith in our intuition of nature, this chastened faith in perception, is science and common-sense; it is a rational form of thought and belief. It is not mere perception, or the animal sense (perhaps an illusion) that each particular essence intuited is a real thing. You must distinguish the sense of an existing object from the existence of an object such as is perceived. Otherwise your realism is senusalistic idealism under another name—as Bertie Russells system is. He hardly differs, in the end, from John Stuart Mill.

Letters 2:161 to 2:162 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Cambridge, November 28, 1913) [#783 1913]

From Winds of Doctrine: Studies in Contemporary Opinion

Yet in philosophy . . . there has been of late a very interesting fresh movement, largely among the professors themselves, which in its various hues may be called irrationalism, vitalism, pragmatism, or pure empiricism. But this movement, far from being a reawakening of any organising instinct, is simply an extreme expression of romantic anarchy. It is in essence but a franker confession of the principle upon which modern philosophy has been building—or unbuilding—for these three hundred years, I mean the principle of subjectivity.

Winds at 11-12 (The Intellectual Temper of the Age) [#768 1913]

From Winds of Doctrine: Studies in Contemporary Opinion

He will therefore study it conscientiously, yet with a certain irritation and haste to be done with it, somewhat as a Jesuit might study Protestant theology.

Winds at 34 (The Philosophy of M. Henri Bergson) [#125 1913]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Russell has relapsed into English Empiricism: the only point (besides the independent existence of the subject) he seems to adhere to against them is the connection of sense-data with a mind; for I understand that the new construction out of sense-data is not a subjective construction in Hume's or Mill's-fashion out of actual perceptions, but a mechanical or logical construction out of objective entities such as those given in sense and defined exhaustively by their given qualities. This is a hopeless air-castle . . . .

Letters 2:167 (To Charles Augustus Strong , Seville, January 21, 1914) [#763 1914]

From Egotism in German Philosophy

In inventing the transcendental method, the study of subjective projections and perspectives, [German philosophy] has added a new dimension to human speculation.

Egotism at 12 (The General Character of German Philosophy) [#94 1915]

From Egotism in German Philosophy

For favourable as Protestantism is to investigation and learning, it is almost incompatible with clearness of thought and fundamental freedom of attitude.

Egotism at 29 (The Protestant Heritage) [#746 1915]

From Egotism in German Philosophy

A theoretical materialist, who looks on the natural world as on a soil that he has risen from and feeds on, may perhaps feel a certain piety towards those obscure abysses of nature that have given him birth; but his delight will be rather in the clear things of the imagination, in the humanities, by which the rude forces of nature are at once expressed and eluded. Not so the transcendentalist. Regarding his mind as the source of everything, he is moved to solemn silence and piety only before himself: on the other hand, what bewitches him, what he loves to fondle, is his progeny, the material environment, the facts, the laws, the blood, and the iron in which he conceives (quite truly, perhaps) that his spirit perfectly and freely expresses itself. To despise the world and withdraw into the realm of mind, as into a subtler and more congenial sphere, is quite contrary to his idealism. Such a retreat might bring him peace, and he wants war. His idealism teaches him that strife and contradiction, as Heraclitus said, are the parents of all things; and if he stopped striving, if he grew sick of ambition and material goods, he thinks he would be forsaking life, for he hates as he would death what another kind of idealists have called salvation.

Egotism at 70-71 (Transcendentalism Perfected) [#225 1915]

From Egotism in German Philosophy

He [the romantic pessimist] imagines that what is desired is not this or that—food, children, victory, knowledge, or some other specific goal of a human instinct—but an abstract and perpetual happiness behind all these alternating interests. Of course an abstract and perpetual happiness is impossible, not merely because events are sure to disturb any equilibrium we may think we have established in our lives, but for the far more fundamental reason that we have no abstract and perpetual instinct to satisfy. . . . A highest good to be obtained apart from each and every specific interest is more than unattainable; it is unthinkable. . . . . [T]he highest good of man is the sum and harmony of those specific goods upon which his nature is directed.

Egotism at 110-111 (The Breach with Christianity) [#690 1915]

From Egotism in German Philosophy

That an attitude is foolish, incoherent, disastrous, proves nothing against the depth of the instinct that inspires it. Who could be more intensely unintelligent than Luther or Rousseau? Yet the world followed them, not to turn back. The molecular forces of society, so to speak, had already undermined the systems which these men denounced. If the systems have survived it is only because the reformers, in their intellectual helplessness, could supply nothing to take their place. So Nietzsche, in his genial imbecility, betrays the shifting of great subterranean forces. What he said may be nothing, but the fact that he said it is all-important.

Egotism at 135 (The Ethics of Nietzsche) [#747 1915]

From Egotism in German Philosophy

[S]o that the later Jewish religion went almost as far as Platonism or Christianity in the direction opposite to heathenism [and toward an orthodox wisdom].

[T]he reformers [at the rise of romanticism] are deceived. What really offends them may not be what is false in the received orthodoxy, but what though true is uncongenial to them. In that case heathenism, under the guise of a search for a purer wisdom, is working in their souls against wisdom of any sort. Such is the suspicion that Catholics would throw on Protestantism, naturalists on idealism, and conservatives generally on all revolutions.

Egotism at 146-147 (Heathenism) [#748 1915]

From Egotism in German Philosophy

The rebellion of the heathen soul is unmistakable in the Reformation, but it is not recognised in this simple form, because those who feel that it was justified do not dream that it was heathen, and those who see it was heathen will not admit that it was justified. Externally, of course, it was an effort to recover the original essence of Christianity; [but it] was simply the inertia of established prejudice that made people use tradition to correct tradition; until the whole substance of tradition, worn away by that internal friction, should be dissolved, and impulse and native genius should assert themselves unimpeded.

Egotism at 151 (Heathenism) [#749 1915]

From Egotism in German Philosophy

But heathenism ignores happiness, despises it, or thinks it impossible. . . . [German moralists] think the pursuit of happiness low, materialistic, and selfish. They wish everybody to sacrifice or rather to forget happiness, and to do "deeds."

It is in the nature of things that those who are incapable of happiness should have no idea of it. Happiness is not for wild animals, who can only oscillate between apathy and passion. To be happy, even to conceive of happiness, you must be reasonable or (if Nietzsche prefers the word) you must be tamed. You must have taken the measure of your powers, tasted the fruits of your passions and learned your place in the world and what things in it can really serve you. To be happy you must be wise. This happiness is sometimes found instinctively, and then the rudest fanatic can hardly fail to see how lovely it is; but sometimes it comes of having learned something by experience (which empirical people never do) and involves some chastening and renunciation; but it is not less sweet for having this touch of holiness about it, and the spirit of it is healthy and beneficent. The nature of happiness, therefore, dawns upon philosophers when their wisdom begins to report the lessons of experience; an a priori philosophy can have no inkling of it.

Happiness is the union of vitality with art, and in so far as vitality is a spiritual thing and not mere restlessness and vehemence, art increases vitality. . . .

Egotism at 152-153 (Heathenism) [#50 1915]

From Egotism in German Philosophy

Indeed, nothing beside his own purpose will have any value in his eyes, or even any existence. He will therefore inevitably act without consideration for others, without courtesy, without understanding. When he chooses to observe anything external—and he is studious—his very attentions will be an insult; for he will assume that his idea of that external thing is the reality of it, and that other people can have only such rights and only such a character as he is willing to assign to them. It follows from his egotistical principles that in judging others he should be officious and rude, learned and mistaken.

Egotism at 164 (Egotism in Practice) [#114 1915]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

After all, antiquity must have been right in thinking that reasonable self-direction must rest on having a determinate character and knowing what it is, and that only the truth about God and happiness, if we somehow found it, could make us free. But the truth is not to be found by guessing at it, as religious prophets and men of genius have done, and then damning every one who does not agree. Human nature, for all its substantial fixity, is a living thing with many varieties and variations. All diversity of opinion is therefore not founded on ignorance ; it may express a legitimate change of habit or interest. The classic and Christian synthesis from which we have broken loose was certainly premature, even if the only issue of our liberal experiments should be to lead us back to some such equilibrium. Let us hope at least that the new morality, when it comes, may be more broadly based than the old on knowledge of the world, not so absolute, not so meticulous, and not chanted so much in the monotone of an abstracted sage.

Soliloquies at 168-169 (Classic Liberty) [#538 1915]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

The days of liberalism are numbered. First the horrors of competition discredited it, and now the trial of war, which it foolishly thought it could elude. The vogue of culture, too, has declined. We see that the man whose success is merely personal—the actor, the sophist, the millionaire, the aesthete—is incurably vulgar. The rightness of liberalism is exactly proportional to the diversity of human nature, to its vague hold on its ideals. Where this vagueness and play of variation stop, and they stop not far below the surface, the sphere of public organization should begin. It is in the subsoil of uniformity, of tradition, of dire necessity that human welfare is rooted, together with wisdom and unaffected art, and the flowers of culture that do not draw their sap from that soil are only paper flowers.

Soliloquies at 177-178 (Liberalism and Culture) [#539 1915]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Philosophy is not a science; it might be a life or a means of artistic expression, but it is not likely to be either at an American college.

Letters 2:223 (To Benjamin Apthorp Gould Fuller, Oxford, August 4, 1915) [#231 1915]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

What enabled Socrates and Plato to apply their personal morality in the gross, and to imagine that they had a political system as well as a spiritual one, was a triple oversight on their part. In the first place they thought that scientific knowledge of nature was impossible, or at least irrelevant to the government of life and to the right choice of ideals. In the next place, unlike the Indians, they overlooked the whole non-human creation. Finally they assumed that human nature was single, definite, and invariable. If appearance, tradition, and religious faith enlightened us sufficiently about the universe, if no beings counted except the human, and all human beings were essentially identical with ourselves, then, indeed, the morality of the single soul would cover all public morality: all men, to be good, would need to follow the same precepts, and if all men were good, society would be perfect.

Most of us now see quite clearly how far this is from being the case. The living world is fluid and contradictory, and to assume the uniformity of human nature and the adequacy of private virtue to secure public good opens the door wide to tyranny and to political apathy. The orthodox then profess to know man better a priori than he knows himself by experience; everything that departs from their conventions is set down for a disease, a sin, or a contradiction; and this innate obliquity in man their zeal must hasten to extirpate. No attempt to do justice to life or society is possible on such a basis.

Lach's Animal Faith at 355 (Two Rational Moralists) [#703 1916]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

What enabled Socrates and Plato to apply their personal morality in the gross, and to imagine that they had a political system as well as a spiritual one, was a triple oversight on their part. . . . [T]hey assumed that human nature was single, definite, and invariable. . . .

. . . . The orthodox then profess to know the man better a priori than he knows himself by experience; everything that departs from their conventions is set down for a disease, a sin, or a contradiction; and this innate obliquity in man their zeal must hasten to extirpate. No attempt to do justice to life or society is possible on such a basis.

Lach's Animal Faith at 355 (Two Rational Moralists) [#536 1916]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

Socrates and Plato] were political philosophers by tradition, being Greeks, but private moralists by vocation, and it is only to private morality that their system really applies. In the 'Republic' the problem is how to save the soul, and the political discussion is introduced only as a great parable, because the public in those pre-Christian days had a keener sense for political than for spiritual perfection. What enabled Socrates and Plato to apply their personal morality in the gross, and to imagine that they had a political system as well as a spiritual one, was a triple oversight on their part. In the first place they thought that scientific knowledge of nature was impossible, or at least irrelevant to the government of life and to the right choice of ideals. In the next place, unlike the Indians, they overlooked the whole non-human creation. Finally they assumed that human nature was single, definite, and invariable. If appearance, tradition, and religious faith enlightened us sufficiently about the universe, if no beings counted except the human, and all human beings were essentially identical with ourselves, then, indeed, the morality of the single soul would cover all public morality: all men, to be good, would need to follow the same precepts, and if all men were good, society would be perfect.

Most of us now see quite clearly how far this is from being the case. The living world is fluid and contradictory, and to assume the uniformity of human nature and the adequacy of private virtue to secure public good opens the door wide to tyranny and to political apathy. The orthodox then profess to know the man better a priori than he knows himself by experience; everything that departs from their conventions is set down for a disease, a sin, or a contradiction; and this innate obliquity in man their zeal must hasten to extirpate. No attempt to do justice to life or society is possible on such a basis.

Lach's Animal Faith at 355 (Two Rational Moralists) [#576 1916]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

When a rational morality finds itself face to face with this great field of irrepressible conflicts, in which it is impotent, it has generally taken refuge in retrenchment. . . . I need hardly say that this is not the spirit of Mr. Holt's ethics; but I do not think he has altogether appreciated the difficulty of transferring his principle of "discrimination" from an organic body into the world at large.

Lach's Animal Faith at 358 (Two Rational Moralists) [#143 1916]

From The Letters of George Santayana

The Catholic Church has an immense heritage from all the ages . . . . Of course, you know I am myself a sceptic, and if one's object were to discover and embrace the truth, no religion seems to me much to the purpose, all of them being products of the human imagination. But in a moral and allegorical sense, one religion may still be said to be "truer" than another, if it brings us into greater harmony with the conditions of our life, and developes better our spiritual capacities . . . .

Letters 2:266 (To Mrs. William Warren , Torquay, March 24, 1917) [#726 1917]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I am willing to concede the use of the terms "psyche" and "psychical" for non-mental and unconscious processes in the self: but I don't think what makes them psychical is the peculiar substance they are made of, or its "luminosity" (which I don't understand in the absence of consciousness) but an arrangement, which makes those portions of matter fit organs for the functions of life—nutrition, reproduction, material sensitivenss, self-defence, and consciousness as well. Matter, I should say, becomes psychic, as it becomes organic, when it attains a certain complexity and equilibrium in its structure and movement.

Letters 2:269 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Oxford, April 17, 1917) [#69 1917]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

If it be still asked how intent can fix upon a thing at a distance, or of a different nature from the present sense datum and make it its present object, the answer must be, in brief, that sense data are initially signs: and that we may be cognisant of the object signified either antecedently, in consequence of some direct earlier perception (as we know the sound of a printed word from having heard it), or subsequently by merely yielding to the suasion of the symbol and exploring what it points to—as when we raise our eyes on being startled by a sound, or follow a scent, or feel the strong attraction of beauty. That the sign is a sign, and that there is something behind it, is a fact conveyed to us by the concomitant reaction of the rest of our organism to that particular impression. This reaction is not caused by knowledge, it is itself the ground of knowledge. . . . Stupidity is the conscious expression of sluggishness, intelligence that of plasticity. Transitive knowledge simply recognises in a judgment the actual relation in which our living bodies stand to their environment. [I]t makes all the moral difference between animals and vegetables, or even between organic and inorganic bodies . . . .

Buchler's Obiter at 114-115 (Literal and Symbolic Knowledge) [#453 1918]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

If appearances, then, have a basis at all, this basis by definition must explain the diversity in the appearances, as well as their common properties or continuity; but it does not follow that the diversity of the substance must resemble that of the phenomena. The latter may be signs, not copies, of their ground, and heterogeneous expressions of it (like a good translation) even when they are adequate.

Buchler's Obiter at 119-120 (Literal and Symbolic Knowledge) [#454 1918]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

In the knowledge of fact there is instinctive conviction and expectation, animal faith, as well as intuition of essences ; and this faith (which is readiness to use some intuitive category), while it plunges us into a sea of presumption, conjecture, error, and doubt, at the same time sets up an ideal of knowledge, transitive and realistic, in comparison with which intuition of essence, for all its fallibility, is a mockery. We might almost say that sure knowledge, being immediate and intransitive, is not real knowledge, while real knowledge, being transitive and adventurous, is never sure.

Buchler's Obiter at 129 (Literal and Symbolic Knowledge) [#27 1918]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

The arts are evidences of wisdom, and sources of it; they include science.

Scepticism at 102-103 (The Watershed of Criticism) [#107 1918]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

I propose now to consider what objects animal faith requires me to posit, and in what order; without for a moment forgetting that my assurance of their existence is only instinctive, and my description of their nature only symbolic. I may know them by intent, based on bodily reaction; I know them initially as whatever confronts me, whatever it may turn out to be, just as I know the future initially as whatever is coming, without knowing what will come. That something confronts me here, now, and from a specific quarter, is in itself a momentous discovery. The aspect this thing wears, as it first attracts my attention, though it may deceive me in some particulars, can hardly fail to be, in some respects, a telling indication of its nature in its relation to me. Signs identify their objects for discourse, and show us where to look for their undiscovered qualities. Further signs, catching other aspects of the same object, may help me to lay siege to it from all sides; but signs will never lead me into the citadel, and if its inner chambers are ever opened to me, it must be through sympathetic imagination.

Scepticism at 106 (The Watershed of Criticism) [#464 1918]

From The Letters of George Santayana

As to the triviality of unimagined, . . . lascivious pictures, how could you feel this contempt for them . . . if they had no essence and one which is so real that it provokes your strongest epithets? I never said essences were more real than existences: they are more fundamental, but far less urgent: their values (when they have them) being relative, like the evil of lasciviousness.

Letters 2:310 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Oxford, February 26, 1918) [#282 1918]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I suspect that I should agree with your theory of the origin of consciousness. This appears when cognition arises, that is, when a psychic change is used as a sign of something ulterior. "Used as a sign", however, is ambiguous: for the organic change is "used" by the body to lead to some adjustment to the outer object, while the essence appearing to consciousness is "used" by the intellect to reveal that object and to describe it. The first sort of sign is a passive omen, the second a transitive symbol.

Letters 2:310 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Oxford, February 2, 1918) [#449 1918]

From The Letters of George Santayana

The truth is [that] the world is not governed by men, but by God or by subterranean forces that are hardly represented in consciousness, and not at all in our wills.

Letters 2:311 (To Mary Potter Bush, Oxford, March 2, 1918) [#522 1918]

From The Letters of George Santayana

The chief divergence of which I am conscious, however, in reading your paper concerns the literalness which you seem to attribute to correct knowledge. . . . The essence given is not the essence affirmed. . . . For this reason signs . . . do not obstruct knowledge of their objects, if we are intelligent. I don"t fail to know the original because the given copy [e.g., a work of art] exists, any more than I fail to know the object because the psychic state exists: I should fail to know the original only if I asserted the essence of the copy, or of the psychic state, and not the essence it suggests, to be the essence of that original. In a word, the datum has to be interpreted, not merely projected and asserted, in order to yield true knowledge.

Letters 2:313 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Oxford, March 26, 1918) [#450 1918]

From The Letters of George Santayana

It [the settled belief of the Catholic imagination] is plainly contrary to fact, as it seems to me: but fact or truth, when it lies beyond the most immediate material realm, naturally interests most men very little: and nature has not given them either the wish or the power to discern it. By choice, when we can, we live histrionically, intent on the eloquent embroideries we make upon things and people; it is a sort of dream or play which we wrap our actual life in. And the Catholic Hypnosis is a very nice one, fitting the facts in a very acceptable wise way when one has decided that the facts themselves are not decent, and can't be allowed to go about naked. I like civilized artifices of this sort.

Letters 2:317 (To Charles Raymond Bell Mortimer , Oxford, April 10, 1918) [#727 1918]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I can well believe that what you say about "the object being only an excerpt from the real thing" may coincide with what I call knowledge through symbols. As to the notion that a percept may be incorrect in itself, don't you say this of the percept of a bent stick half in the water? Don't you make an explicit point of the error being here one of perception and not of judgment or belief? . . . . Of course, I don't disagree with you as to these facts at all: the question is rather at what level the correctness or incorrectness begins to be added to the innocent apprehension of an essence in our immediate experience different from the essence of the object for which it stands. The mere difference—the symbolic character of the datum—does not seem to involve error: yet if the symbol is explicitly asserted to be literal knowledge it becomes one. Compare religion.

Letters 2:318 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Cambridge, May 8, 1918) [#451 1918]

From The Letters of George Santayana

The essence thought of once may of course be thought of again, and the fact that it has been thought of before may be thought of later. But attention itself doesn't offer an objective to contemplation. If people chose to deny that attention existed or was diverted from one object to another, the only experimental evidence we could offer would be indirect. We might point out the way in which the eyes are turned or the brow knit; or we might point out that objects sometimes come into view at intervals and with such a variable intensity as can hardly be attributed to their own nature. But these arguments could be eluded by saying that neither of these facts is what we mean by attention. Attention is interpolated by us into our view of those facts in what we conceive to be their natural relations and their way of hanging together: but attention is not to be found among the observable facts themselves.

Letters 2:325 (To Robert Seymour Bridges, Oxford, July 18, 1918) [#157 1918]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[W]e don't agree about the nature of mind. Feeling of the most elementary kind seems to me as obviously an expression of the life and the plight of an animal as we agree that perception is . . . . Feeling must be the intuition of an essence—call it an "element of quality" if you like, that is just what an essence is. . . . [Feelings are spiritual facts, quite as much as thoughts are spiritual facts.] . . . I shall never desert the Aristotelian insight that sensibility is the act of a natural living being, an entelechy and not a substance. . . . What I chiefly recoil from [in your way of viewing the nature of mind] is the denaturalization of the psychical itself which seems to me involved in panpsychism: its meaning and essence vanish if you cease to regard it as expressive and supervening.

Letters 2:334 to 2:335 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Oxford, December 22, 1918) [#395 1918]

From The Letters of George Santayana

To say that it [the psychical or mind] cannot have arisen because it is different from its basis is equivalent to saying that it is an impossible thing altogether: because its essence is to be a supervening fact that a situation involves, according to the order of nature. This doesn't have to be accepted as an inexplicable coincidence, except in the sense in which all facts and all laws are inexplicable. It is the most natural and plausible thing in the world, as much so as the law of gravity or the generation of children.

Letters 2:335 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Oxford, December 22, 1918) [#362 1918]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

It was a false step at which Hobbes halted, which Locke took unsuspectingly and which sent Berkeley and Hume head over heels: the assumption that facts are known immediately.

Soliloquies at 193 (John Bull and His Philosophers) [#693 1919]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

It was a false step at which Hobbes halted, which Locke took unsuspectingly, and which sent Berkeley and Hume head over heels: the assumption that facts are known immediately.

Soliloquies at 193 (John Bull and His Philosophers) [#777 1919]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

What happens to exist can take very good care of itself, and is quite indifferent to what people think of it; and as for us, if we possess such cursory knowledge of the nearer parts of existence as is sufficient for our safety, there is no reason why we should attend to it too minutely: there's metal more attractive in discourse and in fiction. Mind, as Hobbes said, is fancy, and it is the things of fancy that greet us first and reward us best. They are far from being more absurd than the facts.

It is only what exists materially that exists without excuse, whereas what the mind creates has some vital justification, and may serve to justify the rest.

Soliloquies at 196-197 (Occam's Razor) [#502 1919]

From The Letters of George Santayana

If you mean that [Plotinus'] system of the universe is not a map of it, is not scientifically correct or in scale, of course I agree. But it seems to me a very great system, very "good philosophy" . . . . The doctrines of Plotinus are flights in the same direction as the doctrines of Christianity: they are not hypotheses intended to explain facts, but expressions invented for sentiment and aspiration. The world, he feels, is full of the suggestion of beauty and goodness, but of the suggestion only. In fact, it betrays and obliterates everything it tries to express, like an inscription in invisible ink that should become luminous only for a moment. And his question is What does the world say, what does life mean, what is there beyond . . . that might lend significance and a worthy origin and end to this wonderful apparition and to our passionate love and passionate dissatisfaction in its presence? His system is an elaborate answer to this question. It is not a hypothesis but an intention, and such rightness as it has is merely fidelity and fineness in rendering moral experience. Of course all those things he describes do not exist; of course he is not describing this world, he is describing the other world, that is, deciphering the good, just beyond it or above it, which each actual thing suggests. Even this rendering of moral aspiration is arbitrary, because nature really does not aspire to anything, and each living thing aspires to something different, in diverse ways. But this arbitrary aspiration, which Plotinus reads into the world, sincerely expresses his own aspiration and that of his age. That is why I say he is decidedly a "good philosopher." . . . . It seems to me better than Christian theology in this respect, that it isn't mixed up with history, it isn't half Jewish, half worldly. It is the Greek side of Christian theology isolated and made pure; and that is the side of it which seems to me truly spiritual, truly sacrificial and penitentially joyful. That it is terribly superstitious and turns all physics into magic is an integral part of its poetic and expressive virtue. Every passion, every force, must be a devil or an angel, because it is agreed to begin with we are looking for the spirit in things.

Letters 2:364 to 2:365 (To Robert Seymour Bridges, Paris, September 18, 1919) [#233 1919]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

But even passive and immediate data of appearance, its bare signals and language when stupidly gaped at, retain their aesthetic and logical character—the primary sort of reality or being. Moreover, the fact that any such data appear or are thought of at all, however ideal and non-existent in themselves, is an historical event, with undeniable existence in the empirical sphere. It seem clear, therefore, that the special and invidious kind of reality opposed to appearance must mean an underlying reality, a substance: and it had better be called by that name.

Lach's Animal Faith at 172-173 (Three Proofs of Realism) [#283 1920]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

The sort of being that essences have is indefeasible: they cannot lose it or change it, as things do and must if their being is existence. . . . [I]ts logical or aesthetic character, which is all the reality it has, is inalienable . . . . So that when our roving thought lights up one of these intrinsic possibilities, it discovers an object ontologically far more necessary and fundamental than are physical things or pulses of feelings.

Lach's Animal Faith at 187-188 (Three Proofs of Realism) [#270 1920]

From Character and Opinion in the United States

The Reformation did not reform this belief in the cosmic supremacy of man, or the humanity of God; on the contrary, it took it (like so much else) in terrible German earnest, not suffering it any longer to be accepted somewhat lightly as a classical figure of speech or a mystery resting on revelation. The human race, the chosen people, the Christian elect were like tabernacle within tabernacle for the spirit; but in the holy of holies was the spirit itself, one's own spirit and experience, which was the centre of everything. Protestant philosophy, exploring the domain of science and history with confidence, and sure of finding the spirit walking there, was too conscientious to misrepresent what it found. As the terrible facts could not be altered they had to be undermined. By turning psychology into metaphysics this could be accomplished, and we could reach the remarkable conclusion that the human spirit was not so much the purpose of the universe as its seat, and the only universe there was.

Character & Opinion at 21 (The Moral Background) [#792 1920]

From Character and Opinion in the United States

Of course, for any one who thinks naturalistically (as the British empiricists did in the beginning, like every unsophisticated mortal), psychology is the description of a very superficial and incidental complication in the animal kingdom: it treats of the curious sensibility and volatile thoughts awakened in the mind by the growth and fortunes of the body.

Character & Opinion at 25 (The Moral Background) [#793 1920]

From Character and Opinion in the United States

Evidently when the naturalistic background and meaning of experience have dropped out in this way, empiricism is a form of idealism, since whatever objects we can come upon will all be a priori and a fortiori and sensu eminentiori ideal in the mind. The irony of logic actually made English empiricism, understood in this psychological way, the starting-point for transcendentalism and for German philosophy.

Character & Opinion at 27-28 (The Moral Background) [#794 1920]

From Character and Opinion in the United States

Free reflection about everything is a habit to be imitated, but not a subject to expound; and an original system, if the philosopher has one, is something dark, perilous, untested, and not ripe to be taught, nor is there much danger that any one will learn it. The genuine philosopher—as Royce liked to say, quoting the Upanishads—wanders alone like the rhinoceros.

Character & Opinion at 35-36 (The Academic Environment) [#795 1920]

From Character and Opinion in the United States

Everywhere [in late 19th-century and early 20th-century America] co-operation is taken for granted, as something that no one would be so mean or so short-sighted as to refuse. . . . Every political body, every public meeting, every club, or college, or athletic team, is full of it. Out it comes whenever there is an accident in the street or a division in a church, or a great unexpected emergency like the late war. . . .

Such a way of proceeding seems . . . irresistible in a natural democracy. But if we consider human nature at large and the practice of most nations, we shall see that it is a very rare, wonderful, and unstable convention. . . . [Under American conditions of this time, the] most opposite systems of religion and education could look smiling upon one another's prosperity, because the country could afford these superficial luxuries, having a constitutional religion and education of its own, which everybody drank in unconsciously and which assured the moral cohesion of the people. . . . It was because life in America was naturally more co-operative and more plastic than in England that the spirit of English liberty, which demands co-operation and plasticity, could appear there more boldly and universally than it ever did at home.

English liberty is a method, not a goal. . . . In English civilisation the individual is neutralised; it does not matter so much even in high places if he is rather stupid or rather cheap; public spirit sustains him, and he becomes its instrument all the more readily, perhaps, for not being very distinguished or clear-headed himself. . . . Its very looseness gives the English method its lien on the future. . . . Anglo-Saxon imperialism is unintended . . . . It has a commercial and missionary quality, and is essentially an invitation to pull together . . . ; but whether it is accepted or rejected, it is an offer of co-operation, a project for a limited partnership, not a complete plan of life to be imposed on anybody.

It is a wise instinct, in dealing with foreigners or with material things (which are foreigners to the mind), to limit oneself in this way to establishing external relations, partial mutual adjustments, with a great residuum of independence and reserve. . . . So deep-seated is this prudent instinct in the English nature that it appears even at home; most of the concrete things which English genius has produced are expedients. . . . [A]part from the literature that simply utters the inner man, no one considering the English language, the English church, or English philosophy, or considering the common law and parliamentary government, would take them for perfect realisations of art or truth or an ideal polity. Institutions so jumbled and limping could never have been planned; . . . they are accepted and prized, where they are native, for keeping the door open to a great volume and variety of goods, at a moderate cost of danger and absurdity.

Character & Opinion at 196-202 (English Liberty in America) [#600 1920]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

Knowledge of discourse in other people, or of myself at other times, is what I call literary psychology. It is, or may be, in its texture, the most literal and adequate sort of knowledge of which a mind is capable.

Scepticism at 173-174 (Knowledge is Faith Mediated by Symbols) [#53 1920]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

And it is very true, whatever desperate efforts empiricism may make to deny it, that every figure crossing the stage of apprehension is a symbol, or may become a symbol ; they all have some occasion and arise out of some deeper commotion in the material world.

Soliloquies at 127 (The World’s A Stage) [#457 1920]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

Empiricism would be agony if any one was so silly as really to forget his material status and to become the sport of his passing ideas.

Soliloquies at 157 (Masks) [#195 1920]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[T]he natural roots of things moral should not be overlooked . . . .

Letters 2:419 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Toledo, December 10, 1920) [#142 1920]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

[F]or reason, taken psychologically, is an old inherited passion like any other, the passion for consistency and order ; and it is just as prone as the other passions to overstep the modesty of nature and to regard its own aims as alone important. But this is ridiculous ; because importance springs from the stress of nature, from the cry of life, not from reason and its pale prescriptions. Reason cannot stand alone ; brute habit and blind play are at the bottom of art and morals, and unless irrational impulses and fancies are kept alive, the life of reason collapses for sheer emptiness.

Soliloquies at 22 (The Comic Mask) [#74 1921]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

All Saint Bernard could mean, then, is that happiness lies in this substitution of an ideal for a natural society, in converse with thoughts rather than with things. . . . To substitute the society of ideas for that of things is simply to live in the mind ; it is to survey the world of existences in its truth and beauty rather than in its personal perspectives, or with practical urgency. It is the sole path to happiness for the intellectual man, because the intellectual man cannot be satisfied with a world of perpetual change, defeat, and imperfection. It is the path trodden by ancient philosophers and modern saints or poets ; not, of course, by modern writers on philosophy (except Spinoza), because these have not been philosophers in the vital sense ; they have practised no spiritual discipline, suffered no change of heart, but lived on exactly like other professors, and exerted themselves to prove the existence of a God favourable to their own desires, instead of searching for the God that happens to exist.

Soliloquies at 120-121 (Society and Solitude) [#239 1921]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

[M]an is rooted in society and his instincts are addressed to it ; for the first nine months, or even years, of his existence he is a parasite ; and scarcely are these parental bonds a little relaxed, when he instinctively forms other ties, that turn him into a husband and father, and keep him such all his days. If ever he finds happiness in solitude, it can only be by lavishing on objects of his imagination the attentions which his social functions require that he should lavish on something. Without exercising these faculties somehow his nature would be paralysed ; there would be no fuel to feed a spiritual flame.

Soliloquies at 120 (Society and Solitude) [#635 1921]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

Substance is fluid, and, since it cannot exist without some form, is always ready to exchange one form for another ; but sometimes it falls into a settled rhythm or recognizable vortex, which we call a nature, and which sustains an interesting form for a season. These sustained forms are enshrined in memory and worshipped in moral philosophy, which often assigns to them a power to create and to reassert themselves which their precarious status is very far from justifying.

Soliloquies at 132 (The Tragic Mask) [#65 1921]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

It will never do for a mind merely to live through its passions or its perceptions ; it must discern recognizable objects, in which to centre its experience and its desires ; it must choose names and signs for them, and these names and symbols, if they are to perform their function in memory and intercourse, must be tightly conventional.

Soliloquies at 134 (The Tragic Mask) [#458 1921]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

[T]he primary impulses of nature, though intermittent, are monotonous and clearly defined, as are the gestures of love and of anger. A man who is unaffectedly himself turns out to be uncommonly like other people. Simple sincerity will continually rediscover the old right ways of thinking and speaking, and will be perfectly conventional without suspecting it. This classic iteration comes of nature, it is not the consequence of any revision or censorship imposed by reason. . . . [T]he Old Adam is conservative ; he repeats himself mechanically in every child who cries and loves sweets and is imitative and jealous.

Soliloquies at 136 (The Comic Mask) [#537 1921]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

Existence is indeed distinguishable from the platonic essences that are embodied in it precisely by being a conjunction of things mutually irrelevant, a chapter of accidents, a medley improvised here and now for no reason . . . . This world is contingency and absurdity incarnate . . . . The most profound philosophers accordingly deny that any of those things exist which we find existing, and maintain that the only reality is changeless, infinite, and indistinguishable into parts ; and I call them the most profound philosophers in spite of this obvious folly of theirs, because they are led into it by the force of intense reflection, which discloses to them that what exists is unintelligible and has no reason for existing ; and since their moral and religious prejudices do not allow them to say that to be irrational and unintelligible is the character proper to existence, they are driven to the alternative of saying that existence is illusion and that the only reality is something beneath or above existence.

Soliloquies at 142-143 (Carnival) [#363 1921]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

There was a general conviction behind all these [liberal] maxims, that tradition corrupts experience. . . . [R]eform, revision, restatement are perpetually required . . . . Whatsoever was not the fresh handiwork of the soul and true to its present demand was bad for that soul. A man without traditions, if he could be materially well equipped, would be purer, more rational, more virtuous than if he had been an heir to anything. . . . Philosophy should be transcendental, history romantic and focussed in one's own country, politics democratic, and art individual and above convention. Variety in religious dogma would only prove the truth—that is, the inwardness—of inspiration.

Soliloquies at 182-183 (The Irony of Liberalism) [#628 1921]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

It is not politics that can bring true liberty to the soul; that must be achieved, if at all, by philosophy . . . .

Soliloquies at 184 (The Irony of Liberalism) [#235 1921]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

[G]ranting a human nature to which to appeal, the good and the ideal may be defined with some accuracy. Of course, they cannot be defined immutably, because human nature is not immutable . . . .

Soliloquies at 258 (On My Friendly Critics) [#541 1921]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

[A]ll I wish for others, or dare to recommend to them, is that they should keep their lives sweet also, not after my fashion, but each man in his own way. I talk a great deal about the good and the ideal, having learned from Plato and Aristotle (since the living have never shown me how to live) that, granting a human nature to which to appeal, the good and the ideal may be defined with some accuracy. Of course, they cannot be defined immutably, because human nature is not immutable; and they cannot be defined in such a way as to be transferred without change from one race or person to another, because human nature is various. Yet any reflective and honest man, in expressing his hopes and preferences, may expect to find many of his neighbours agreeing with him, and when they agree, they may work politically together. Now I am sometimes blamed for not labouring more earnestly to bring down the good of which I prate into the lives of other men. My critics suppose, apparently, that I mean by the good some particular way of life or some type of character which is alone virtuous, and which ought to be propagated. Alas, their propagandas! How they have filled this world with hatred, darkness, and blood! How they are still the eternal obstacle, in every home and in every heart, to a simple happiness! I have no wish to propagate any particular character, least of all my own; my conceit does not take that form. I wish individuals, and races, and nations to be themselves, and to multiply the forms of perfection and happiness, as nature prompts them. The only thing which I think might be propagated without injustice to the types thereby suppressed is harmony; enough harmony to prevent the interference of one type with another, and to allow the perfect development of each type. The good, as I conceive it, is happiness, happiness for each man after his own heart, and for each hour according to its inspiration.

Soliloquies at 258 (On My Friendly Critics) [#577 1921]

From The Letters of George Santayana

True philosophy, of course, is built on science and is only an extension of science . . . .

Letters 3:8 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Madrid, February 2, 1921) [#234 1921]

From The Letters of George Santayana

You ask why the given essence is not, without further ado, the essence of the object! Why on earth, I ask myself, should it be? . . . . It is simply a preposterous, unnatural suggestion that the essences given to a vegetative thing, like the psyche, should be the essences of the surrounding forces, under the influence of which that psyche is living, and which, when it becomes materially cognitive, it will describe to itself in its own poetic, mytholigal, sensuous language, as the cold devil, or the spirit of the rain, or the patter-patter elf knocking at the door. You see, I spontaneously conceive the mind as an expression of the life of the psyche, turned into a symbol, a terribly inadequate and yet overloaded symbol, of what assails that life from outside. Am I wrong in surmising that such a presumption belongs to the psychological metaphysics which conceives the object as, fundamentally, the given idea, the "phenomenon"; and then indeed it would be a mystery how the given "idea" could differ from the given "essence".

Letters 3:12 to 3:13 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Paris, March 28, 1921) [#452 1921]

From The Letters of George Santayana

But I still believe that "consciousness", or the intuition of essences, is an event which, being immaterial, is imponderable, not measurable in quantity or position or velocity, nor even intrinsically in date or duration: so that to assign any mechanical efficacy to it is impossible.

Letters 3:13 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Paris, March 28, 1921) [#797 1921]

From The Letters of George Santayana

But I still believe that "consciousness", or the intuition of essences, is an event which, being immaterial, is imponderable, not measurable in quantity or position or velocity, nor even intrinsically in date or duration: so that to assign any mechanical efficacy to it is impossible. But of course, it is as good a sign of its circumstances as any other habitual item among them: and it may have a certain prophetic or symptomatic value as to the probable future, which the superstitious regard as a magic efficacy: and this is what people really cling to, and try to disguise to themselves as an experience of power.

Letters 3:13 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Paris, March 28, 1921) [#423 1921]

From The Letters of George Santayana

There is something disreputable in sentimental self-consciousness. Nevertheless, the exercise is possible and (for a critical philosophy) indispensable: and unless you are willing to indulge in it . . . [y]ou will never have studied the order of evidence. . . . [I]f we believe in the existence of anything, our belief must exist too, and is first in the order of evidence, though not first in the order of discovery. For what is first in the order of discovery may be an illusion; but what is second, that a sense of discovering something has existed, cannot be an illusion, if there is to be an order of evidence at all.

Letters 3:14 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Paris, March 28, 1921) [#122 1921]

From The Letters of George Santayana

The great obstacle to political wisdom and justice is the difficulty we all experience in thinking in dynamic units and discerning the units which, in any problem before us, are really dynamic. We think instead in aesthetic or moral terms which correspond to no lines of cleavage or motion in nature; and so our eloquence and our prophecies, even our treaties and legislation, come strangely to naught; and we are consumed with astonishment and indignation at what we think the folly and wickedness of mankind, whose actions and sentiments are so strangely oblivious of the units we wished to preserve.

Letters 3:39 (To Horace Meyer Kallen, Rome, November 21, 1921) [#637 1921]

From The Letters of George Santayana

That you are to be an engineer has its good side, because that is a living profession[:] I don’t mean merely that you may make a living by it, but that it is in moral and practical sympathy with the age, and with American life. This is very important for happiness . . . . I don't mean to suggest that if you are an engineer that you must be a brute, although that is what we thought in the 1890's; but only that in this life, as in war, one's sensitiveness and insight are most fruitful when turned to understanding and oiling a machine that is necessarily brutal, and turning it to the best uses.

Letters 3:47 to 3:48 (To Warwick Potter, Rome, December 7, 1921) [#106 1921]

From Reason in Common Sense

I am consequently far less inclined [in my later years] to take a transcendental point of view, as if spirit at every point were absolute, and its objects its creations. . . .

[S]ubjectivity in me was never more than a method . . . .

Common Sense 2d at vi-vii (Preface to the Second Edition) [#556 1922]

From Reason in Common Sense

[Subjectivity] was a method appropriate to a book like this, a presumptive biography of the human intellect, which instead of the Life of Reason might have been called the Romance of Wisdom.

Common Sense 2d at vii (Preface to the Second Edition) [#656 1922]

From Reason in Common Sense

Moral philosophy is not a science.

Common Sense 2d at xii (Preface to the Second Edition) [#238 1922]

From Reason in Common Sense

All that was needed [to distinguish progress in the Life of Reason] was to know oneself. No unnatural constancy need be imposed on human nature at large: it sufficed that the critic himself should have a determinate character and a sane capacity for happiness. He was not likely to be so original that, if he was sincere, nobody else would be found to share and approve his judgments.

Common Sense 2d at xi (Preface to the Second Edition) [#557 1922]

From Reason in Common Sense

I had no need to adopt the cosmology of Plato—a mythical and metaphysical creation, more or less playful and desperate, designed to buttress his moral philosophy. I was old enough, when I came under his influence, to discount this sort of priestcraft in thought, so familiar to Christian apologists. Experience, knowledge of my own heart, attachment to Spinoza, even the science of the day, protected me against those voluntary illusions. Indeed, to undermine them gently, by showing how unnecessary and treacherous they are in the healthy life of the spirit, was a chief part of my undertaking.

Common Sense 2d at xii (Preface to the Second Edition) [#346 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

Substance may be conceived logically, and then it means pure Being; or it may be conceived psychologically, and then it means absorption in the sense of pure Being; or it may be conceived physically as matter, a name for the constant quantities in things that are traceably transformed into one another. Pure Being and the contemplation of pure Being seem at first sight very different from matter; but they may be a dramatic impersonation of matter, viewed from the inside, and felt as blind intensity and solidified ignorance.

Soliloquies at 95-96 (War Shrines) [#90 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

My instinct is to go and stand under the cross, with the monks and the crusaders, far away from these Jews and Protestants who adore the world and who govern it.

Soliloquies at 95 (War Shrines) [#750 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

When I speak of being governed by imagination, of course I am indulging in a figure of speech, in an ellipsis; in reality we are governed by that perpetual latent process within us by which imagination itself is created. Actual imaginings—the cloud-like thoughts drifting by—are not masters over themselves nor over anything else. . . . Imagination, when it chimes within us, apparently of itself, is no less elaborately grounded [than the chime in the night is grounded in the church tower, the composer's head, and the beadle winding things up]; it is a last symptom, a rolling echo, by which we detect and name the obscure operation that occasions it . . . .

Soliloquies at 123 (Imagination) [#424 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

[T]o discover what we truly love is the whole of ethics.

Soliloquies at 158 (The Censor and the Poet) [#115 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

There has been progress in [the history of philosophy]; if we start with the first birth of intelligence and assume that the end pursued is to understand the world, the progress has been immense.

Soliloquies at 208 (The Progress of Philosophy) [#236 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

But how could the spirit, if it had been free originally, ever have attached its fortunes to any lump of clay? . . . . Why should spirit have fallen in the first instance, or made any beginning in sin and illusion?

It would have been better, for the moral and religious purposes of these sages, to have observed and respected the prose facts, and admitted that each little spirit falls for the first time when the body is generated which it is to dwell in. It never, in fact, existed before; it is the spirit of that body. Its transcendental prerogatives and its impersonal aims are by no means inconsistent with that humble facts: they seem inconsistent only to those who are ignorant of the life and fertility of nature, which breeds spirit as naturally as the lark sings. Aspiration to liberate spirit from absorption in finite existence is in danger of missing its way if it is not enlightened by a true theory of existence and of spirit; for it is utterly impossible to free the spirit materially, since it is the voice of matter, but by a proper hygiene it can be feed ideally, so that it ceases to be troubled by its sluggish instrument, or conscious of it.

Soliloquies at 211-212 (The Progress of Philosophy) [#396 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

Nevertheless, all their [the Indian people] mythology and scholasticism did not invalidate (as they did not in the Catholic church afterwards) the initial spiritual insight on which their system rested. The spirit, viewed from within, is omnipresent and timeless, and must be spoken of as falling, or coming down, or entering (as Aristotle puts it) through the house-door.

Soliloquies at 212 (The Progress of Philosophy) [#397 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

The notion that the object of sense [substance] is the very image created in sensation, or is an idea constructed afterwards by the intellect, is an aberration of confused psychologists ; the intellectual construction, like the sensuous image, is and is meant to be only a symbol for the substance, whatever it may be, which confronts the living being when he eats or looks or frames a scientific hypothesis. Natural things, in their undiscovered inner texture, are the only things-in-themselves, and the object of every practical perception is the thing-in-itself, whatever its nature may happen to be.

Soliloquies at 213 (The Progress of Philosophy) [#459 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

Apparently there is not energy enough in the human intellect to look both ways at once, and to study the world scientifically whilst living in it spiritually.

Soliloquies at 214 (The Progress of Philosophy) [#267 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

[Platonism is a] monstrous dream, if you take it for a description of nature; but a suitable allegory by which to illustrate the progress of the inner life: because those stages, or something like them, are really the stages of moral progress for the soul.

Soliloquies at 215 (The Progress of Philosophy) [#169 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

Platonic metaphysics projects into the universe the moral progress of the soul. It is like a mountain lake, in which the aspirations and passions of a civilized mind are reflected upside down and a certain tremor and intensity is added to them in that narrow frame, which they would hardly have in the upper air. This system renders the life of the soul more unified and more beautiful than it would otherwise be. Everything becomes magical, and a sort of perpetual miracle of grace; the forms which things wear to the human mind are deputed to be their substance; the uses of life become its protecting gods; the categories of logic and of morals become celestial spheres enclosing the earth. A monstrous dream, if you take it for a description of nature; but a suitable allegory by which to illustrate the progress of the inner life: because those stages, or something like them, are really the stages of moral progress for the soul.

Soliloquies at 215 (The Progress of Philosophy) [#348 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

For suppose anatomy had done its best or its worst, and had completely mapped the machinery of the human automation ; and suppose at the same time the modern dream-readers and diviners had unearthed all a man's infant concupiscences and secret thoughts ; there would still be something essential undiscovered. I do not mean that behind the whole physical machinery there would be another material agency, another force or set of events ; nor that besides the totality of mental discourse, remembered or unremembered, there would be more thinking elsewhere : the hypothesis is that all that exists in these spheres has been surveyed, and assigned to its place in the evolving system. What has been so far ignored is something on another plane of being altogether, which this automatic life and this mental discourse involve, but do not contain. It is the principle of both and of their relation ; the system of repetitions, correspondences, developments, and ideal unities created by this march of human life in double column.

Soliloquies at 217-218 (The Psyche) [#284 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

Spirit everywhere expresses the life of nature, and echoes its endeavours ; but the animal life which prompts these feelings is itself not arbitrary : it passes through a cycle of changes which are pre-ordained. This predetermined, specific direction of animal life is the key to everything moral ; without it no external circumstances could be favourable or unfavourable to us ; and spirit within us would have no reason to welcome, to deplore, or to notice anything. What an anomaly it would seem to a free spirit (if there could be such a thing) that it should care particularly for what happens in the body of some animal, or that it should see one set of facts rather than another, and this in so partial and violent a perspective! But spirit does, and must, do this ; and it is an absurd and satanic presumption on its part to profess that it could exist, or be a spirit at all, if it were not the spirit of some body, the voice of some animal heart. To have a station in matter, and to have interests in the material world, are essential to spirit . . . .

Soliloquies at 219 (The Psyche) [#398 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

Science as yet has no answer to this most important of all questions, if we wish to understand human nature : namely, How is the body, and how are its senses and passions, determined to develop as they do? . . . . Mechanism is one habit of matter, and life is another habit of matter ; the first we can measure mathematically and forecast accurately, the second we can only express in moral terms, and anticipate vaguely ; but that the mechanical habit runs through the vital habit, and conditions it, is made obvious by the dependence of life on food, on time, on temperature, by its routine in health and by its diseases, by its end, and above all by its origin ; for it is a habit of matter continuous with other inorganic habits, and (if evolution is true) arising out of them. In any case, life comes from a seed in which it lies apparently dormant and arrested, and from which it is elicited by purely mechanical agencies. On the other hand, the seed reacts on those agencies in a manner as yet inexplicable by what we know of its structure ; and its development closely repeats (though perhaps with spontaneous variation) the phases proper to the species.

Soliloquies at 219-220 (The Psyche) [#540 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

Mechanism is one habit in matter, and life is another habit of matter; the first we can measure mathematically and forecast accurately, the second we can only express in moral terms, and anticipate vaguely . . . .

Soliloquies at 220 (The Psyche) [#158 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

[T]he associations of the word Psyche are not repugnant, as are those of the word soul, to the meaning I wish to give to it : that habit in matter which forms the human body and the human mind.

Soliloquies at 221 (The Psyche) [#70 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

I beg the learned to notice that the Psyche, as I use the term, is not a material atom but a material system, stretching over both time and space; it is not a monad; it has not the unity proper to consciousness; nor is it a mass of "subconscious," mental discourse. The Psyche may be called a substance in respect to mental and moral phenomena which (I think) are based on modes or processes in matter, not on any material particle taken singly; but the Psyche is not a substance absolutely, since its own substance is matter in a certain arrangement—in other words, body.

Soliloquies at 221 note 1 (The Psyche) [#71 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

The whole of natural life, then, is an aspiration after the realization and vision of Ideas, and all action is for the sake of contemplation.

Soliloquies at 227 (Reversion to Platonism) [#503 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

[The psyche] begins to ask itself what it is living for. The answer is not, as an unspiritual philosophy would have it: In order to live on. The true answer is: In order to understand, in order to see the Ideas.

Soliloquies at 227 (Reversion to Platonism) [#504 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

Spirituality, then, lies in regarding existence merely as a vehicle for contemplation, and contemplation merely as a vehicle for joy.

Soliloquies at 228 (Reversion to Platonism) [#505 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

That universals are present to intuition was the secret of Plato . . . . It comes to seem a paradox, or even inconceivable, because people suppose they see what they believe they are looking at, which is some particular thing, the object of investigation, of desire, and of action; they overlook the terms of their thought . . . . These terms, which are alone immediate, are all universals. Belief—the expectation, fear, or sense of events hidden or imminent—precedes clear perception; but it is supposed to be derived from it. Perception without belief would be mere intuition of Ideas . . . . The human mind, on the contrary, is the expression of an animal life, swimming hard in the sea of matter. It begins by being the darkest belief . . . . Ideas, in the discovery of facts, are only graphic symbols . . . .

Soliloquies at 229-230 (Ideas) [#425 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

The human mind, on the contrary, is the expression of an animal life, swimming hard in the sea of matter. It begins by being the darkest belief and the most helpless discomfort, and it proceeds gradually to relieve this uneasiness and to tincture this blind faith with more and more luminous ideas. Ideas, in the discovery of facts, are only graphic symbols, the existence and locus of the facts thus described being posited in the first place by animal instinct and watchfulness.

Soliloquies at 229-230 (Ideas) [#460 1922]

From Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

The Ideas were our true friends, our natural companions, and all our safe knowledge was of them; things were only vehicles by which Ideas were conveyed to us, as the copies of a book are vehicles for its sense.

Soliloquies at 230 (Ideas) [#506 1922]

From The Letters of George Santayana

In philosophy there is always a moral element, a view of life, which will make the scientific element subordinate.

Letters 3:53 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Rome, January 18, 1922) [#237 1922]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

On the contrary, any experience is incidental to animal life and animal passions, which in turn are incidental to the general flux of substance in the world. Appearances and feelings and consciousness itself are in their nature desultory and unsubstantial, yet not groundless nor altogether mad, because substance creates and sustains them by its steady rhythms, so that they are truly expressive and, when intelligence arises, may become terms and symbols in true knowledge.

Buchler's Obiter at 166 (The Unknowable) [#462 1923]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

[A]ll knowledge of fact, by its very privilege of transcending the data, is condemned to be external and symbolic . . . .

Buchler's Obiter at 172 (The Unknowable) [#455 1923]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

I believe that every natural event has several ontological dimensions: it moves in the realm of essence, it is definable in the realm of truth, perhaps it flashes and burns for a moment in the realm of spirit, forming an actual feeling or thought.

Buchler's Obiter at 179 (The Unknowable) [#290 1923]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

Human experience is filled full with such appropriate comments on neighboring modes of substance, and with appropriate names and sketches clapped upon events. Amongst these signs and tokens there are some especially venerable symbols, those same ideas already mentioned of matter, of God, of the natural world, of various persons and passions. These venerable symbols are characters attributed to substance and its modes by the human imagination . . . . [S]ubstance may be recognized and named without being at all comprehended . . . as when a child says John, mother, dog. It does not follow that these names, and the sentiment each mutely awakens, are similar to the substance they indicate, or form any part of that substance. . . . I see no necessity that our ideas of matter or of God should be truer than that . . . . If, for instance, in denying that persons exist, a philosopher like Buddha had meant that the idea we commonly form of persons does not rightly describe the substance at work in those places, he might have been more than justified . . . ; but he could hardly have maintained his negation if he had meant that there is no substance of any sort for which the idea of persons is a conventional mask. . . .

Knowledge, then, is not knowledge of appearance, but appearances are knowledge of substance when they are taken for signs of it. . . .

Buchler's Obiter at 181-183 (The Unknowable) [#456 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

[A]nd as I am content to write in English, although it was not my mother-tongue, and although in speculative matters I have not much sympathy with the English mind, so I am content to follow the European tradition in philosophy, little as I respect its rhetorical metaphysics, its humanism, and its worldliness.

Scepticism at ix (Preface) [#751 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

It might seem for a moment as if this pressing actuality of experience implied a relation between subject and object, so that an indescribable being called the ego or self was given with and involved in any actual fact. This analysis, however, is merely grammatical, and if pressed issues in mythical notions.

Scepticism at 22 (Doubts About Self-Consciousness) [#716 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

The notion of essence is also useful in dismissing and handing over to physical science, where it belongs, the mooted question concerning the primary and secondary qualities of matter. . . . [T]he question of primary and secondary qualities, as mooted in modern philosophy, is a false problem. It rests on the presumption that the data of sense can be and should be constituents of the object in nature, or at least exactly like its constituents. . . . [Psychological critics of experience] continue illegitimately to posit the bread, as an animal would, and then, in their human wisdom, proceed to remove from the description of it the colour and the pleasure concerned, as being mere effects on themselves, while they identify the bread itself with the remainder of their description hypostatised: shape, weight, and hardness. . . . Evidently these so-called primary qualities are simply those essences which custom or science continues to use in its description of things. . . .

It is because essences are not discerned that philosophers in so many ways labour the hopeless notion that there is nothing in sense which is not first in things.

Scepticism at 82-84 (Some Uses of This Discovery) [#706 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

Suppose, for instance, that I see yellow, that my eyes are open, and that there is a buttercup before me; my intuition (not properly the essence 'yellow' which is the datum) is then called a sensation. If again I see yellow with my eyes closed, the intuition is called an idea or a dream—although often in what is called an idea no yellow appears, but only words. If yet again I see yellow with my eyes open, but there is no buttercup, the intuition is called a hallucination. These various situations are curious, and worth distinguishing in optics and in medical psychology, but for the sceptical scrutiny of experience they make no difference. . . . Again, if I see yellow once, my experience is called a particular impression, and its object, yellow, is supposed to exist and to be a particular too; but if I see yellow again, yellow has mysteriously become a universal, a general idea, and an abstraction.

Scepticism at 91-93 (Some Uses of This Discovery) [#702 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

Sensation and thought (between which there is no essential difference) . . . .

Scepticism at 102 (The Watershed of Criticism) [#713 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

Beliefs and ideas might also be surveyed in the order of discovery, as within the field of human grammar and thought they come to be discriminated. Such a survey would be a biography of reason, in which I should neglect the external occasions on which ideas and beliefs arise and study only the changing patterns which they form in the eye of thought, as in a kaleidoscope. What would probably come first in the order of discovery would be goods and evils . . . .

Scepticism at 109-110 (Identity and Duration Attributed to Essences) [#658 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

[Spirit] aspires to see each thing clearly and to see all things together, that is to say, under the form of eternity, and as sheer essences given in intuition.

Scepticism at 128 (Essence and Intuition) [#44 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

Value accrues to any part of the realm of essence by virtue of the interest which somebody takes in it, as being the part relevant to his own life. If the organ of this life comes to perfect operation, it will reach intuition of that relevant part of essence. . . . The life of the psyche, which rises to this intuition, determines all the characters of the essence evoked, and among them its moral quality. . . . [P]ure intuition is life at its best . . . .

Scepticism at 129-130 (Essence and Intuition) [#507 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

The contemplation of so much of essence as is relevant to a particular life is what Aristotle called the entelechy or perfect fruition of life.

Scepticism at 130 (Essence and Intuition) [#41 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

The contemplation of so much of essence as is relevant to a particular life is what Aristotle called the entelechy or perfect fruition of that life.

Scepticism at 130 (Essence and Intuition) [#508 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

[Belief] is not inevitable, if I am willing and able to look passively on the essences that may happen to be given: but [ ] if I consider what they are, and how they appear, I see that this appearance is an accident to them; that the principle of it is a contribution from my side, which I call intuition. The difference between essence and intuition, though men may have discovered it late, then seems to me profound and certain. They belong to two different realms of being.

Scepticism at 133 (Essence and Intuition) [#285 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

The existence of things is assumed by animals in action and expectation before intuition supplies any description of what the thing is that confronts them in a certain quarter.

Scepticism at 133 (Essence and Intuition) [#426 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

Existence, change, life, appearance, must be understood to be unintelligible : on any other assumption the philosopher might as well tear his hair and go mad at once.

Scepticism at 211 (On Some Objections to Belief in Substance) [#364 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

The truth, however nobly it may loom before the scientific intellect, is ontologically something secondary.

Scepticism at 227 (Sublimations of Animal Faith) [#313 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

Peoples cannot love one another unless they love the same ideas.

Scepticism at 251 (Evidences of Animation in Nature) [#127 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

When nature was still regarded as a single animal, this confusion [of literary with scientific psychology] extended to science as a whole . . . .

Scepticism at 252 (Literary Psychology) [#151 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

Philosophy fell into the same snare when in modern times it ceased to be the art of thinking and tried to become that impossible thing, the science of thought. . . . [B]ut I cannot by any possibility make experience or mental discourse at large the object of investigation : it is invisible, it is past, it is nowhere. I can only surmise what it might have been . . . . It is an object of literary psychology. The whole of British and German philosophy is only literature.

Scepticism at 254 (Literary Psychology) [#240 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

Spirit, in a word, is no phenomenon, not sharing the aesthetic sort of reality proper to essences when given, nor that other sort proper to dynamic and material things; its peculiar reality is to be intelligence in act.

Scepticism at 273-274 (Discernment of Spirit) [#286 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

By spirit essences are transposed into appearances and things into objects of belief; and (as if to compensate them for that derogation from their native status) they are raised to a strange actuality in thought—a moral actuality which in their logical being or their material flux they had never aspired to have: like those rustics and servants at an inn whom a traveling poet may take note of and afterwards, to their astonishment, may put upon the stage with applause.

Scepticism at 274 (Discernment of Spirit) [#170 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

Spirit is a category, not an individual being . . . .

Scepticism at 275 (Discernment of Spirit) [#287 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

The psyche is plastic . . . . Scarcely is the impression received, but it merges in the general sensitiveness or responsiveness of the organ affected, modifying its previous way of reacting on some natural object, an object reported not by that impression alone, but by many others: so that the synthetic unity of apperception (that most radical of transcendental principles) obeys a compulsion peculiar to animal economy, which no pure spirit would need to share, the compulsion to use things as materials, to drop them and forge ahead, or to eat and to digest them: for the drinking in of light through the eyes, or of currents from other organs, thereby rearranging the habits of the nervous system, is very like the consumption of food, restoring the vegetative functions. . . . Pure spirit would never need to apperceive at all; this is an animal exigency that distracts it from intuition.

Scepticism at 281-282 (Discernment of Spirit) [#91 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

There is no dilemma in the choice between animal faith and reason, because reason is only a form of animal faith, and utterly unintelligible dialectically, although full of a pleasant alacrity and confidence, like the chirping of birds.

Scepticism at 283 (Discernment of Spirit) [#75 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

Fact can never be explained, since only another fact could explain it: therefore the existence of a universe rather than no universe, or of one sort of universe rather than another, must be accepted without demur.

Scepticism at 284 (Discernment of Spirit) [#365 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

[When those who deny the existence of spirit] hear the word used, it irritates them, because they suppose it means some sort of magical power or metaphysical caloric, alleged to keep bodies alive, and to impose purposes on nature; purposes which such a prior spirit, being supernatural and immortal, could have had no reason for choosing. Such a dynamic spirit would indeed be nothing but an immaterial matter, a second physical substance distinguished from its grosser partner only in that we know nothing of it, but assign to its operation all those results which seem to us inexplicable. Belief in such a spirit is simply belief in magic; innocent enough at first when it is merely verbal and childish, but becoming perverse when defended after it has ceased to be spontaneous.

Scepticism at 287 (Discernment of Spirit) [#350 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

[S]pirit is in another realm of being altogether, and needs the being and movement of matter, by its large sweeping harmonies, to generate it, and give it wings.

Scepticism at 288 (Discernment of Spirit) [#288 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

[The systems of psychological philosophers] are the very opposite of philosophy. . . . Far from purging the mind and strengthening it, that it might gain a clearer and more stable vision of the world, these critics have bewildered it . . . .

Scepticism at 304 (Comparison with Other Criticisms of Knowledge) [#241 1923]

From Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy

This natural faith opens to me various Realms of Being, having very different kinds of reality in themselves and a different status in respect to my knowledge of them.

Scepticism at 309 (Comparison with Other Criticisms of Knowledge) [#289 1923]

From Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy: Five Essays

In what sense can myths and metaphors be true or false? In the sense that, in terms drawn from moral predicaments or from literary psychology, they may report the general movement and the pertinent issue of material facts, and may inspire us with a wise sentiment in their presence. In this sense I should say that Greek mythology was true and Calvinist theology was false.

Turns of Thought at 92 (A Long Way Round to Nirvana) [#753 1923]

From Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy: Five Essays

All human discourse is metaphorical, in that our perceptions and thoughts are adventitious signs for their objects, as names are, and by no means copies of what is going on materially in the depths of nature . . . .

Turns of Thought at 93 (A Long Way Round to Nirvana) [#473 1923]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Experience, and success in construction and prediction, can only show that specious time and specious space are fair symbols for whatever forces or process may really be going on in nature. There need be no graphic likeness, no resemblance, between symbols and their objects. A change from Euclidean geometry (a set of ideas or symbols only) might conceivably fit things better. But even if it did, the new geometry would be itself only a new symbol, a new idea, not the constitution of nature itself. If Einstein means that Relativity is the absolute order of nature, he is not a man of science nor a mathematician at all, but only a misguided psychologist, composing the universe out of optical illusions.

Letters 3:142 to 3:143 (To Robert Burnside Potter, Nice, April 3, 1923) [#463 1923]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

Essence so understood much more truly is than any substance or any experience or any event : for a substance, event, or experience may change its form or may exist only by changing it . . . . To be able to become something else, to suffer change and yet endure, is the privilege of existence, be it in a substance, an event, or an experience ; whereas essences can be exchanged, but not changed.

Buchler's Obiter at 191-192 (Some Meanings of the Word "Is") [#291 1924]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

Thought is an outsider in respect to the things, facts, events, and essences which it considers ; for although thought is itself an event and has an essence, it cannot at the time consider that fact.

Buchler's Obiter at 197 (Some Meanings of the Word "Is") [#292 1924]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

Yet in this superlative existence proper to intuition there is something ironical. While it exists so positively that some philosophers admit no other reality, it is indiscoverable in the context of nature where existence must lie. Moreover, a chief characteristic of existence is flux . . . ; but intuition (though externally considered it has a date and duration) is a synthesis, and therefore no flux.

Buchler's Obiter at 208 (Some Meanings of the Word "Is") [#159 1924]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

Intuitions are therefore not existences in the same sense as natural things, nor events after the fashion of natural events ; and yet we must say of them preeminently that they exist and arise . . . .

Buchler's Obiter at 208 (Some Meanings of the Word "Is") [#293 1924]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

Intuition is an emanation of life, an intellectual response of the animal to his vicissitudes; it is an actualisation or hypostasis of formal facts in nature, not an added existence on the same plane as its organ. If either the substance or the intuition were a phenomenon (which neither is), the relation of intuition to substance might be called epiphenomenal; for the two are not collateral, but the intuition is as completely dependent on the body for arising, as the body and nature at large are dependent on intuition for being imagined, loved, or described. This spiritual hypostasis of life in intuition is therefore less and more than natural existence and deserves a different name. I will call it actuality.

Buchler's Obiter at 208-209 (Some Meanings of the Word "Is") [#427 1924]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[The issue uppermost in the minds of Hume and Mill was] what internal relevance there was between cause and effect, to be the reason for their sequence. . . . People, in a word, desiderate a dialectical or moral unity in natural sequences, and it was the absence of this desideration that Hume and Mill pointed out.

Letters 3:197 (To Curt John Ducasse, Rome, April 19, 1924) [#759 1924]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[F]iction or myth [is] the only possible knowledge of fact.

Letters 3:212 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Cortina d’Ampezzo, August 3, 1924) [#465 1924]

From The Letters of George Santayana

In recognizing the equal legitimacy of every creature, with his innate ethics, I do not renounce my own: the contradiction would come if, professing to admire integrity in lions and barbarians, I allowed my own integrity to be polluted or dissolved.

Letters 3:219 (To John Boynoton Priestly, Cortina d’Ampezzo, September 15, 1924) [#578 1924]

From The Letters of George Santayana

My philosophy is normal human orthodox philosophy, such as has come down from the Indians through the Greeks, to Spinoza. It is simply not Protestant philosophy. The problems of Protestant philosophy do not exist for me: I regard them as products of a confusion of thought, of a heresy. Catholic philosophy differs from the normal only in that it accepts sacred history as well as natural history as the true account of the facts: but when the facts are agreed upon, one way or another, philosophy has no real difficulty in discovering what to say. It has said everything essential already. To invent a philosophy would be not to have understood.

Letters 3:219 (To John Boynton Priestley , Cortina d'Ampezzo, September 15, 1924) [#728 1924]

From The Letters of George Santayana

My philosophy is normal human orthodox philosophy, such as has come down from the Indians through the Greeks, to Spinoza. It is simply not Protestant philosophy. The problems of Protestant philosophy do not exist for me: I regard them as products of a confusion of thought, of a heresy. Catholic philosophy differs from the normal only in that it accepts sacred history as well as natural history as the true account of the facts: but when the facts are agreed upon, one way or another, philosophy has no real difficulty in discovering what to say. It has said everything essential already. To invent a philosophy would be not to have understood.

Letters 3:219 (To John Boynton Priestley , Cortina d'Ampezzo, September 15, 1924) [#752 1924]

From Dialogues in Limbo

Whereas the images in the eye or the thoughts of the heart can agree but loosely . . . with material things, they may agree exactly with the images in another eye, and the thoughts of another heart. This free unanimity was called friendship by the Greeks, who alone among all nations have understood the nature of friendship. Barbarians of course may fight faithfully in bands, and may live in tribes and in cities, hugging their wives and children to their bosom; but such instinctive love, which all animals manifest, is not friendship. . . [F]riendship is agreement in madness, when the same free thoughts and the same fraternal joys visit two kindred spirits. It was not for fighting loyally side by side that the Spartan phalanx or the Theban band were incomparable in the annals of war, but for fighting side by side for the sake of the beautiful, and in order that the liberal madness of their friendship might not end, unless it ended in death.

Dialogues at 49 (Normal Madness) [#124 1925]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

Naturalism is a primary system, or rather it is not a special system at all, but the spontaneous and inevitable body of beliefs involved in animal life, beliefs of which the various philosophical systems are either extensions (a supernatural environment, itself natural in its own way, being added to nature) or interpretations (as in Aristotle and Spinoza) or denials (as in idealism). . . . On this material framework it is easy to hang all the immaterial objects, such as words, feelings, and ideas, which may be eventually distinguished in human experience. We are not compelled in naturalism, or even in materialism, to ignore immaterial things ; the point is that any immaterial things which are recognized shall be regarded as names, aspects, functions, or concomitant products of those physical things among which action goes on.

Buchler's Obiter at 214 (Dewey’s Naturalistic Metaphysics) [#214 1925]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

Naturalism will break down, however, so soon as words, ideas, or spirits are taken to be substantial on their own account, and powers at work prior to the existence of the organs, or independent of them. Now it is precisely such disembodied powers and immaterial functions prior to matter that are called metaphysical. Transcendentalism is not metaphysical if it remains a mere method, because then it might express the natural fact that any animal mind is its own centre and must awake in order to know anything: it becomes metaphysical when this mind is said to be absolute, single, and without material conditions. To admit anything metaphysical in this sense is evidently to abandon naturalism.

Buchler's Obiter at 215 (Dewey’s Naturalistic Metaphysics) [#95 1925]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

For a naturalist nothing can be substantial or efficacious in thought except its organs and instruments, such as brains, training, words, and books. Actual thought, being invisible and imponderable, eludes this sort of chase. . . . The actuality of spirit, mystically momentary, does not fall within the purview of this empirical inventory any more than the realm of truth, invisibly eternal.

Buchler's Obiter at 219 (Dewey’s Naturalistic Metaphysics) [#160 1925]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

Mind . . . possesses a hypostatic spiritual existence, over and above the whole behaviourist or pragmatic ground-work of mind : it has become conscious, or as Aristotle would say, has reached its second entelechy and become intellect in act.

Buchler's Obiter at 221 (Dewey’s Naturalistic Metaphysics) [#42 1925]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Mechanism, if we value the issue, may always be called teleology. The teleology that is impossible is only that which represents the result as a cause.

Letters 3:245 (To Curt John Ducasse, Rome, May 2, 1925) [#163 1925]

From The Letters of George Santayana

You seem to leave out the authority of a man's own nature over his casual preferences, in other words, self-knowledge. I entirely agree that different natures have no moral authority over one another; but folly in judgement and action is nevertheless possible if a creature ignores the interests or the facts which he would wish to take into account if he remembered them.

Letters 3:245 (To Curt John Ducasse, Rome, May 2, 1925) [#543 1925]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Socrates defends human morality against religion no less than against naturalism (which are not fundamentally enemies) and he is right politically: but both science and religion, in their profound unison, make this political humanism and anti-morality seem rather small and accidental. Both science and religion, not being on the human scale, do violence to the human point of view, which at the same time they show to be excusable and inevitable in spirit expressing an animal life and generated by it.

Letters 3:256 to 3:257 (To Robert Seymour Bridges, Paris, August 8, 1925) [#120 1925]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[A]ppearances or angelic intuitions floating about on the loose would not be expressions of animal life in me or you: it is the same difficulty that besets the Humian ”ideas”. They must be moored to the organism, not merely by a temporal concomitance, but by inner relevance: they are taken from it as a centre, in its interests, through its organs, and are woven into that personal life in which the perception of the organism, its environment, in perspectives centered upon it, its memories, and its passion are all woven constantly together.

Letters 3:273 to 3:274 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Rome, February 2, 1926) [#399 1926]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[T]hey are, by hypothesis, spiritual facts, unobservable, and not to be moored in nature at all save by inner relevance to particular natural predicaments, a relevance to be discovered only sympathetically, not empirically, by evoking similar appearance in our own fancy.

Letters 3:274 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Rome, February 2, 1926) [#161 1926]

From The Letters of George Santayana

My view is that [appearances] are created out of nothing, but not by nothing, not by chance or spontaneously: they are created by something else. . . . Your contrary view is monistic or pantheistic: it does not admit, with me and the Indians, that appearance is illusion and that nothing given exists. . . . You wish to be, at least in some measure, an empiricist, a positivist, a philosopher of the Left.

Letters 3:304 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Rome, November 23, 1926) [#200 1926]

From Winds of Doctrine

Spirit is not the pursuit of this good or that beauty, but of the beautiful and the good.

Winds (New) at vi (Preface) [#788 1926]

From Platonism and the Spiritual Life

Values presuppose living beings having a direction of development, and exerting themselves in it, so that good and evil may exist in reference to them. That the good should be relative to actual natures and simply their innate ideal, latent or realized, is essential to its being truly a good. Otherwise the term 'good' would be an empty title applied to some existing object or force for no assignable reason.

Platonism at 13-14 (Chapter IV) [#579 1927]

From Platonism and the Spiritual Life

As to the Socratic philosophy of love, there is an obvious spiritual tendency in it, inasmuch as it bids the heart turn from the temporal to the eternal; and it does so not by way of an arid logic but by a true discipline of the affections, sublimating erotic passion into a just enthusiasm for all things beautiful and perfect. . . . It lives by a poignant sense of eternal values—the beautiful and the good—revealed for a moment in living creatures or in earthly harmonies. Yet who has not felt that this Platonic enthusiasm is somewhat equivocal and vain? Why? Because its renunciation is not radical. In surrendering some particular hope or some personal object of passion, it preserves and feeds the passion itself; there is no true catharsis, no liberation, but a sort of substitution and subterfuge, often hypocritical. Pure spiritual life cannot be something compensatory, a consolation for having missed more solid satisfactions: it should be rather the flower of all satisfactions, in which satisfaction becomes free from care, selfless, wholly actual and, in that inward sense, eternal. Spiritual life is simple and direct, but it is intellectual. Love, on the contrary, as Plotinus says, is something material, based on craving and a sense of want. For this reason the beautiful and the good, for the Platonic enthusiast, remain urgent values; he would cease to be a true Platonist or a rapt lover if he understood, if he discounted his illusions, rose above the animal need or the mental prejudice which made these values urgent, and relegated them to their relative station, where by their nature they belong. Yet this is what a pure spirit would do, one truly emancipated and enlightened.

Platonism at 28-29 (Chapter VIII) [#664 1927]

From Platonism and the Spiritual Life

Spiritual life is not a worship of "values," whether found in things or hypostatized into supernatural powers. It is the exact opposite; it is disintoxication from their influence. Not that spiritual insight can ever remove values from nature or cease to feel them in their moral black and white and in all their aesthetic iridescence. Spirit knows these vital necessities: it has been quickened in their bosom. All animals have within them a principle by which to distinguish good from evil, since their existence and welfare are furthered by some circumstances and acts and are hindered by others. Self-knowledge, with a little experience of the world, will then easily set up the Socratic standard of values natural and inevitable to any man or to any society. These values each society will disentangle in proportion to its intelligence and will defend in proportion to its vitality. But who would dream that spiritual life was at all concerned in asserting these human values to be alone valid, or in supposing that they were especially divine, or bound to dominate the universe for ever?

Platonism at 30 (Chapter IX) [#667 1927]

From The Letters of George Santayana

A triangle does not lose its triangularity when not thought of: but it ceases to be speciously triangular. "Specious" is only a term used to vary the monotony of "given", "apparent", or "intuited". It is not a category of some essences in their own realm as distinguished from other essences there. I should therefore not say that Platonic ideas retained their specious character when not contemplated. They retain their essential character—the only character they have—but lose their specious presence or actuality.

Letters 3:316 to 3:317 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Rome, February 9, 1927) [#82 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

The business of a philosopher is [ ] to be a good shepherd of his thoughts.

Essence at xv-xvi (Preface to Realms of Being) [#242 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

By the philosopher [ ] both the homeliest brew and the most meticulous science are only relished as food for the spirit. Even if defeated in the pursuit of truth, the spirit may be victorious in self-expression and self-knowledge; and if a philosopher could be nothing else, he might still be a moralist and a poet.

Essence at xvi (Preface to Realms of Being) [#243 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

[Man] seldom has leisure to dwell on essences . . . unless they are significant of facts in the realm of matter, controlling his destiny. I therefore give a special name to this tragic segment of the realm of essence and call it the Realm of Truth.

Essence at xv (Preface to Realms of Being) [#294 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

What is dialectic? Precisely an analysis or construction of ideal forms which abstracts from such animal faith as might be stimulated by their presence, and traces instead the inherent patterns of logical relations of these forms as intuition reveals them.

Essence at 3 (Various Approaches to Essence) [#35 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

The natural and the spiritual fruits of life are not opposed, but they are different. Its natural fruits are more life, persisting through readjustments and an incessant generation of new forms, so that youth may fill the place of age and attain an equal, though not identical, perfection. It is in these perfections, or in approaches which partly anticipate them, that the spiritual fruits are found. As we have seen, they may ripen early, and may be gathered at all seasons, when any phase of life is perfected in action; but the spiritual fruits are internal or tangential to this action, not consequent upon it, like the natural fruits: they may be omnipresent in existence, but only by everywhere transmuting existence into essence. Spirit is life looking out of the window; the work of the household must have been done first, and is best done by machinery.

Essence at 10 (Various Approaches to Essence) [#645 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

But [the realm of essence] is not the whole of being . . . . Considered in itself, essence is certainly the deepest, the only inevitable, form of reality; but I am here speaking of approaches to it, that is, of considerations drawn from human experience that may enable us to discern that primary reality and to recognise it to be such in contrast to our own form of being. We stand, then, on another plane, the plane of scattered experience, brute fact, contingent existence . . . .

The priority of the realm of essence is therefore not temporal or dynamic. . . .

Essence at 14-15 (Various Approaches to Essence) [#295 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

Repetition is impossible in the realm of essence . . . . Repetition is possible only among objects which are particular but not individual; that is, when they exist and are distinguished by their external relations, even if internally they should happen to be precisely similar, and should have but one individuality or essence. . . . This possibility of iterating or repeating an essence is what, from the point of view of existence, makes essences seem abstract or general, when in reality they are the only individuals. . . . Every essence is universal not because there are repeated manifestations of it (for there need be no manifestations at all) but because it is individuated internally by its character, not externally by its position in the flux of nature: and no essence is general for the same reason.

Essence at 35-36 (Adventitious Aspects of Essence) [#52 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

The enormity of our childish idealism would prove immediately fatal if we needed to have a true idea of things in order to act properly in their presence. But ideas which are ridiculous as descriptions may be adequate as signals: all animals eat and breed without any notion of calorics or eugenics: hunger and love are moral overtones quite sufficient to express for them their share in the rude economy of nature. The mind is not a fifth wheel to her coach, but her observations on the journey.

Essence at 35 (Adventitious Aspects of Essence) [#428 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

The enormity of our childish idealism would prove immediately fatal if we needed to have a true idea of things in order to act properly in their presence. But ideas which are ridiculous as descriptions may be adequate as signals: all animals eat and breed without any notion of calorics or eugenics: hunger and love are moral overtones quite sufficient to express for them their share in the rude economy of nature. The mind is not a fifth wheel to her coach, but her observations on the journey. Conventional psychology is misled by a primitive gnostic theory to the effect that things ought normally to appear to sense in their full and exact nature. Nothing could be further from the fact, or more incongruous with animal life and sensibility.

Essence at 35 (Adventitious Aspects of Essence) [#466 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

Those who have spirit in them will live in the spirit, or will suffer horribly in the flesh; but this very insight into pure Being and into the realm of essence shows that both are absolutely infinite, the one implicitly, the other explicitly; they therefore release the mind from any exclusive allegiance to this or that good. It is only by the most groundless and unstable of accidents that any such good has been set up, or any such world as that to which this good is relevant; and only to the merest blindness does this world or this good seem absolute or exclusive. Now it would be stupid in a blind man, because he was blind, to deny the greatness of a painter who was admittedly supreme in his art, or the sanctity of a saint, or the insight of some thoroughly trained, purged, and disinterested intellect; yet that blind man would by no means be bound in his own person to begin for that reason to paint, to pray, or to go into the Indian wilderness and contemplate pure Being. Humility in these respects is not incompatible with freedom. Let those excel who can in their rare vocations and leave me in peace to cultivate my own garden. Much as I may admire and in a measure emulate spiritual minds, I am aware of following them non passibus aequis; and I think their ambition, though in some sense the most sublime open to man, is a very special one, beyond the powers and contrary to the virtues of most men. As for me, I frankly cleave to the Greeks and not to the Indians, and I aspire to be a rational animal rather than a pure spirit. Preferences are matters of morals, and morals are part of politics. It is for the statesman or the humanist to compare the functions of various classes in the state and the importance or timeliness of various arts. He must honour the poets as poets and the saints as saints, but on occasion he is not forbidden to banish them.

Essence at 65 (Pure Being) [#646 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

[T]he life of matter [ ] is indeed not determined exactly to reproduce its previous forms, but tumbles forward to fresh collocations; and the power in it is truly internal—not a compelling magic exercised by any fixed form, energising either out of the past or out of the future, but indeed a potentiality or propensity within the substance concerned, a part of that blind impulse and need to shift which is native to existence; and as this universal dance was groundless in the beginning, so it remains groundless at every stage and in every factor, whether the figures of it be novel or habitual. . . . . At some depth, and in terms not at all on the human scale, nature may very well be mechanical—I shall return to this question in its place; but each factor in that mechanism would remain perfectly spontaneous; for it is not the essence illustrated here that can produce the essence illustrated there. One configuration cannot even suggest another, save to an idle mind playing with the rhymes of appearance; but substance throughout continues groundlessly to shift its groundless arrangement. One inert essence after another is thereby embodied in things—essences inwardly irrelevant, and associated even in thought only when thought has been tamed and canalised by custom. The method of this transformation may contain repetitions, and to that extent it will be mechanical; but it will never become anything but a perpetual genesis of the unwarrantable out of the contingent, mediated by a material continuity impartial towards those complications.

Essence at 80-81 (Implication) [#373 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

Hence the earnestness and honesty with which the defenders of free-will assert at once two incompatible things: indetermination and power. They are expressing the life of matter, which is indeed not determined exactly to reproduce its previous forms, but tumbles forward to fresh collocations; and the power in it is truly internal—not a compelling magic exercised by any fixed form, energising either out of the past or out of the future, but indeed a potentiality or propensity within the substance concerned, a part of that blind impulse and need to shift which is native to existence; and as this universal dance was groundless in the beginning, so it remains groundless at every stage and in every factor, whether the figures of it be novel or habitual. This groundless pervasive power, with its tireless inner monotony and its occasional outward novelties, is matter thumping in the hearts of free-willists much more loudly than in those of their opponents. Believers in necessity have caught sight of some essence—a law or habit or rule of some kind—which they make haste to clap upon nature, as if nature had no further depth, and they had touched bottom with their proverbs; as knowing people are always incredulous of things not within their experience or their books. At some depth, and in terms not at all on the human scale, nature may very well be mechanical—I shall return to this question in its place; but each factor in that mechanism would remain perfectly spontaneous; for it is not the essence illustrated here than can produce the essence illustrated there. One configuration cannot even suggest another, save to an idle mind playing with the rhymes of appearance; but substance throughout continues groundlessly to shift its groundless arrangement. One inert essence after another is thereby embodied in things—essences inwardly irrelevant, and associated even in thought only when thought has been tamed and canalised by custom. The method of this transformation may contain repetitions, and to that extent it will be mechanical; but it will never become anything but a perpetual genesis of the unwarrantable out of the contingent, mediated by a material continuity impartial towards those complications. So the common man feels that he is the source of his actions and words, though they spring up in him unbidden; and he weaves a sophisticated moral personage, all excuses, fictions, and verbal motives, to cover the unknown currents of his material life. Philosophers are not wanting to do the same for mankind at large, or even for the universe.

Essence at 80-81 (Implication) [#677 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

By insisting on the infinity of essence I have, in one sense, already discarded any metaphysical rationalism which should attribute this sort of prior existence and authority to any system of logic or grammar. Essences are prior to existence, but being infinitely various they cannot determine existence to take one form rather than another.

Essence at 81 (Implication) [#223 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

In an empirical system causation is reduced to superstition, skipping from fact to observed fact without attempting to penetrate any of them substantially. It attributes to a juxtaposition of appearances a mysterious power to reproduce itself. Unfortunately in immediate experience there are, strictly speaking, no repetitions. The word and occurs often; but never, for actual feeling, in exactly the same context, or with exactly the same emphasis or colour. Empirical philosophy, if sincere, ought to become mystical and to deny that the flux of events has any articulation or method in it.

Essence at 87 (Implication) [#196 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

[T]hey may find my view confused, and may ask indignantly whether I am a realist, a conceptualist, or a nominalist. Let me observe in the first place that even among the Scholastics these positions were held exclusively only by partisans and heretics; the orthodox doctrine included and required the three views in their respective places.

My position, then, is simply the orthodox Scholastic one in respect to pure logic, but freed from Platonic cosmology and from any tendency to psychologism.

Essence at 93 note (Implication) [#709 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

Dialectic is the conscience of discourse and has the same function as morality elsewhere, namely, to endow the soul with integrity and to perfect it into a monument to its own radical impulse. But as virtue is a wider thing than morality, because it includes natural gifts and genial sympathies, or even heroic sacrifices, so wisdom is a wider thing than logic. To coherence in thought it adds docility to facts, and humility even of intellect, so that the integrity of its system becomes a human virtue, like the perfect use of a single language, without being an insult to the nature of things or a learned madness.

Essence at 100 (The Basis of Dialectic) [#59 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

[T]he dialectician who most resolutely hedges-in his thought in one lane of logic, may go farthest in that direction, and most unerringly. He unveils some integral pattern, perhaps never copied by things, in the realm of essence; the integrity of his pure intent and undivided attention have enabled him to unveil it. He has laid on himself the difficult task of being consistent, of being loyal, not to the realm of essence, which cannot be betrayed, but to his own commitments; he is determined to find and clarify the meaning of his spoken thoughts. Dangers lie to right and left of his path: he may slip into a change in his premises or into forgetfulness of his goal. Fulfilment is moral, even in logic. The mind bears burdens no less than the body, from which indeed the mind borrows them; and the pregnancy and implication of ideas are signs of that vital bias.

Essence at 101 (The Basis of Dialectic) [#36 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

Only an orthodoxy can possibly be right, as against the bevy of its heresies, which represent wayward exclusions, or a fundamental disloyalty. But no orthodoxy is right as against another orthodoxy, if this expresses an equal sensitiveness to the facts within its purview and an equal intellectual power.

Essence at 106-107 (The Basis of Dialectic) [#153 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

Intended essences thus acquire, through the machinery of identification, projection, and intent, a certain remoteness and mystery; they become concepts and ideals.

Essence at 116 (Essences as Terms) [#32 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

This presence of essences occasionally to imagination was very accurately called by the Scholastics their objective being, contrasted with the intrinsic or logical being which they had in themselves, and with the formal embodiment which they might have in things; but in the utter confusion of modern philosophy, substances being denied in one breath and imagination in the next, "the objective" has come to mean that which is independent of intent or attention fixed upon it; which is precisely what the objective can never be.

Essence at 129 (Instances of Essences) [#701 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

Spirit is what is called epi-phenomenal, although this word is very ill-chosen, since neither substance nor spirit is phenomenal; but the essences embodied in matter and those revealed to intuition are indeed deployed in two different media: the spiritual perspective being at each point dependent for its existence and its character upon the balance and movement of the vital process beneath. . . . There are not, then, two parallel streams, but rather one stream which, in slipping over certain rocks or dropping into certain pools, begins to babble a wanton music; not thereby losing any part of its substance or changing its course, but unawares enriching the world with a new beauty.

Essence at 134 (Instances of Essences) [#429 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

All this confusion comes of originally supposing that things are graphically copied in sense, and nature in science; a belief founded on the projection of the essences given to spirit, as if the world had been created and were now deployed on the model of human ideas. But the essences given to spirit are forms of imagination and thought: they never were and never will be the essences of things; and it is only by poetic license and conventional symbolism that we are compelled to clothe things in the garb of our sensations and rhetoric. . . . These thoughts and images of ours, with their economy, are not irrelevant to nature, since she produces them at stated junctures; our imagination and logic, as far as they go, are her own logic and imagination, by which here, at least, she finds it possible to possess and to celebrate herself spiritually; they are therefore true enough, and a different logic or a different imagination would probably be no truer. They have the value of signs and are felt to have it; because the spirit which evokes them is incarnate, with transitive and not contemplative interests predominant in it, so that it takes all its visions, when it can, for omens of collateral powers.

Essence at 136-137 (Instances of Essences) [#695 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

There is a stock objection to materialism . . . . Matter, it is said, cannot explain the origin of life, of consciousness, or of morals. Matter here means the essence which some philosopher attributes, or is alleged to attribute, to matter; this essence probably suggested itself to the philosopher's imagination after much consideration of the ways of nature; it is a simple, perhaps a merely mathematical term. Now no essence can be the origin of anything: not even of another essence, much less of any fact. . . . The incapacity of the materialist to deduce logically from the terms of his theory—such as extension, atoms, electric charges, energy, or what not—the other variegated terms in which our senses or imagination may picture the world, is therefore a matter of course . . . .

Essence at 140-141 (Essences All Primary) [#374 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

When Descartes, for example, identified matter with extension, he substituted essence for substance . . . . . . . . When he imagined geometrical figures, indistinguishable in scale, parts, or quality, and bounded by merely ideal lines, nevertheless moving in reference to one another, he was substituting a possible pattern of nature for living nature herself. . . . . The only substance remaining in his system—the only being self-existent in all its parts and in actual flux—was accordingly the discourse in which the material world might appear as a picture. Descartes thus became the father of psychologism against his will . . . .

Essence at 159-160 (Comparison with Some Kindred Doctrines) [#221 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

When Descartes, for example, identified matter with extension, he substituted essence for substance . . . . . . . . When he imagined geometrical figures, indistinguishable in scale, parts, or quality, and bounded by merely ideal lines, nevertheless moving in reference to one another, he was substituting a possible pattern of nature for living nature herself. . . . The only substance remaining in his system—the only being self-existent in all its parts and in actual flux—was accordingly the discourse in which the material world might appear as a picture. Descartes thus became the father of psychologism against his will . . . .

Essence at 159-160 (Some Kindred Doctrines) [#51 1927]

From The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being

When Descartes, for example, identified matter with extension, he substituted essence for substance . . . . . . . . When he imagined geometrical figures, indistinguishable in scale, parts, or quality, and bounded by merely ideal lines, nevertheless moving in reference to one another, he was substituting a possible pattern of nature for living nature herself. . . . The only substance remaining in his system—the only being self-existent in all its parts and in actual flux—was accordingly the discourse in which the material world might appear as a picture. Descartes thus became the father of psychologism against his will . . . .

Essence at 159-160 (Comparison with Some Kindred Doctrines) [#691 1927]

From The Letters of George Santayana

By barbarian I understand undisciplined, rebellious against the nature of things . . . . When people despise that which exists, in language, vocabulary, or morals, and set up the sufficiency of their unchastened impulses, they are barbarians.

Letters 4:45 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, May 29, 1928) [#110 1928]

From The Letters of George Santayana

On the one occasion when I saw and heard [Charles Sanders Pierce], I was struck by his very unacademic personality, and I have always remembered with profit a distinction which he made in his lecture that evening between "index", "sign", and "symbol".

Letters 4:59 (To Charles Hartshorne, Paris, September 1, 1928) [#467 1928]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Please tell Berty Russell, if you see him, that I was immensely amused at his diagnosis of "Catholic and Protestant Sceptics", and in particular of myself. But I don't like his saying that I dislike the Founder of Christianity: has he read my "Lucifer" or the dialogue about "The Philanthropist"? It may be a biased interpretation, but I take even the eschatology, and the coming of the Kingdom, in Christ's mouth, to be gently ironical and meant secretly in a spiritual sense. So understood, I accept his doctrine and spirit in toto.

Letters 4:74 (To Desmond MacCarthy , Rome, November 16, 1928) [#729 1928]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[Y]ou would understand that fidelity to the good or the beautiful is like health, not a regimen to be imposed, by the same masters, upon men of different constitutions, but a perfection to be jealously guarded at home, and in one's own arts: and you will never have any arts that are not pitiful until you have an integrated and exclusive life.

Letters 4:85 to 4:86 (To Thomas Munro, Rome, December 13, 1928) [#137 1928]

From The Letters of George Santayana

All that can be said is that without animal life and capacity for intuition the essence of beauty could not be realized: and if you had no preference for life, no heart, you would not come within range of the good in any form: not even of the spiritual life as a form of salvation. Perhaps, then, you forget that in analyzing the spiritual life, I do not forget (I hope) that it is life: if it becomes pure Being it ceases to exist. And this leads to 2nd the relation of the spiritual life to the rational life. Suppose that instead of mysticism I was considering taste: the poet or musician may, in moments of ecstasy, lose himself entirely in the intuition of his ideal theme. It is a limit to one movement in the Life of Reason. To revert to humanity and morality he has to consider the healthfulness of such rapture: he has to re-introduce it into the political life. Yet the moral world (being animal and spontaneous in its elements) does have those windows. I have been looking out of one lately: but, as you seem to suspect, with no intention of jumping out of it.

Letters 4:103 to 4:104 (To Sterling Power Lamprecht, Rome, January 28, 1929) [#647 1929]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I should therefore agree with you completely, if it were understood that you were traversing the life of spirit only, and leaving out all physics and logic: but even then so exclusive an interest in the moral side of things, ignoring their natural basis and ontological surroundings, leads into ambiguities and illusions: the relative becomes absolute and the absolute relative.

Letters 4:137 (To Robert Seymour Bridges, Rome, November 4, 1929) [#172 1929]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I am as convinced as ever of [Liberalism's or Individualism's] correctness: values are relative to natures, and it is all a question of sincerity and self-knowledge whether we organize them rationally or not. Yet there is some difference in weight between a sincere Goethe and a sincere Clive Bell . . . Don't let us let Liberalism make us inhuman!

Letters 4:156 (To Curt John Ducasse, Rome, January 5, 1930) [#544 1930]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[T]he detachment of spirit, or of understanding, is itself an inevitable aspect or moment of natural intelligence. To see things as they are, or in their truth, by variously exchanging, balancing, and thereby transcending any one private station or interest, is the condition of seeing them usefully in the larger economy of life. There is nothing anti-natural in reflection, imagination, or impersonal hypothesis. We must discount our personal equation—sensuous organs, passions, etc.—in order to calculate correctly the movement of things, in which our animal existence and passions are interpolated. But in thus serving our natural life our intelligence has detached itself, in idea, from the bias of that life: it has become impartial and disinterested. It can therefore, to that extent and in that relation, constitute a spiritual life detached from the person and lost in the truth: although materially it remains a function of animal intelligence, with its material organs, and its roots in the free play and requisite transpositions of animal fancy.

Letters 4:185 (To John Middleton Murray, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, June 22, 1930) [#649 1930]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Spiritual insight no doubt transcends moral preference, as it transcends scientific dogma: but it does not obliterate either the one or the other. The pure intellect—which is also an animal exercise and carries a joy of its own in merely exerting itself—dominates good and evil, truth and fancy with an equal pleasure: but that contemplation is superadded. It doesn't in any way correct or remove the judgements proper to the psyche, and imposed on her by her actual relation to the facts.

Letters 4:192 to 4:193 (To John Middleton Murray, Paris, August 17, 1930) [#650 1930]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I am a little surprised that you should have chosen Franklin rather than (say) Emerson to illustrate the survival of puritan morals—the morals of means—after the theology had fallen away. . . . Nevertheless, Emerson is much nearer to Oliver than Franklin: and I am a bit troubled that perhaps he (Oliver) was the last transcendentalist rather than the last puritan.

Letters 4:209 to 4:210 (To Herbert Wallace Schneider, Rome, November 3, 1930) [#148 1930]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Science expresses in human terms our dynamic relation to surrounding reality. Philosophies and religions, where they do not misrepresent these same dynamic relations and do not contradict science, express destiny in moral dimensions, in obviously mythical and poetical images: but how else should these moral truths be expressed at all in a traditional or popular fashion? Religions are the great fairy-tales of the conscience.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 8 (A General Confession) [#176 1930]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Science expresses in human terms our dynamic relation to surrounding reality. Philosophies and religions, where they do not misrepresent these same dynamic relations and do not contradict science, express destiny in moral dimensions, in obviously mythical and poetical images: but how else should these moral truths be expressed at all in a traditional or popular fashion? Religions are the great fairy-tales of the conscience.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 8 (A General Confession) [#247 1930]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

I gathered at once from [Spinoza] a doctrine which has remained axiomatic with me ever since, namely that good and evil are relative to the natures of animals, irreversible in that relation, but indifferent to the march of cosmic events, since the force the universe infinitely exceeds the force of any one of its parts.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 10 (A General Confession) [#551 1930]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Spinoza, too, whom I was reading under Royce himself, filled me with joy and enthusiasm: I gathered at once from him a doctrine which has remained axiomatic with me ever since, namely that good and evil are relative to the natures of animals, irreversible in that relation, but indifferent to the march of cosmic events, since the force of the universe infinitely exceeds the force of any of its parts.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 10 (A General Confession) [#582 1930]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Life itself exists only by a modicum of organization, achieved and transmitted through a world of change: the momentum of such organization first creates a difference between good and evil, or gives them meaning at all. Thus the core of life is always hereditary, steadfast, and classical; the margin of barbarism and blind adventure round it may be as wide as you will, and in some wild hearts the love of this fluid margin may be keen, as might be any other loose passion. But to preach barbarism as the only good, in ignorance or hatred of the possible perfection of every natural thing, was a scandal: a belated Calvinism that remained fanatical after ceasing to be Christian. And there was a further circumstance which made this attitude particularly odious to me. This romantic love of evil was not thoroughgoing: wilfulness and disorder were to reign only in spiritual matters; in government and industry, even in natural science, all was to be order and mechanical progress. Thus the absence of a positive religion and of a legislation, like that of the ancients, intended to be rational and final, was very far from liberating the spirit for higher flights: on the contrary, it opened the door to the pervasive tyranny of the world over the soul. And no wonder: a soul rebellious to its moral heritage is too weak to reach any firm definition of its inner life. It will feel lost and empty unless it summons the random labours of the contemporary world to fill and to enslave it. It must let mechanical and civic achievements reconcile it to its own moral confusion and triviality.

It was in this state of mind that I went to Germany to continue the study of philosophy . . . .

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 11-12 (A General Confession) [#754 1930]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

This book [The Life of Reason] was intended to be a summary history of the human imagination, expressly distinguishing those phases of it which showed what Herbert Spencer called an adjustment of inner to outer relations; in other words, an adaptation of fancy and habit to material facts and opportunities.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 13-14 (A General Confession) [#660 1930]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Consequently there is no opposition in my mind between materialism and a Platonic or even Indian discipline of the spirit. The recognition of the material world and of the conditions of existence in it merely enlightens the spirit concerning the source of its troubles and the means to its happiness or deliverance: and it was happiness or deliverance, the supervening supreme expression of human will and imagination, that alone really concerned me. This alone was genuine philosophy: this alone was the life of reason.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 13-14 (A General Confession) [#661 1930]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Consequently there is no opposition in my mind between materialism and a Platonic or even Indian discipline of the spirit. The recognition of the material world and of the conditions of existence in it merely enlightens the spirit concerning the source of its troubles and the means to its happiness or deliverance: and it was happiness or deliverance, the supervening supreme expression of human will and imagination, that alone really concerned me. This alone was genuine philosophy: this alone was the life of reason.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 13 (A General Confession) [#248 1930]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

On this second point [starting from the natural world, what was the causa fiendi of immediate experience] I have not seen much new light. I am constrained merely to register as a brute fact the emergence of consciousness in animal bodies. . . . This spiritual fertility in living bodies is the most natural of things. It is unintelligible only as all existence, change, or genesis is unintelligible; but it might be better understood, that is, better assimilated to other natural miracles, if we understood better the life of matter everywhere, and that of its different aggregates.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 17-18 (A General Confession) [#382 1930]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Of this [the hereditary life of the body] the mind is a concomitant spiritual expression, invisible, imponderable, and epiphenomenal, or, as I prefer to say, hypostatic: for in it the moving unities and tensions of animal life are synthesized on quite another plane of being, into actual intuitions and feelings.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 18 (A General Confession) [#436 1930]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

On the other hand, the good, when actually realized and not merely pursued from afar, is a joy in the immediate; it is possessed with wonder and is in that sense aesthetic. Such pure joy when blind is called pleasure, when centred in some sensible image is called beauty, and when diffused over the thought of ulterior propitious things is called happiness, love, or religious rapture.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 20 (A General Confession) [#47 1930]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Knowledge accordingly always remains a part of imagination in its terms and in its seat; yet by virtue of its origin and intent it becomes a memorial and a guide to the fortunes of man in nature.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 20 (A General Confession) [#481 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

But nature, events, space-time, and even evolution . . . are indicative terms, containing no ontological analysis: my problem is precisely to distinguish in this vast flood of existence the planes and qualities of reality which it contains or presupposes. I wish to note the differences and the relations between the animate and the inanimate, the physical and the moral, the psychological and the logical, the temporal and the eternal. It is very true that one and the same flux of events exemplifies now one and now another of these realms of being . . . .

[If I had avoided the word matter, there would have been a sort of treason] to spirit, to truth, to essence, to those trembling immaterial lights and that infinite immutable background which, unless sharply contrasted with the matter which they surround, may be transposed in confused apprehension to the plane of matter, and saddled with material functions. Have not both truth and spirit, not to speak of essence, been represented in our day as things physical, temporal, instrumental, and practical? Ontologically, this attitude is absurd, and a mere failure in discernment . . . .

Matter at v-vi (Preface) [#296 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

The universe itself no doubt is groundless and a perpetual miracle; but it is a tame wonder, and terribly self-imitative . . . .

Matter at 32 (Presumable Properties of Substance) [#375 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

The same mental facts are manifestations of substance; in their occurrence they are parts of a total natural event which, on its substantial side, belongs to the plane of action. They are therefore significant and relevant to action as signs, being created and controlled by the flux of substance beneath.

Matter at 41-42 (Presumable Properties of Substance) [#468 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

A chief characteristic of pictorial space, which betrays its animal origin, is that it has a centre. This centre is transcendental; that is to say, it is not determined by any distinction in the parts of space itself, as conceived, all of which are equally central. The dignity of being a centre comes to any point of space from the spirit, which some fatality has lodged there, to the exclusion, at least in its own view, of all other places. These other places appear in that view as removed and ranged in concentric spheres at greater and greater distances. The cosmos of Ptolemy is the perfect model of systematisation of pictorial space. The choice of the earth for a centre, although arbitrary geometrically, was not arbitrary historically, because Ptolemy and all other human beings found themselves on the earth, and were natives of it. So the fatality which always lodges spirit at some one point in nature, and makes this its centre, is not arbitrary biologically: for wherever there is a living organism it becomes a centre for dramatic action and reaction, and thereby calls down spirit to assume that station, and makes it a moving vehicle for one phase of its earthly fortunes. Pictorial space therefore reappears, wherever an animal rises to intuition of his environment, and in each case it has its moral or transcendental centre in that animal; a centre which, being transcendental or moral, moves wherever the animal moves, and is repeated without physical contradiction or rivalry in as many places as are ever inhabited by a watchful animal soul.

Matter at 51-52 (Pictorial Space and Sentimental Time) [#92 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

A chief characteristic of pictorial space, which betrays its animal origin, is that it has a centre. This centre is transcendental; that is to say, it is not determined by any distinction in the parts of space itself, as conceived, all of which are equally central. The dignity of being a centre comes to any point of space from the spirit, which some fatality has lodged there, to the exclusion, at least in its own view, of all other places. . . . Pictorial space therefore reappears, wherever an animal rises to intuition of his environment, and in each case it has its moral or transcendental centre in that animal; a centre which, being transcendental or moral, moves wherever the animal moves, and is repeated without physical contradiction or rivalry in as many places as are ever inhabited by a watchful animal soul.

Matter at 51-52 (Pictorial Space and Sentimental Time) [#220 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

For matter, with all existence supported by matter, is unintelligible, if for no other reason, because it changes.

Matter at 57 (Pictorial Space and Sentimental Time) [#376 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

Presentness is the coming, lasting, or passing away of an essence, either in matter or in intuition. . . . Such coming and going, with the interval (if any) between, constitute the exemplification of that essence, either in the realm of matter or in that of spirit. Thus presentness, taken absolutely, is another name for the actuality which every event possesses in its own day, and which gives it its place for ever in the realm of truth.

Matter at 61-62 (Pictorial Space and Sentimental Time) [#245 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

The notion that there is and can be but one time, and that half of it is always intrinsically past and the other half always intrinsically future, belongs to the normal pathology of an animal mind: it marks the egotistical outlook of an active being endowed with imagination. Such a being will project the moral contrast produced by his momentary absorption in action upon the conditions and history of that action, and upon the universe at large.

Matter at 61 (Pictorial Space and Sentimental Time) [#246 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

[F]or physical time is nothing but the deployment of substance, and the essence of this substance is the form which, if free, it would realise in its deployment.

Matter at 71 (Pictorial Space and Sentimental Time) [#705 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

A man's body . . . is enormously complex, and his will highly conditioned and insecure, so that he thinks it free; but if we take him and his will in the flush of action, as factors in the moral world, they count as units.

Matter at 92 (The Flux of Existence) [#678 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

Now, on the human scale, the most obvious units in action are men, and their forward tension is dramatically called their will. . . . Each personage in history, each passion or interest in a man's life, may be called a conventional moment. . . . How these conventional moments begin, how they end, how matter flows through them, and what determines their inner character while they last are all matters of common knowledge: we call them birth, death, food, and influence.

Matter at 92 (The Flux of Existence) [#370 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

Potentiality seems a vain word, and deceptive; yet it indicates a fact in the realm of truth, since seeds are capable of development into certain organisms only, and these cannot spring from any other source.

Matter at 94 (The Flux of Existence) [#368 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

[I]t is the Life of Matter. And this in both senses of the word life: for it is the history of the fortunes of that plastic enduring being, and it is also the forward tension intrinsic to each moment of that career: an inner tension which is sometimes raised to consciousness and turns to spiritual light, but which animates matter everywhere and renders it transitional.

Matter at 94 (The Flux of Existence) [#367 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

It is matter, impatient of form, that fills form with a forward tension, and realises one essence after another; and this tension in matter is ultimately expressed and rendered conscious in spirit; so that spirit is normally filled with craving, fear, curiosity, and jealousy, clasping to its bosom something precious and unintelligible, only too apt to slip away.

Matter at 94-95 (The Flux of Existence) [#369 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

In a contingent world necessity is a conspiracy of accidents.

Matter at 99 (The Flux of Existence) [#698 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

It is especially important at this point to dispel that confusion between essences and facts which makes a quicksand of all philosophy. I will therefore give a separate name to the essence of any event, as distinguished from that event itself, and call it a trope.

Matter at 101-102 (Tropes) [#371 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

An event, as I take the word, means a portion of the flux of existence; it is a conventional moment, like the birth of Christ or the battle of Waterloo, composed of natural moments generating one another in a certain order, and embedded in a particular context of other events: so that eache event is a particular and can occur only once.

Matter at 101 (Tropes) [#366 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

I will therefore give a separate name to the essence of any event, as distinguished from that event itself, and call it a trope.

Matter at 101-102 (Tropes) [#372 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

Belief in law when hasty is called superstition or, when more cautious, empiricism: but the principle in both cases is the same. Both take expectation for probability; and what probability can there be that an expectation, arising at one point, should define a law for the whole universe? . . . . In superstition, as in empiricism, we yield to the vital temptation to ignore reason, and we trust to courage and to whatever idea is uppermost in the mind.

Matter at 111 (Tropes) [#197 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

If I want water, it is because my throat is parched; if I dream of love it is because sex is ripening within me. . . . Conscious will is a symptom, not a cause; its roots . . . are . . . material . . . .

Matter at 121 (Teleology) [#430 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

Organic life is a circular trope which at each repetition touches or approaches a point which we regard as its culmination, and call maturity. In man, maturity involves feelings, intentions, and spiritual light: but it is idle to regard the whole trope as governed by these top moments in it, which are more highly conditioned, volatile, and immaterial than are their organs, their occasions, or their fruits.

Matter at 125 (Teleology) [#526 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

To say that matter, as it truly exists, is inert or incapable of spontaneous motion, organisation, life, or thought, would be flatly to contradict the facts: because the real matter, posited in action, and active in our bodies and in all other instruments of action, evidently possesses and involves all those vital properties.

Matter at 137 (The Psyche) [#377 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

In calling the psyche material I do not mean to identify her with any piece or kind of substance . . . . Perhaps all sorts of substances may enter into her system; she is not herself a substance, except relatively to consciousness, of which her movements and harmonies are the organ and the immediate support. She is a mode of substance, a trope or habit established in matter; she is made of matter as a cathedral is made of stone . . . .

Matter at 140 (The Psyche) [#566 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

Not that these moments of spirit, these mental notes and mental vistas, are the psychic life in question. They form a thin flux of consciousness, chiefly verbal in most of us, which in reflective moods becomes self-consciousness, recollection, autobiography, and literature: all only the topmost synthesis, or play of shooting relations, on the surface of the unconscious.

Matter at 152 (The Psyche) [#611 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

Yet the ontological overflow, the concomitant emergence of consciousness, alone seems to arrest the wonder, not to say the wrath of philosophers; and they are so surprised at it, and so wrathful, that they are inclined to deny it, and to call it impossible. I have not myself such an intrinsic knowledge of matter as to be sure that it cannot do that which it does: nor do I see why the proudest man should be ashamed of the parents who after all produced him. I am not tempted seriously to regard consciousness as the very essence of life or even of being. On the contrary, both my personal experience and the little I know of nature at large absolutely convince me that consciousness is the most highly conditioned of existences, an overtone of psychic strains, mutations, and harmonies; nor does its origin seem more mysterious to me than that of everything else.

Matter at 154-155 (The Psyche) [#378 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

I am not tempted seriously to regard consciousness as the very essence of life or even of being. On the contrary, both my personal experience and the little I know of nature at large absolutely convince me that consciousness is the most highly conditioned of existences, an overtone of psychic strains, mutations, and harmonies; nor does its origin seem more mysterious to me than that of everything else.

Matter at 154-155 (The Psyche) [#613 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

Nature is not that realm of essence where all variety and all relations are perspicuous and intrinsically necessary. Necessity, in nature, is only an irrational propulsion which, as a matter of fact, is prevalent; existence could not have begun to be, it could not have taken the first step from one form of being to another, if it had not been radically mad. . . .

. . . .

Now, when the flux falls into the trope which we call a psyche, existence commits itself unawares to yet another complication; for now the reverberation of its movement in the realm of truth becomes, so to speak, vocal and audible to itself. . . . At certain junctures animal life, properly a habit in matter, bursts as with a peal of bells into a new realm of being, into the realm of spirit.

Matter at 155-156 (The Psyche) [#612 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

[C]onsciousness is the most highly conditioned of existences, an overtone of psychic strains, mutations, and harmonies . . . .

Matter at 155 (The Psyche) [#431 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

Thus sensations and ideas always follow upon organic reactions and express their quality; and intuition merely supplies a mental term for the animal reaction already at work unconsciously. With each new strain or fresh adjustment, a new feeling darts through the organism; digestive sleep breaks into moral alertness and sharp perception; and, once initiated, these modes of sensibility may persist even in quiescent hours—for they leave neurograms or seeds of habit in the brain—and may be revived in thought and in dreams.

Matter at 157 (The Psyche) [#432 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

Yet in fact, on account of its organic seat and material conditions, consciousness is significant. Its every datum is an index, and may become in its eyes a symbol, for its cause.

Matter at 157 (The Psyche) [#469 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

The presumption of common sense, that these essences belong in the first place to objects and pass from them into the organs of sense, and somehow become evident to spirit in the dark caverns of the brain, is unfortunately untenable. . . . We should readily understand the enormous illusion involved, and the false reduplication of our data, if we began at the beginning, where in the natural world the psyche begins. Surely pleasure and pain, hunger, lust, and fear, do not first reside in external objects and pass from them into the mind: and these are the primary, typical data of intuition. All the rest—colours, sounds, shapes, specious spaces and times and sensations of motion—is hatched in the same nest; it all has a similar psychic seat and dramatic occasion. If such essences seem to be found in external things, it is for the good and sufficient reason that outer things are perceived by us in these sensible terms, and could not be perceived were not the psyche sensitive, and fertile in such signals to the spirit.

. . . . Pain, novel in essence, signalises a special nervous affection, not another pain elsewhere; and this signal is suitable, in as much as just such a cry would be uttered by any psyche in such a predicament, and for all psyches signifies predicaments of that sort. The whole of life is a predicament complex and prolonged; and the whole of mind is the cry, prolonged and variously modulated, which that predicament wrings from the psyche.

Matter at 159-160 (The Psyche) [#715 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

The presumption of common sense, that these essences belong in the first place to objects and pass from them into the organs of sense, and somehow become evident to spirit in the dark caverns of the brain, is unfortunately untenable. . . . If such essences seem to be found in external things, it is for the good and sufficient reason that outer things are perceived by us in these sensible terms, and could not be perceived were not the psyche sensitive, and fertile in such signals to the spirit. . . .

. . . . Pain, novel in essence, signalises a special nervous affection, not another pain elsewhere; and this signal is suitable, in as much as just such a cry would be uttered by any psyche in such a predicament, and for all psyches signifies predicaments of that sort. The whole of life is a predicament complex and prolonged; and the whole of mind is the cry, prolonged and variously modulated, which that predicament wrings from the psyche.

Matter at 159-160 (The Psyche) [#470 1930]

From The Realm of Matter: Book Second of Realms of Being

What is idealism? I should like to reply: Thought and love fixed upon essence. If this definition were accepted idealism would be a leavan rather than a system . . . . To arrest attention on pure essence and to be an idealist in a moral or poetic sense, would therefore be possible to a man holding any system of physics. Even a materialist might be a true idealist, if he preferred the study of essence to that of matter or events; but his natural philosophy would keep his poetic ecstasies in their proper place. Such an equilibrium, however, has seldom recommended itself to professed philosophers . . . .

Matter at 190 (The Latent Materialism of Idealists) [#205 1930]

From The Genteel Tradition at Bay

The soul, being an independent centre of force, would have come, on this hypothesis, into the body from without, and would continue to act upon it from within, until perhaps she escaped to pursue elsewhere her separate fortunes. This independent initiative of hers would be her free will: free in respect to material laws or solicitations, but of course conformable to her own instinct and native direction, as well as subject to the original dispositions and dynamic balance of the total universe, natural and supernatural. We must not confuse the dualism of origin in human acts, asserted by this theory of a supernatural soul, with any supposed absolute indetermination of either soul or body, or of their natural effects upon one another.

Genteel Tradition at Bay at 37-40 (The Appeal to the Supernatural) [#679 1931]

From The Genteel Tradition at Bay

Morality—by which I mean the principle of all choices in taste, faith, and allegiance—has a simple natural ground. The living organism is not infinitely elastic; if you stretch it too much, it will snap; and it justifiably cries out against you somewhat before the limit is reached. This animal obstinacy is the backbone of all virtue, though intelligence, convention, and sympathy may very much extend and soften its expression. As the brute unconditionally wills to live, so the man, especially the strong masterful man, unconditionally wills to live after a certain fashion. To be pliant, to be indefinite, seems to him ignominious.

Genteel Tradition at Bay at 54-55 (Moral Adequacy of Naturalism) [#58 1931]

From The Genteel Tradition at Bay

The only natural unit in morals is the individual man, because no other natural unit is synthesised by nature herself into a living spirit.

Genteel Tradition at Bay at 54 (Moral Adequacy of Naturalism) [#144 1931]

From The Genteel Tradition at Bay

Such a power of intellectual synthesis is evidently the mental counterpart of the power of acting with reference to changing or eventual circumstances: whether in practice or in speculation, it is the faculty of putting two and two together, and this faculty is what we call reason. It is what the idiot lacks, the fool neglects, and the madman contradicts. But in no case is reason a code, an oracle, or an external censor condemning the perceptions of sense or suppressing the animal impulses. On the contrary, in the moral life, reason is a harmony of the passions, a harmony which perceptions and impulses may compose in so far as they grow sensitive to one another, and begin to move with mutual deference and a total grace.

Genteel Tradition at Bay at 59-60 (Moral Adequacy of Naturalism) [#659 1931]

From The Genteel Tradition at Bay

[I]n no case is reason a code, an oracle, or an external censor condemning the perceptions of sense or suppressing the animal impulses. On the contrary, in the moral life, reason is a harmony of the passions, a harmony which perceptions and impulses may compose in so far as they grow sensitive to one another, and begin to move with mutual deference and a total grace.

. . . . Socrates had expressed this principle paradoxically when he taught that virtue is knowledge—self-knowledge taken to heart and applied prudently in action. Not that spontaneous preferences, character, and will could be dispensed with: these were presupposed; but it was reason that alone could mould those animal components of human nature into a noble and modest happiness.

Genteel Tradition at Bay at 60-61 (Moral Adequacy of Naturalism) [#545 1931]

From The Genteel Tradition at Bay

I think that pure reason in the naturalist may attain, without subterfuge, all the spiritual insights which supernaturalism goes so far out of the way to inspire. . . .

In this congenital spiritual life of his, man regards himself as one creature among a thousand others deserving to be subordinated and kept in its place in his own estimation: a spiritual life not at all at war with animal interests, which it presupposes, but detached from them in allegiance, withdrawn into the absolute, and reverting to them only with a charitable and qualified sympathy, such as the same man can have for the madman, or the soul in general for inanimate things: and of course, it is not only others that the spiritual man regards in this way, but primarily himself. . . .

. . . .

Reason may thus lend itself to sublimation into a sort of virtual omniscience or divine ecstasy: yet even then reason remains a harmony of material functions spiritually realised, as in Aristotle the life of God realises spiritually the harmonious revolutions of the heavens. So it is with reason in morals.

Genteel Tradition at Bay at 64-67 (Moral Adequacy of Naturalism) [#668 1931]

From The Genteel Tradition at Bay

Conscience is an index to integrity of character, and under varying circumstances may retain an iron rigidity, like the staff and arrow of a weather-vane; but if directed by sentiment only, and not by a solid science of human nature, conscience will always be pointing in a different direction.

Genteel Tradition at Bay at 69 (Moral Adequacy of Naturalism) [#546 1931]

From The Genteel Tradition at Bay

[O]nly a morality frankly relative to man's nature is worthy of man, being at once vital and rational, martial and generous . . . .

Genteel Tradition at Bay at 73-74 (Moral Adequacy of Naturalism) [#547 1931]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Another point to which I should be glad to see you return is the "reality" of universals. When an essence or a trope (if I may use my lingo) is exemplified in events, it becomes a part of their essence; but I should hardly say (would you?) that even the whole essence or description of a natural fact was that fact. The universal merely defines the fact, and is true of it; but the fact is more than its essence; it exists by being generated, situated, and sustained in the midst of nature by the flow of substance into that form at that juncture. Otherwise, your universals couldn't define existence, but only themselves.

Letters 4:251 (To Morris Raphael Cohen, Rome, May 31, 1931) [#710 1931]

From The Letters of George Santayana

For instance, I hope you may find occasion before long to clear up and emphasize the ubiquitous directness of the dependence of mind on organic life, and the non-existence of mental machinery. Isn't it grotesque to suppose one idea capable of generating another, as if in music one note were to produce another note? . . . . In discourse relevant ideas are "chosen" because, the bodily and psychic (not mental) reactions being determined by inheritance, training, and circumstances, only relevant ideas can arise.

Letters 4:251 (To Morris Raphael Cohen, Rome, May 11, 1931) [#433 1931]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Science as a whole is not a description of experience, but of nature; only literary psychology describes experience, or rather the way in which experience emerges in nature.

Letters 4:257 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, June 2, 1931) [#54 1931]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I conceive a natural moment as a description rather than a constituent; it is the flux in so far as any particular essence is maintained in it, so long as it is maintained. The substance and its movement are not governed by these essences, which in turn define the "natural moments" in it.

Letters 4:279 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Naples, September 25, 1931) [#63 1931]

From The Letters of George Santayana

And the interval between the coming and going of any essence from the flux of existence is, by definition, a natural moment. Be it observed also that these moments are not cosmic in lateral extension; they are not moments of everything at once: so that when one comes to an end, almost everything in the universe will run on as if nothing had happened. Spring every year and youth in every man are natural moments, so is the passage of any image or idea in a mind; but the change (so momentous in that private transformation) is far from jarring the whole universe . . . .

Letters 4:282 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Naples, October 7, 1931) [#64 1931]

From The Letters of George Santayana

You seem to regard "Religion" as merely a myth and magic, that is, bad science . . . . But is religion merely bad—hasty, poetical, superstitious—science? I should say religions (because each religion seems rather irreligious to the others) often had at least two important ingredients besides magic and myth. They were the intellectual and ritual expression of a particular ethos, nationality, or civilization; and they were forms of "spiritual life". Now I like very much what you say about science, if it became a religion, losing all its scientific virtue. A philosophy more or less inspired by science, like Epicureanism or Stocism, may be a religion, or a substitute for religion: it may sanction a particular morality, and it may be refined into a form of spiritual life—I mean, into a great life-long dialogue between God and the soul of man. But science, as you conceive science—á la Dewey—is only experiment and invention; it is not a philosophy: and if any speculative ideas more or less illegitimately associated with it were set up as eternal truths, science would cease to be science to become bigotry. One of the happy, if somewhat disconcerting, discoveries of our—or my—later years has been precisely this: that science is intellectually blind and dumb, and that you may be a leading scientific expert without knowing what you think on any important question. It seems to me, therefore, that you ought not to pit "religion" and "science" so squarely against each other, as if they were rivals in the same field. A scientific philosophy might be a rival, or an ally, of certain religious philosophies; but what chiefly attaches mankind to its religions is precisely the need of completing their traditional ethos, and their spontaneous spiritual life, with an appropriate speculative doctrine: and science is dumb on that subject and, in its scientific domain, ought to be dumb. Perhaps this explains in part why, in spite of you and Voltaire, religions still exist in the world.

Letters 4:296 to 4:297 (To Horace Meyer Kallen, Rome, November 20, 1931) [#351 1931]

From Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews

[E]xistence is a miracle, and, morally considered, a free gift from moment to moment.

Buchler's Obiter at 284 (Ultimate Religion) [#380 1933]

From Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy: Five Essays

In the cognisance which an animal may take of his surroundings—and surely all animals take such cognisance—the subjective and moral character of his feelings, on finding himself so surrounded, does not destroy their cognitive value. These feelings, as Locke says, are signs: to take them for signs is the essence of intelligence.

Turns of Thought at 10 (Locke and the Frontiers of Common Sense) [#471 1933]

From Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy: Five Essays

All philosophies are frail, in that they are products of the human mind, in which everything is essentially reactive, spontaneous, and volatile: but as in passion and in language, so in philosophy, there are certain comparatively steady and hereditary principles, forming a sort of orthodox reason, which is or which may become the current grammar of mankind.

Turns of Thought at 23 (Locke and the Frontiers of Common Sense) [#771 1933]

From Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy: Five Essays

Even that spark of divine intelligence which comes into the animal soul, as Aristotle says, from beyond the gates, comes and is called down by the exigencies of physical life. An animal endowed with locomotion cannot merely feast sensuously on things as they appear, but must react upon them at the first signal, and in so doing must virtually and in intent envisage them as they are in themselves. For it is by virtue of their real constitution and intrinsic energy that they act upon us and suffer change in turn at our hands; so that whatsoever form things may take to our senses and intellect, they take that form by exerting their material powers upon us, and intertwining them in action with our own organisms.

Thus the appearance of things is always, in some measure, a true index to their reality.

Turns of Thought at 36-37 (Locke and the Frontiers of Common Sense) [#472 1933]

From Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy: Five Essays

The self which acts in a man is itself moved by forces which have long been familiar to common sense, without being understood except dramatically. These forces are called the passions; or when the dramatic units distinguished are longish strands rather than striking episodes, they are called temperament, character, or will; or perhaps, weaving all these strands and episodes together again into one moral fabric, we call them simply human nature.

Turns of Thought at 39 (Locke and the Frontiers of Common Sense) [#772 1933]

From Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy: Five Essays

Experience cannot be in itself an object of science, because it is essentially invisible, immeasurable, fugitive, and private . . . .

Turns of Thought at 46 (Locke and the Frontiers of Common Sense) [#769 1933]

From Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy: Five Essays

All modern philosophy, in so far as it is a description of experience and not of nature, therefore seems to belong to the sphere of literature, and to be without scientific value.

Turns of Thought at 47 (Locke and the Frontiers of Common Sense) [#770 1933]

From The Letters of George Santayana

You revert to the idea of a contradiction or conflict in my mind between MacS. and Van T. Please let me repeat that, to my feeling, it is only a shift in attention or interest, not a doubt at all about doctrine. If you take the political moral point of view, and shout for your side in the football match, you are MacS. If you consider the place of shouting and football in the universe, you are Van T. The latter is therefore the deeper philosopher: yet the former is the more radical and ineradicable man, because man is an animal before he is a spirit, and can be a spirit only because he is alive, i.e. an animal. The nature of the human animal, however, is to be intelligent, to be speculative; and hence the vocation to transcend the conditions of his existence in his thought and worship.

Letters 5:29 (To George Washburne Howgate, Rome, May 31, 1933) [#651 1933]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[C]ommon-sense knowledge is virtual knowledge, virtually true. This is another word for symbolic and symbolical, but perhaps less mysterious and not so cryptical in sound.

Letters 5:59 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, November 13, 1933) [#474 1933]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[This expression you have chosen] is a verbal picturesqueness without real intuitions behind it. . . . [And your notion of "human experience" is another] case where direct intuition is needed. One must see what one is talking about.

Letters 4:77 to 4:78 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, January 20, 1934) [#111 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[T]he constitutional uselessness of the mental side of things is another point important in my view, but perhaps better left alone.

Letters 5:84 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, February 2, 1934) [#434 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

"Subsistence" is a particularly dangerous and cowardly word: it assimilates essences to facts or to truths, giving them a sort of cosmic status, like the Logos; which is too much and too little. Too much, because essences are then hypostasized, or half hypostasized: too little, because they are not recognized to be independent of and prior to existence or to the actual, quite contingent, structure of the world.

Letters 5:88 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, February 24, 1934) [#88 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I don't think Englishmen are inclined to think, unless there is something wrong with them; the good and happy ones don't think at all; they merely feel the pleasant eloquence and practical import of language. They can be great poets and sailors (not generals!) but they are lost in philosophy; and only the small cranky minds among them take to philosophy hard.

Letters 5:88 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, February 24, 1934) [#764 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

That Locke, and even more Hume, were twittering on the verge of the discrimination of essence is perfectly obvious. So are all idealists. [There is a book by Father Maloney containing] a phrase of Locke's to the effect that in comparing "hot" and "round", or any such "ideas" and seeing their essential relations, we are comparing "existents". Now that is the position of Loveyjoy, etc, to this day. And of course there is an existent event before us, a commotion in the brain; but that this existent has for its essence the "round" or "hot" which is given to intuition is simply false; and there is no reason, in the order of genesis, why the existent object or cause should have that given essence. But the gnostic presumption comes from starting with experience, or rather with introspection, and assuming that the world must be decked out in those sensuous or verbal or grammatical or moral terms in which we feel the world: which is true of the poetic world, of myth, but not of the physical world, of commerce, surgery, and science.

Letters 5:92 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, March 19, 1934) [#475 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[Taking "idea" often to mean "essence"] clears up Locke's confusions, so to speak, upwards; but there remain the confusions downwards, towards biology. Locke was a psychologist, as much as a critic of knowledge: used psychology as an instrument in criticism; and he felt he knew perfectly the origin of ideas, namely, that they arose by contact of the human body with material things. This was the original meaning of "experience". Had Locke stuck to this presupposition of common sense, he would have restored tradition downwards as well as upwards, and retained an "orthodox" system entirely different from that developed by his followers almost exclusively out of his errors and ambiguities.

Letters 5:95 to 5:96 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, March 25, 1934) [#773 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

There remains an ambiguity [in your essay], I think, about space and time, and you acknowledge it. The properties of a portion of physical space and time constitute a physical substance: but pictorial space and sentimental time have no properties, only qualities. They are essences.

Letters 5:100 (To Curt John Ducasse, Rome, April 8, 1934) [#68 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

As I say in that little book [The Genteel Tradition at Bay], I think the Platonic-Christian theology necessary to defend the moralistic position. Kant and the German idealists can't do it, because their position, though subjective, is not humanistic; and the absolute self may turn pantheist or even materialist, or in the other direction, perfectly anarchical, as in Nietzsche. But that theology seems to me an evident fiction, made to defend a moralistic prejudice.

Letters 5:107 (To Stuart Gerry Brown, Rome, May 14, 1934) [#219 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I seem to see three distinct strains [in your system]. 1st Conceptual dogmatism . . . both in your demand for intuitive, not merely practical and symbolic knowledge of substance, and in your absolute determinism . . . .

Letters 5:109 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Rome, May 20, 1934) [#476 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Of course, a materialist doesn't make any bones of a complex organ having a simple function, (a trope, or something in the realm of truth) and thinks it natural, that that function should be raised to an actual unity in sensation or consciousness. The point [in weighing your system] is whether this actual entelechy, consciousness, would be better understood if we supposed the organ to be composed sentient elements.

Letters 5:112 to 5:113 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Rome, June 3, 1934) [#314 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[A]lthough you say I am an extreme conservative, that is true only in the sense that I utterly repudiate liberal claims and maxims, which make events turn on ideas, opinions, votes, majorities, and disembodied moral power. These things may be called powers in virtue of the material agencies and tendencies expressed in them—usually very ill-expressed: but in themselves they are powerless. This sort of conservatism is identical with my materialism, not merely compatible with it. I am not a conservative in the sense of being afraid of revolutions, like Hobbes, or thinking order, in the sense of peace, the highest good; and I am not at all attached to things as they are, or as they were in my youth. But I love order in the sense of organized, harmonious, consecrated living: and for this reason I sympathize with the Soviets and the Fascists and the Catholics, but not at all with the liberals.

Letters 5:116 (To Sydney Hook, Rome, June 8, 1934) [#629 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Matter can't exist without form, and its form gives definition to its powers: but matter flows through these forms which are not magic bodiless forces magnetizing it from outside: they are the forms it has assumed in flowing. That, to my mind, is the essence of materialism. As for consciousness, it is a hypostasis of some of these forms, a "second entelechy", doubly dependent.

Letters 5:117 (To Sidney Hook, Rome, June 8, 1934) [#208 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[Catholic philosophy-books] have improved immensely of late in their knowledge and understanding of modern views: not so much in their historical criticism, e.g. of Aristotle, Plato, & the Neo-Platonists. They are therefore able to present and defend common-sense—which is what Scholasticism is, apart from the theology—in an enlightened way.

Letters 5:122 to 5:123 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Fiesole, June 25, 1934) [#224 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Not so superior as Descartes [is Heidegger], I grant: there you have a first rate man. Locke, and all the English, aren't better than third rate: but they had a political-revolutionary current to carry them and make them important.

Letters 5:137 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Venice, October 3, 1934) [#780 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

If there were more intellectual retreats there would be more intellectual power. The mediocrity of everything in the great world of today is simply appalling. We live in intellectual slums.

Letters 5:148 (To Victor Wolfgang von Hagen, Rome, November 6, 1934) [#167 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I am not yet sure what these archetypal patterns are [in your poetry]: I mean, what they are ontologically. Everything in my old-fashioned mind seems to be covered by what was called "human nature" and "the passions." We are all much alike in our capacities for feeling, as in our bodily structure. The doctors find, almost always, every organic detail in each of us exactly in its allotted place; and so the various sensuous phenomena that strike the imagination are bathed in each of us in exactly similar emotions.

Letters 5:155 (To Amy Maud Bodkin, Rome, November 22, 1934) [#548 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Locke says nobody can have knowledge of the taste of a pineapple unless he has eaten one . . . . It is the effect on the psyche that is a fact in nature, particular, and occupying its point in the physical space and time. The feeling or intuition is the spiritual or intellectual overtone of that total effect; but it has not itself for its object: its object is the pineapple or the act of eating it, with the whole effect of that on the organism: but the essence evoked is nowhere: it is a moral term. In spite of Locke, an organism might perfectly well evoke the flavour of the pineapple by chemical metabolism, even if no pineapple had ever existed.

Letters 5:168 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Rome, December 27, 1934) [#173 1934]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I haven't evolved, except as I was involved: and almost the only point at which you seem to misrepresent a little the truth of my history is in saying I was "converted" to naturalism. No: it was not a conversion, but a decision. Both views had always been before me: I had hesitated or oscillated: but gradually it became impossible for me steadily to hold the Catholic position: the history and psychology of it, in the other picture, shone through; as if, through a too-thin back-drop at the theatre, I had seen the ropes and scaffolding of the stage, the scene-shifters hurrying about in their shirtsleeves, and the prima donna in her green-room, putting on the rouge.

Letters 5:174 (To Frederick Champion Ward, Rome, January 26, 1935) [#730 1935]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[It is as if both you and John Locke] regarded the originality of mind and the human scale of sensuous images as required for the mechanical adjustment and utility of these images and minds in the midst of action. That needs clearing up: consider dreams, poetry, the syntax of language. Mind everywhere is only an illustration to the running text; it is not useful images that are created (how should they have been known to be useful, or even aposite, before they were thought of?) but useful summary reactions or affections of the organism create images, like smells, vaguely reporting to consciousness the turn of affairs and apposite because they occur then. However, this question of the epiphenomenal level and poetic function of all mind, doesn't come within your direct subject, and it is my own preoccupation with it that raises it inopportunately, like a ghost in the daytime.

Letters 5:195 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, May 28, 1935) [#435 1935]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[F]eeling for me is an instance of consciousness, not a basis for consciousness; the basis being large-scale biological processes, having a moral or dramatic character in material life that I make the ground of consciousness or spirit. Tropes, belonging to the Realm of Truth, intervene between unconscious organic processes and moral or intellectual awakenings . . . . In a word, my notion of the relation of mind to body remains Aristotelian, as it has always been. Spirit is the second (actualized) entelechy of natural organic life in an animal . . . .

Letters 5:238 to 5:239 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Venice, September 24, 1935) [#315 1935]

From The Letters of George Santayana

As I now plan the book, the first chapter will be about definitions and the uses of terms: and I distinguish carefully the connotation of "consciousness" (the pensée of Descartes) from "Spirit", the latter having a moral bias and a personal history, which mere "consciousness" does not involve: and there is a discussion also of the term "mind", and of the other uses of "Spirit", not adopted by me. Then in the second chapter there will be an account of the origin or genesis of spirit, its basis being the life of the psyche, i.e. physical life; and of the (purely spiritual) originality and novelty of spirit. [F]eeling for me is an instance of consciousness, not a basis for consciousness; the basis being large-scale biological processes, having a moral or dramatic character; and it is the moral or dramatic character in material life that I make the ground of consciousness or spirit. Tropes, belonging to the Realm of Truth, intervene between unconscious organic processes and moral or intellectual awakenings . . . . In a word, my notion of the relation of mind to body remains Aristotelian, as it has always been. Spirit is the second (actualized) entelechy of natural organic life in an animal . . . .

Letters 5:238 to 5:239 (To Charles Augustus Strong, Venice, September 24, 1935) [#400 1935]

From The Letters of George Santayana

For the moment I have dropped back [from my work on the Realm of Spirit] to the Realm of Truth, finding that I needed to work out the relation of truth to determination of events, especially of futures, before I could make clear the sort of "freedom" that is inherent in spirit. Perhaps the two books will be finished together, if they are ever finished.

Letters 5:261 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, November 25, 1935) [#316 1935]

From The Birth of Reason & Other Essays

[Russell asserts] that substance is a notion derived from syntax, the implication being that grammar is the only source of that notion, and that the structure of language is not based on the structure of things. I suppose human discriminations are indeed no index to the total contents of the universe or its total form, or to the infinitesimal texture of matter. Only human reactions to gross objects on the human scale are likely to be transcribed into human grammar. Such reactions might suggest the distinction and connection between subject and predicate; because an object like an apple, known to be one by its movements under manipulation, may be indicated by several different sensations of sight, smell, and taste; indications which language then treats as attributes of the apple. But this grammatical usage is very far from being the sole occasion for the category of substance. Objects suffer transformation, and there is a notorious continuity and limitation in the quantity, quality, and force of their variations. So much grain yields so much flour, and of such a kind; this flour yields so much bread; this bread keeps alive so much muscle and blood, and so many eyes capable of looking and seeing coloured patches. The matter or energy which can suffer these mutations and insure their continuity is their common substance.

Cory's Birth of Reason at 127-128 (Bertrand Russell's Searchlight) [#717 1936]

From The Letters of George Santayana

The spirit is an animal function, if we consider its basis and its fate, but it is a divine faculty in its allegiance, having all truth and all existence for its object, and seeing everything necessarily under the form of eternity. It therefore regards its incarnation as ignominious and protests against all the natural passions and partialities to which it is subject. But this protest is perfectly vain and hopeless. Spirit is rooted in the flesh, and these rebellions on its part merely derange without emancipating it. The solution would be a sort of Epicureanism: yet spirit itself distrusts and despises such a self-subordination; so that the conflict remains perennial and the end, for most high spirits, is tragic.

Letters 5:281 (To Gorham Bert Munson, Rome, January 25, 1936) [#401 1936]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Some letters from strangers, however, are fresher and more genuine. For instance, a man named Hamilton Basso writes from North Carolina that he "has never read so wise and lovely and witty a book." I like the choice of those three adjectives: the fun, especially seems to have been missed by most readers. For me it is everything, or at least the sauce without which the rest wouldn't go down.

Letters 5:302 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, February 24, 1936) [#166 1936]

From The Letters of George Santayana

But in any case, [spiritual freedom] has nothing to do with the physical question of determinism or indeterminism in the genesis of events. Even "moral freedom" has nothing to do with it. Facing the matter afresh, I should say this: Existence being contingent intrinsically, the character of any event cannot be determined logically by that of previous events: every fact then is a part of the original groundless fact of existence. Yet any degree of regularity may be discovered in the ways of nature; and only in the measure in which such regularity exists is any science or prudence possible.

Letters 5:303 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, February 24, 1936) [#379 1936]

From The Letters of George Santayana

But in any case, [spiritual freedom] has nothing to do with the physical question of determinism or indeterminism in the genesis of events. Even 'moral freedom' has nothing to do with it. Facing the matter afresh, I should say this: Existence being contingent intrinsically, the character of any event cannot be determined logically by that of previous events: every fact then is a part of the original groundless fact of existence. Yet any degree of regularity may be discovered in the ways of nature; and only in the measure in which such regularity exists is any science or prudence possible. Turning now to 'moral freedom,' I should say that was relative to the psyche. When we can act and grow as our nature demands, we are morally free. When things or people or fatal commitments impede us, we are morally constrained, and not morally free agents. And 'spiritual freedom,' if distinguished from moral freedom, would mean liberation from all allegiance to what is private to each psyche, and love in perfect sympathy with the truth. Moral freedom is freedom from others, spiritual freedom is freedom from oneself.

Letters 5:303 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, February 24, 1936) [#680 1936]

From The Letters of George Santayana

In substance I agree with Scholastic analysis, but need other terms, so as to state the matter without the Socratic-Aristotelian presuppositions in general philosophy which imply a conceptual structure in the world and a limited number of standard genera and species, and universals generally for the intellect to recognize. That is why "intuition," in my statements would take the place of both sense and intellect, in so far as these are actually realised in consciousness; while "intent" would take the place of I don’t know exactly what assurance that the object faced not only exists but possesses in itself . . . the qualities given in perception. . . . I think all consciousness is intellectual: the sub-intellectual flux is purely material and only potentially conscious. . . .

At the end you seem to be sorry that, having reduced idealism sceptically to absurdity, I shouldn't simply go back to the conventions from which the idealists started. Those conventions, as stated by the Scholastics, are contrary to naturalism: that is why they led to idealism as criticism was applied to them. I have tried to profit by that experience and to state commonsense beliefs with more circumspection, so as not to be forced to abandon them by the treacherous elements of grammar and moralism which the Socratic School introduced into philosophy.

Letters 5:316 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, April 1, 1936) [#215 1936]

From The Letters of George Santayana

In substance I agree with the Scholastic analysis, but need other terms, so as to state the matter without the Socratic-Aristotelian presuppositions in general philosophy which imply a conceptual structure in the world and a limited number of standard genera and species, and universals generally for the intellect to recognize. That is why "intuition", in my statements would take the place of both sense and intellect, in so far as these are actually realized in consciousness; while "intent" would take the place of I don't know exactly what assurance that the object faced not only exists but possesses in itself . . . the qualities given in perception. . . .

At the end [of your article] you seem to be sorry that, having reduced idealism sceptically to absurdity, I shouldn't simply go back to the conventions from which the idealists started. Those conventions, as stated by the Scholastics, are contrary to naturalism: that is why they led to idealism as soon as criticism was applied to them. I have tried to profit by that experience and to state commonsense belief with more circumspection, so as not to be forced to abandon them by the treacherous elements of grammar and moralism which the Socratic School introduced into philosophy.

Letters 5:316 to 5:317 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, April 1, 1936) [#712 1936]

From The Letters of George Santayana

We see visible things, the material objects by which sight is aroused. But I am a critic, a sceptic; and I can't help seeing that, for the spirit, this is a strange commitment: virtually truly, because spirit is incarnate; but logically and morally distracting, because it fills spirit with presumption and care, as do all animal passions. Now natural knowledge is an animal passion . . .; it truly reveals to the spirit the extraordinary fact that it is incarnate, and that an alien material world actually surrounds it. . . .

Letters 5:326 to 5:327 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, April 25, 1936) [#402 1936]

From The Letters of George Santayana

What people . . . dislike is not so much the materialism or ontology slipped under the life of reason, as the 'spiritual life' supposed to be substituted for it in my estimation.

That is a complete misconception. No doubt when I wrote The Life of Reason I was taken up with rational ethics and interested (as I still am) in the theory of government and the pro's and con's of religious institutions. But I never thought of life in society, or of moral economy, as the obligatory or only worthy life. I am not a dogmatist in ethics. In so far as we legislate, and arrange things for mankind at large, of course we must do so rationally, with as fair a regard as possible for all the interests concerned. But these interests change and fade into infinity, and the art of government or education must, in practice, be rather empirical and haphazard. The best results, like the worst, will be unforeseen. Meantime actual life in each creature has its exquisite or terrible immediate reality. It is a spiritual life. It is spiritual in children as easily as in anchorites. This is not a substitute for the life of reason, but the cream or concomitant ultimate actuality of what the organized life of reason produces in consciousness. Of course, in so far as a man's thoughts are absorbed in instrumentalities, in business or politics or war or jollification, we do not call his experience spiritual: but those very actions might be food for a spiritual life if a recollected and mystical man performed them: so that the rationality of his life and its spirituality might be called two concomitant dimensions of it, the one lateral and the other vertical. The vertical or spiritual dimension is what inward religion has always added to life in the world, or in the cloister, which is a part of the world: that element may be more or less emphatic or genuine, according to a man's temperament or experience, but it is always an element, optional, private, like the love of music or like love at large. The legislator may salute it, he cannot contract to produce it.

Letters 5:354 to 5:355 (To Justus Buchler, Paris, July 1, 1936) [#652 1936]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

[W]e are much deeper and more deeply bound to physical reality than our wayward thoughts and wishes might suggest. The potential, in an organic being developing through time, is necessarily richer and more important than the actual. The actual is superficial, occasional, ephemeral; present will and present consciousness are never the true self.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 25 (A General Confession) [#523 1936]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Liberalism is still fanaticism watered down. It hates the natural passions and spontaneous organization of mankind; hates tradition, religion, and patriotism: not because it sees the element of illusion inseparable from these things, but because it has a superficial affection for a certain type of comfortable, safe, irresponsible existence, proper to the second generation of classes enriched by commerce: and this pleasant ideal, it expects to impose on all race and all ages for ever. That is an egregious silliness, which cannot be long-lived.

Letters 6:30 to 6:31 (To David Page, Rome, May 3, 1937) [#630 1937]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Self-consciousness, fussiness, scruples, effort, etc., are signs of imperfect organisation in the psyche: she has to try hard, hesitates, interferes with herself, and misses. All this is slavery and distraction for the spirit. Spirit appears at golf or billiards, not by inopportunely thinking of what you ought to do, but in feeling fit, having a premonition of a happy stroke, and then the happy perception of the thing done. Spirit is not a power, it cannot interfere with anything; and it can be distracted and interfered with by the world not materially, since spirit is immaterial, but only by having its basis in the psyche disturbed and inhibited: which is just what happens when we are rattled. You will see eventually (I hope) that what I mean by "the world" is the substitution of means for ends in living, the pressure of custom, ambition, conceit, pedantry, pride, and all the other unhappy things that drive us to profitless labour. . . . The free and happy art of the thing is what would evoke spirit spontaneously and perfectly, as far as the psychic faculty could evoke it.

Letters 6:70 to 6:71 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory , Cortina d’Ampezzo, September 4, 1937) [#653 1937]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I am also in doubt about "social humanism" being implicit in my physics. Materialism may, psychologically, be allied in the materialist's mind with one or another view in ethics and politics. That will depend, if materialism is true, on the man's heritage and circumstances. In that sense I entirely accept historical materialism, which is only an application of materialism to history. But the phrase carries now an association with Hegelian or Marxian dialectic, which if meant to be more than the doctrine of universal flux, is a denial of materialism. My personal sympathies are personal, and of no ultimate importance: what is implied in my natural philosophy is that all moralities and inspirations are natural, biological, animal preferences or obsessions, changing and passing with the organisms and habits that gave them birth. That is not the Catholic doctrine, which you say I represent; but it is quite compatible with liking Catholic ways, considered as a form of human society and human imagination. Yet even there, I prefer the Greeks.

Letters 6:76 (To Harry Slochower, Rome, September 18, 1937) [#731 1937]

From The Letters of George Santayana

But I remember and have often used in my own thoughts, if not in actual writing, a classification he [Charles Sanders Peirce] made that evening of signs into indexes and symbols and images: possibly there was still another distinct category which I don't remember. The index changes with its object but does not resemble it; the symbol resembles the object loosely and by analogy.

Letters 6:80 (To Justus Buchler, Rome, October 15, 1937) [#477 1937]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

That is all my message: that morality and religion are expressions of human nature; that human nature is a biological growth; and finally that spirit, fascinated and tortured, is involved in the process, and asks to be saved.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 23 (A General Confession) [#552 1937]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

What from the moral point of view we call the instruments of reason are primarily the ground and cause of reason: and reason can control matter only because reason is matter organised, and assuming a form at once distinctive, plastic, and opportune. Unity of direction is thus imposed on our impulses; the impulses remain and continue to work and to take themselves most seriously; things tempt and hurt us as much as ever. Yet this very synthesis imposed upon the passions has brought steadiness and scope into the mind. The passions seem less absolute than before: we see them in a more tragic or comic light; and we see that even our noble and civilised life of reason is bought at a price. As there were wild animal joys that it has banished, so there may be divine insights that it cannot heed.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 24 (A General Confession) [#76 1937]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

What from the moral point of view we call the instruments of reason are primarily the ground and cause of reason: and reason can control matter only because reason is matter organised, and assuming a form at once distinctive, plastic, and opportune. Unity of direction is thus imposed on our impulses; the impulses remain and continue to work and to take themselves most seriously; things tempt and hurt us as much as ever. Yet this very synthesis imposed upon the passions has brought steadiness and scope into the mind. The passions seem less absolute than before: we see them in a more tragic or comic light; and we see that even our noble and civilised life of reason is bought at a price. As there were wild animal joys that it has banished, so there may be divine insights that it cannot heed.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 24 (A General Confession) [#662 1937]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

This foothold was supplied to me by human nature . . . . There is nothing unalterably fixed in this moral physiognomy of man, any more than in his bodily structure; but both are sufficiently recognisable and constant for the purposes of medicine and politics. The point of chief speculative interest is that morality, like health, is determined by the existing constitution of our animal nature, and the opportunities or denials that materially confront us; so that we are much deeper and more deeply bound to physical reality than our wayward thoughts and wishes might suggest. The potential, in an organic being developing through time, is necessarily richer and more important than the actual. The actual is superficial, occasional, ephemeral; present will and present consciousness are never the true self. They are phenomena elicited by circumstances from a psyche that remains largely unexpressed. Yet this psyche, this inherited nature or seed, flowers in those manifestations, filling them as they pass with beauty and passion: and nothing will be moral or personal in ideas except what they borrow by a secret circulation from the enduring heart. There, and not in any superstitious precepts, lies the root of duty and the criterion of perfection.

In saying this I am far from wishing to attribute a metaphysical fixity or unity to the psyche . . . .

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 25 (A General Confession) [#553 1937]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

In my later writings I speak of something called the spiritual life; of a certain disintoxication clarifying those passions which the life of reason endeavours to harmonise. . . . Spirit and reason, as I use the words, spring from the same root in organic life . . . . But intelligence and reason are often merely potential, as in habit memory, institutions, and books: they become spirit only when they flower into actual consciousness. . . .

Between the spiritual life and the life of reason there is accordingly no contradiction: they are concomitant: yet there is a difference of temper and level, as there is between agriculture and music. . . .

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 26-27 (A General Confession) [#648 1937]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Without being attached to any traditional system, even in philosophy, I naturally live in the presence of human creations (and ruins) of all sorts, and I try to understand what they mean and to do them justice, not by reviewing them in a list of opinions, for a text-book, but by living as much as possible in their presence. For instance, the point you labour so much about the compatibility or otherwise of the L. of R. and the spiritual life has been solved ages ago by the Catholic Church. There are the commandments for every body, and there are the evangelical counsels for those having a special vocation, (such as turning the other cheek). Pacifism, asceticsm, mysticism are thus allowed and honoured without disallowing the L. of R. for the world at large.

Letters 6:129 to 6:130 (To Milton Karl Munitz, Rome, May 2, 1938) [#654 1938]

From The Letters of George Santayana

My brother, too, once observed that there was nothing that I should hesitate to do, if I thought I could avoid unpleasant consequences. This was true, if he meant nothing that I wished to do: but the essence of morality, at least of the Greek constitutional sort, is not to wish to do what is unbecoming in one’s station.

Letters 6:137 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, May 25, 1938) [#145 1938]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I had never heard of Cardozo before (I live out of the world), but I knew Judge Holmes well, and I need not say that I sympathize with the desire to humanize the administration of justice. But neither of those jurists, nor even you in your comments, satisfy me on what seems to me the crucial point, skirted on p. 115. What is the highest good of society? This is a question of political ideals. . . . Now what 'ideology' guides Cardozo in determining the direction in which his conscience shall exercise a gentle pressure upon the law? I can find nothing more definite than 'The social mind' or 'cherished social ideals.' Something psychological, then, or prevalent sentiment or opinion? Or something biological or anthropological, the actual tendency which manners and morals show in their evolution? . . . . [P]ragmatism, like empiricism, is a most ambiguous thing. They may mean testing ideas by experiment, by an appeal to the object or physical fact, which in ethics would be human nature with it's physical potentialities of achievement and happiness. On the other hand, empiricism and pragmatism may mean accepting every idea as an ultimate fact and absolute standard for itself, and in practice deciding everything by vote, by sentiment, or by the actual prevalence of one idea over another. In this second direction lies softness, anarchy, and dissolution.

Letters 6:151 (To Beryl Harold Levy , Cortina d'Ampezzo, August 8, 1938) [#616 1938]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[P]ragmatism, like empiricism, is a most ambiguous thing. They may mean testing ideas by experiment, by an appeal to the object or physical fact, which in ethics would be human nature with it's physical potentialities of achievement and happiness. On the other hand, empiricism and pragmatism may mean accepting every idea as an ultimate fact and absolute standard for itself, and in practice deciding everything by vote, by sentiment, or by the actual prevalence of one idea over another. In this second direction lies softness, anarchy, and dissolution.

Letters 6:151 (To Beryl Harold Levy, Cortina d'Ampezzo, August 8, 1938) [#550 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

Nevertheless, it is the business of philosophers, in using the categories of common sense—as they must if they are to be consistent and intelligible—incidentally to criticize and to reform them. The category of truth in particular has been lately subjected to rough usage: and those who live in the thick of contemporary controversies, particularly in America, may well ask me, with a certain irritation, what on earth I can mean by truth.

Truth at v (Preface) [#297 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

The question does not arise whether mathematical judgments are analytic or synthetic. Psychologically all judgments and all intuitions of the complex are synthetic, because the terms given are distinguished and compared in thought. But if the judgments are necessary, they must be analytical logically, i.e., founded on the nature of the terms.

Truth at 2 note 1 (There Are No Necessary Truths) [#26 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

Philosophy has too long been pedagogical, and the best schooldays are half-holidays. If liberty has opened a window for us towards the infinite realm of essence, it has not authorized us to regard the prospect visible to us there as the truth about nature. Much less are we authorized to set up our visions as moral standards to which things ought to conform. The order of subordination is the opposite one. Nature being what she is, and we being in consequence what we are, certain special reaches of essence are obvious to our senses and intellect. Sights and sounds, pains and pleasures assail us; and our leisure is free to develop in music and language, in mathematics and religion, the moral burden of our animal existence. Nor will this play of ideas be sheer truancy. Our toys may become instruments, our sensations signs; and a part of the truth about nature and about ourselves will be necessarily revealed to us, directly or indirectly, by the mere existence and sequence of those apparitions. Directly, in emotion, perception, and dramatic sympathy, we may learn to know the human world, the world of images, morals, and literature: and indirectly, in close connection with the flow of sensation, we may learn to posit permanent objects and to pick our way among them to good purpose, as a child finds his way home.

Truth at 29-30 (Interplay Between Truth and Logic) [#352 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

Logic is a refined form of grammar.

Truth at 33 (Psychological Approaches to Truth) [#56 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

Hence the quarrel between the humanities and science; in which science evidently represents the interests of truth. If the problem were scientific, we should have to consider that science also is human, that neither in texture nor in scope can science be identified with the truth: and that the humanities too convey poetical information about historical matters. But the real problem is moral; and even if science presented the truth more honestly than the humanities, we should still have to ask whether these scientific truths were the most important, and even whether the knowledge of truth is the ultimate goal or good of mind. Frankly, it is not, when the mind is free. Spirit is the entelechy or ultimate fruit of life and not a material instrument or means to action . . . . But such poetic freedom in thinking is premature, and even criminal, when the psyche is living at cross-purposes with the possibilities of life. Health must be established first and organized securely; and then the range and balance of spiritual interests may be left for free genius to determine.

. . . . The office of matter is precisely to breed mind and to feed it . . . .

Truth at 34-35 (Psychological Approaches to Truth) [#509 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

Better than idly mirroring nature in mind (if it were possible to do so) is to impose an ideal measure upon fluid things, and this not arbitrarily or insignificantly: for the very dependence of spirit, which might seem to condemn it to futility, renders it an index to deeper realities and an organ of truth. . . . The very existence of fiction endows fiction with a native relevance to truth.

Truth at 36 (Psychological Approaches to Truth) [#478 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

Mind, without copying or limiting truth, naturally and poetically conforms to it.

Truth at 37 margin note (Psychological Approaches to Truth) [#479 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

We have seen that the truth, as I take the word, is subservient to existence: it is ontologically secondary and true of something else.

Truth at 39 (Radiation of Truth) [#330 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

Now as truth, although in itself only a field of essence . . . .

Truth at 40 (Radiation of Truth) [#331 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

The empirical relations which an opinion, by the action it comports, may have in the world have nothing to do with its truth. If an "idea" is useful, it is useful, not true; and if an idea is beautiful or comforting, it is not therefore true, but comforting only or beautiful; and if an idea, perhaps an illusion, is harmonious with another idea, the two are harmonious, and both together may be a worse illusion than each of them was separately. Nor would perfect coherence in ideas, in the longest of dreams, make the dream true; although if it contained intelligent mutual descriptions of one part of it by another part, those parts would indeed report a part of the truth about one another. Yet the total truth about that dream, as some parts of it might perhaps perceive, would be that it was a dream and all sheer illusion. To reduce truth to coherence is to deny truth, and to usurp the name for a certain comfort and self-complacency in mere thinking.

Truth at 42-43 (Radiation of Truth) [#720 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

If spirit were not incarnate, if it had no bodily organ, if in consequence it were not domiciled in the material and temporal world so that certain things did not press upon it and trouble it more than others, if in a word it had not object but the realm of essence, then truth would not need to enter into its thoughts.

Truth at 44 (Radiation of Truth) [#403 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

But the realms of truth and of essence are in quite another case. . . . They are proposed as conceptual distinctions and categories of logic; as one of many languages in which the nature of things may be described. Anyone who wishes is free to discard these categories and employ others. The only question will be how he will get on; what sort of intellectual dominion and intellectual life he will achieve; also whether he will really be using other categories in his spontaneous and successful contacts with the world, or only a different jargon in his professional philosophy. Professional philosophies, sincere and even impassioned enough in controversy, are often but poor hypocrisies in daily life.

Truth at 47 (Radiation of Truth) [#298 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

An animal vision of the universe is, in one sense, never false: it is rooted in the nature of that animal, aroused to consciousness by the circumstances of the moment . . . . It is true enough to be false, and to require correction. For the whole view of mind characteristic of modern philosophy, that mind is a train of self-existent feelings or ideas, is itself false. Mind is spirit; a wakefulness or attention or moral tension aroused in animals by the stress of life: and the prerequisite to the appearance of any feeling or idea is that the animal should be alive and awake, attentive, that is, to what is happening, has happened, or is about to happen: so that it belongs to the essence of discoverable existence, as a contemporary philosophy has it, 'to-be-in-the-world'.

Truth at 50-51 (Conventional Truth) [#696 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

Our ideas are accordingly only subjective signs, while we think them objective qualities; and the whole warp and woof of our knowledge is rhetorical while we think it physically existent and constitutive of the world.

. . . .

. . . . What is there wrong or paradoxical in the fact that the sensations and reactions of an animal must express directly his own nature, and only indirectly the nature of the forces affecting him? . . . . There is accordingly something urgent about truth in our ideas, and something dangerous and ignominious in their falseness. But such urgency and danger touch not the inner rhetoric of thought, but only its practical symbolism, and the concomitant action. We must not be misled; there is no likelihood and no need that, in a miraculous sense, imagination should be clairvoyant.

Truth at 52-53 (Conventional Truth) [#480 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

Hence the absence of a need or a passion in one phase of life cannot be taken for an argument that such a need or passion is false or wicked elsewhere. The contrary assumption is the root of much idle censoriousness and injustice in moralists, who are probably old men, and sapless even in youth, all their zeal being about phrases and maxims that run in their heads and desiccate the rest of their spirit.

Truth at 75-76 (Moral Truth) [#704 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

Hence the absence of a need or a passion in one phase of life cannot be taken for an argument that such a need or passion is false or wicked elsewhere. The contrary assumption is the root of much idle censoriousness and injustice in moralists, who are probably old men, and sapless even in youth, all their zeal being about phrases and maxims that run in their heads and desiccate the rest of their spirit.

Truth at 75-76 (Moral Truth) [#580 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

Perception is definable as a sensation turned into knowledge of its ground, that is, of its present occasion.

Truth at 90 (Cognition of the Future) [#66 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

Within the fanatical defence of vested illusions there may be a sacrificial respect for things beyond us, whatever those secret realities may be; and the martyr that on earth is ready to die for some false opinion may be judged in heaven to have died for the truth. The very absurdity of a tenet, or its groundlessness, at least proves that imagination is at work, and groping for an issue from animal darkness. At least the category of truth has been set up. Appearances, innocent and perfectly real in themselves, have begun to be questioned and discounted as deceptive; and this not merely against the blank background of a posited substance, known only as a force, but in contrast to a possible and more adequate description of that substance and of the manner in which it produces appearances. Intelligence has begun the pursuit of truth.

Truth at 109-110 (Love and Hatred of Truth) [#332 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

Matter in any one of its moments and in any one of its atoms offers no foothold for consciousness: but let certain tropes and cycles be established in the movement of matter, let certain kinds of matter cohere and pulse together in an organism, and behold, consciousness has arisen. Now tropes, cycles, organisms, and pulsations, with all the laws of nature, are units proper to the realm of truth; units that bridge the flux of existence and are suspended over it, as truth and spirit also are suspended.

Truth at 110-111 (Love and Hatred of Truth) [#333 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

It shows life under the form of eternity, which is the form of death.

Truth at 115 (Love and Hatred of Truth) [#45 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

Humanism begins in the moral sphere, with the perception that every man's nature is, for him, the arbiter of values. So far, this view merely universalizes the Gospel text that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. From such moral enlightenment, however, we may easily slip into equivocations that will land us in moral chaos. In saying that a man's nature is, for him, the arbiter of values, we may understand that nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so. We shall then have confused what a man is with what he thinks he is, and identified his interests with his wishes. Under cover of freedom to be ourselves we shall be denying that we have any true nature; and under cover of asserting our native rights, we shall be denying that we have any ultimate interests. Humanism, so understood, will have disintegrated humanity, declared all passions equally good and proclaimed moral anarchy.

Truth at 124-125 (Denials of Truth) [#549 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

[M]odern psychologism: the view that all we see, say and think is false, but that the only truth is that we see, say and think it. If nothing be real except experience, nothing can be true except biography. Society must then be conceived as carried on in a literary medium, with no regard to the natural basis of society.

Truth at 127 (Denials of Truth) [#222 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

Thus as among the ancients, so among the moderns, the denial of truth is due to palpable confusions between truth and knowledge of truth, between essence and existence, between the ideal and the actual.

Truth at 129 (Denials of Truth) [#268 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

The trick of identifying, or not yet distinguishing, intuition and essence, runs through the history of speculation and breeds a thousand misunderstandings.

Truth at 137 (Beyond Truth) [#687 1938]

From The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being

There is a sense in which all moral life lies beyond truth. [T]he living spirit, in which this moral life is actualized and enacted, has other interests besides the interest in truth.

Truth at 139 (Beyond Truth) [#175 1938]

From Egotism in German Philosophy

Evidently that which the Indians discern and venerate is pure spirit, and if nothing compels us to follow them in their traditional ascetic and mystical discipline, calculated to bring them into perfect union or moral identity with that spirit, this happens because we have no wish for identity or union with it, but are perfectly content to be brave working and reasoning animals, as decent as possible, and to leave pure spirit alone with its loneliness.

Egotism (New) at 174 (Postscript: The Nature of Egotism and of the Moral Conflicts That Disturb the World) [#669 1939]

From Egotism in German Philosophy

Like the animal life which it expresses, pre-rational morality is far from being inwardly wicked or condemnable. . . . Reason cannot oppose these intuitions but may insinuate itself into them and transform them. Therefore, Socrates, the father of rational ethics, though he had clear moral and political allegiances of his own, never imposed them dogmatically upon his disciples. He begged them to speak for themselves, merely testing their consistency and pointing out the consequences. And he sought to enlighten only the Athenians, especially the very young among them, though with little success. Here, at least, he thought he knew the nature of the animal and its possible virtue, so that in appealing to spontaneous judgments he could be sure of the issue. He was never guilty of the moralistic practice of blaming fishes for liking to live under water. St. Francis, when he preached to them, also avoided this error.

Egotism (New) at 183-184 (Postscript: The Nature of Egotism and of the Moral Conflicts That Disturb the World) [#581 1939]

From Egotism in German Philosophy

A theocracy—and government, according to any ideology is virtually a theocracy—does not cynically invent its fables in order to deceive the people. How should the fables seem plausible unless they expressed something congruous with the popular heart? How should the prophets and priests come to conceive those fables?

Egotism (New) at 186 (Postscript: The Nature of Egotism and of the Moral Conflicts That Disturb the World) [#636 1939]

From The Letters of George Santayana

In reality I have never been either [an atheist or a pessimist]. Early Christians were called atheists and Buddhists are called pessimists: that only means that they reject the kind of God or the kind of happiness that the critic is accustomed to conceive. But I believe in the reality of Truth, the denial of which by Nietzsche, James, Dewey and a lot of Evangelicals and Idealists is, according to Lutoslawski, genuine atheism. And I believe in the possibility of happiness, if one cultivates intuition and outlives the grosser passions, including optimism. But this play of dialectic with concepts may seem to you forced. God and happiness seem to you proper names for distinct facts. God either exists or He doesn't exist. A man is either happy or unhappy. But can you seriously maintain that? The idea of God has infinite shades: even in the Hebrew tradition it is most ambiguous as an idea. It is only as a verbal idol, as a formula in a ritual, that the object is distinct. Would the God of Aristotle be God? Would the God of Royce be God, although avowedly not a power? And how about Brahma, or the God of Spinoza? These things are not so simple, if you stop to think a little.

Letters 6:231 to 6:232 (To William Lyon Phelps, Rome, April 16, 1939) [#118 1939]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I was christened in the Church and profess no other religion, so that from the point of view of the census-taker I am unmistakably a Catholic. My Protestant and Jewish critics also discover a good deal of Catholicism in my writings; but I have never been a practising Catholic, and my views in philosophy and history are incompatible with belief in any revelation. It would therefore be wholly misleading to classify me among "Catholic Authors".

Letters 6:256 (To Matthew Hoehn , Cortina d'Ampezzo, August 10, 1939) [#732 1939]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Royce . . . was too learned and too expert dialectically not to feel that the contrast between essence and existence (which is not a division among existences) is inevitable and axiomatic; and that the neglect of it has led to the worst paradoxes and extravagances of Eleatic, Platonic, German and Indian metaphysics.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 497-498 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#686 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Josiah Royce . . . once said to me that the gist of my philosophy was the separation of essence from existence. This was one of those rare criticisms that open one's eyes to one's own nature. It was also, perhaps, one of those prophecies that help to fulfil themselves; because it came long before I began to make any special use of the word essence, or attempted to analyse the concept of existence. But in Interpretations of Poetry and Religion, then just published, I freely referred to "ideals" . . . . Ideals belonged to poetry, not to science or to serious hypothesis. . . .

. . . .

For quite different reasons, my thesis about poetry and religion also made an unfavourable impression on William James, who declared it to be “the perfection of rottenness.” . . . . [W]hat arrested [James'] attention was my aestheticism, that seemed to find the highest satisfaction in essences or ideals, apart from their eventual realisation in matters of fact.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 497-499 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#555 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

[My theory of essence] dethrones the family idol of British home-philosophy. An essence is an "idea," but an idea lifted out of its immersion in existing objects and in existing feelings; so that when considered in itself and recognised as a pure essence its very clarity seems to strip both objects and feelings of their familiar lights: reality becomes mysterious and appearance becomes unreal: an intolerable thought to pictorial realists and pictorial idealists.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 500 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#774 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

[A]rt proper is that organic or external rearrangement of matter by which a monument or maxim is established in the world, and an element of traditional form is added to culture.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 501 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#28 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

But how should conscience or reason arise in me or gain the least ascendancy over my heart, if I had no natural needs, interests, or affections? These with their truly categorical imperative might then lend reason and conscience some vital force to oppose to a no less natural madness or vice. Rational life could be nothing but natural life becoming harmonious. The principle of harmony itself, if disembodied, is as impotent as any other essence to govern existence or to manifest itself as a prescribed end to a mind not organically directed upon it.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 502-503 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#77 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Here, before the pattern of my philosophy was fully disentangled, I find in the mouth of my Harvard teachers, full as they were of kindness towards my person, the latent and permanent principle of almost all the hostility I encounter. This principle is what I call moralism, and has two forms. . . . It was moralism and not logic that led Royce to deprecate my separation of essence from existence. . . .

Moralism was likewise the preconception that led James to think my aestheticism corrupt. . . .

This same moralism, sometimes political, sometimes romantic or pseudological, sometimes humanitarian, animates the more severe strictures passed upon me in this book.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 502-503 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#136 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

This principle is what I call moralism, and has two forms. One, moralism proper, asserts the categorical imperative of an absolute reason or duty determining right judgment and conduct. In the other form, moralism becomes a principle of cosmology and religion; it asserts the actual dominance of reason or goodness over the universe at large.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 502 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#583 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

[S]o that both the transitive indicativeness and the subjective animal status proper to all mind are corollaries of materialism. Yet that is not all: from the transcendental nature of mind follows also, that it cannot figure among the objects it surveys, yet is essential to their moral presence. For the realm of matter cannot admit mind into its progressive structure and movement; each trope or rhythm must be complete before sensation can arise; so that this sensation is intrinsically a result and not a cause, a comment and not an agent, an occurrence not physical but spiritual and moral. It is in an ideal synthesis impossible in a flux, in spanning relations in the realm of truth, that mounting animal passions attain this hypostatic individuality, and become feelings. Events have then given birth, in a living organism, to experience of events. My whole description of the spiritual life is thus an extension of my materialism and a consequence of it.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 504 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#437 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

My materialism indeed corroborates and justifies my analysis of knowledge, that it is faith mediated by symbols . . . . But this sensibility cannot create within the animal a feeling existentially similar to the material object that provokes that feeling. The feeling can be only a sign, a signal; so that both the transitive indicativeness and the subjective animal status proper to all mind are corollaries of materialism.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 504 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#482 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Existence is groundless, essentially groundless; for if I thought I saw a ground for it, I should have to look for a ground for that ground, ad infinitum. I must halt content at the quia, at the brute fact.

The world I find myself in is irrational, but it is not mad. It keeps moving in fundamentally constant ways, so that experience of it accumulates and work in it counts. In contrast with it, however, madness is possible in myself; as if, for instance, I insisted on finding a reason for existence, and started a perpetual and maddening vortex in my head. . . .

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 505 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#383 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Every mental development has some material significance, since it cannot help being an index to its material ground.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 506 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#483 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Certainly I do not exclude transcendental logic; but I admit it only in what I think its place, consistently with materialism; just as, consistently with materialism, I admit the authority of grammar over language when a particular language has developed a particular grammar, and thereby has become coherent internally and communicative. Yet a language, however organically developed, cannot impose its grammar on things or on other languages. Similarly transcendental logic serves to render articulate certain special perspectives necessarily confined to the subjective or poetic sphere. Whether it should have any validity or appropriateness in relation to further facts remains an open question.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 506 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#93 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

This is [science's] business, to investigate and to understand the material world better; but if it ceased to investigate things by experiment and lapsed into the description of experience as a drama, it would cease to be science and would become autobiography. Science—I am speaking of natural science, not of mathematics or philology—is the study of nature; the description of experience is literature.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 507 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#29 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

[A]nd there is also, coming from Germany and England, a transcendental idealism or dialectical eschatology, which are simply Protestant theology attenuated. The rightness of private judgment has become absolute inwardness and universal mentality; and the cries of the Hebrew prophets have become a moralistic philosophy of history, always flattering to the nationality or politics of the historian.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 507 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#781 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

For this reason I have sometimes used the word naturalism instead of materialism to indicate my fundamental belief: but that word is open to even worse equivocations. Naturalism might include psychologism or, as Banfi suggests, it might mean only one moral interest or one logical perspective open to absolute thought. The term materialism seems to me safer . . . . The theoretical sensualist, for instance, who thinks only sensations true or real, is evidently no materialist, but a psychological idealist; else Democritus would be an idealist, in believing in geometrical atoms. He was in fact a rationalist; and in this, to my mind, he was not materialistic enough, because there is ideolatry and conceptual dogmatism in attributing geometrical forms to matter absolutely, simply because they are clear essences to our intuition.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 508 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#209 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

There might be said to be as many materialisms as there are stages of discovery in natural science; and the most recent notions, for instance about the disjointed character of minute events, are perfectly materialistic, jumping being as material an act as gliding. What should prevent matter, if it likes, from existing in pulses, and being atomic in time as well as in space? In any case a principle of continuity could not be absent if the separate strokes were not to form entirely separate universes. That existence should be intermittent therefore would add little to the axiom that it is transitory.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 508 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#210 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

That matter is capable of eliciting feeling and thought follows necessarily from the principle that matter is the only substance, power, or agency in the universe: and this, not that matter is the only reality, is the first principle of materialism.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 509 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#211 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Initially . . . materialism coincides with pantheism, or even with theism of that Islamic and Calvinistic kind which conceives God as omnificent. Divergence begins with the ways of acting attributed to this single force. The more minute, repeated, and constant the tropes discovered, the more materialistic or mechanical our dynamic monism will seem to grow . . . .

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 509-510 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#212 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Initially, as the recognition of a single overpowering automatic process within us as well as without, materialism coincides with pantheism . . . . Divergence begins with the ways of acting attributed to this single force. The more minute, repeated, and constant the tropes discovered, the more materialistic or mechanical our dynamic monism will seem to grow; but I think there has been unnecessary rhetorical heat in the traditional quarrels on this subject. The entire history and destiny of the universe, if they could be surveyed, would in any case remain what they are, and contingent. They would make a total dramatic impression which imagination might regard as the moral reason (not the antecedent cause) of the whole reality. In the same way, imagination might regard particular parts of the process, such as human choices or human works of art, as justified (not produced) by the rightness or beauty or intention discernible in them. Teleology would thus be a sympathetic moral method of appreciating mechanism, and not an alternative natural process.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 509-510 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#719 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Materialism by no means implies that nothing exists save matter. Democritus admitted the void to an equal reality, with all the relations and events that motion in the void would involve: he thereby admitted what I call the realm of truth.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 509 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#334 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

There are thus two kinds of dogmatism, although both preserve this fundamental presupposition of animal intelligence, namely: that apprehension is informative, that antecedent or hidden facts exist to be discovered, and that knowledge of them is possible. But the initial kind of dogmatist, having only sensation and fancy to guide him, assumes that things are just as they seem or as he thinks they ought to be: and if this assumption be challenged, the rash dogmatist hotly denies the relativity of his knowledge and of his conscience. Now I have always asserted this double relativity; it is implied in my materialism. I am not, then, a dogmatist in this first popular sense of the word, but decidedly a sceptic. Yet I stoutly assert relativity; I am a dogmatist there; for I see clearly that an animal cannot exist without a habitat, and that his impulses and perceptions are soon directed upon it with a remarkable quickness and precision: he therefore has true and transitive knowledge. But I also see clearly that knowledge, if it takes an imaginative or moral form at all, must take a form determined by his specific senses and instincts. His true knowledge must then be, in its terms, relative to his nature, and no miraculous intuition of his habitat as it exists in itself.

This inevitable relativity of knowledge and interest, far from abolishing their assertiveness, justifies this assertiveness in its intellectual confidence and in its moral warmth. For it is some soul that is being touched, that is finding its level, and building its nest. My perceptions and my preferences are my own; but they are just as relevant to the facts as those of other creatures, and just as true to my nature as their different sentiments are to theirs. In this way I confirm myself in a dogmatism of a deliberate, qualified, and critical kind, not built on sense or imagination, but on faith, a faith in which active impulse is redirected by reflection and judgment.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 511-512 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#584 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

We are ignoring [in this argument] that thought goes on in an animal, and that the terms of it are signs for facts surrounding that animal or existing within his body, and that it is only in this capacity, as signs and not as dialectical terms, that essences can convey knowledge.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 513-514 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#484 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

The logic of the word ["father"] can never abolish the history of the action: yet, this odd pretension, that data, which people human intelligence as signs, cannot be signs but only data, is what idealists call criticism.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 515 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#485 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Meantime on these occasions animals feel the excitement they undergo and imagine the object that excites them. Such feeling and imagination is something private and original to the organism; it is a spiritual event; and it becomes true knowledge, or spiritual dominion over the object, in so far as feelings and images express faithfully the relevant relations between the object and the organism. Such knowledge cannot be literal or exhaustive because it expresses the violently selective and transmuting sensibility of one vital atom in a vast world; yet because it is natural, such knowledge cannot be irrelevant to its occasions, and brings timely tidings of the real world, in appropriate moral perspectives, to each vital atom.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 515-516 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#486 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

[F]or a critic looking for demonstration the deepest presuppositions [of reason] are the most arbitrary. Indeed, nothing can be more arbitrary than existence . . . .

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 517 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#384 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

This is not to say that the same essence that appears in intuition may not be exemplified also passively in objects.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 518 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#24 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

[Agnostics] demanded literal knowledge, and they thought, in their surviving image-worship, that science gave them literal knowledge, or if not science, at least history. But knowledge ceases to be knowledge if taken literally; so that what is called agnosticism, say in Kant, far from removing knowledge removes only idolatry, and enables the sceptical mind to purify both its science and its religion by regarding them only as symbols, without destroying their natural and traditional texture. That these natural signs have a real object is the first and truest of all presuppositions; and they reveal this reality to us in the only way in which revelation or knowledge is possible to a mind, namely, by faith mediated by some feeling, image, or concept. We are a part of the reality, but cannot, in body or mind, be or become any other part of it. We can only think the rest and believe in it. Faith is accordingly gnostic. Only the demand for literal knowledge makes knowledge impossible.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 518 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#487 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Physics was now backed by a moral [that is, a self-sufficing, perfect and blessed] and logical [that is, a clear, definite and eternal] reason for the facts that it described: it had become metaphysics.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 519 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#353 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

I regard [matter] as the only power [not the only existent], as composing the groundwork or scaffolding on which everything is stretched and supported; but the great characteristic of matter as known to us is its potentiality; an existing potentiality, definite in its possibilities and distribution, so that all its ulterior manifestations give knowledge of it. It determines the character, order, and tempo of all events: but in itself this potentiality, like the pregnancy of any seed, is unpictured and blind. The appearances and the perceptions that it is destined to breed do not pre-exist in it explicitly; yet it would not be the potentiality that it is were those developments not forthcoming on the appropriate occasions. And how should this ultimate phase of explicitness, in which potentiality becomes actuality, be less existent than the primary phase? In animals the ultimate phase is moral. Nature, which was dynamic in matter then becomes actual in spirit; it becomes the sense and the knowledge of its own existence. And how should this moral actualisation of existence be less existent than the physical potentiality of it?

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 521 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#25 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

The stress of matter flowing through those forms and linking them in the life of nature will alone lend them, for a moment, a place in the history of things: and this place will be moral, and they will become themes of interested thought, only when some animal psyche evokes them imaginatively in its struggles with itself and with an ominous world.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 522-523 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#799 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

We may separate things that lie on the same plane, as England and France are separated by the Channel. Perhaps they were once continuous, and a change in the sea level might make them continuous again. But nothing can ever make existence and essence continuous, as nothing can ever make architecture continuous with music: like parallels such orders of being can never flow into one another. But they may be conjoined or superposed; they may be simultaneous dimensions of the same world.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 525 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#299 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

For a materialist the mind will be simply sensibility in bodies; things that stimulate that sensibility will be the inevitable objects of pursuit, attention, and passion; but how should the feelings thereby aroused in the organism present the intrinsic character of the surrounding things? Evidently they will transcribe only the effects of those things on the organism; and this in aesthetic, moral, or verbal terms, not in the diffused and complicated form of the physical processes concerned. Mind, for a materialist, will therefore seem necessarily poetical, and data fictions of sense. If you are a materialist in respect to matter you will be an idealist in respect to mind.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 529 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#488 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

The use of philosophy, and in particular of the discrimination of essence, is to distil the wine out of those trodden grapes, in order that in whatever kind of world we may be living, we may live freely in the spirit.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 532 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#249 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Knowledge presupposes faith, a faith that when intelligent perceives that its terms are symbolic.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 532 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#489 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

The use of experience, to my mind, cannot be to prepare us for further experience; somewhere this experience must be self-rewarding, else all would be a democracy of unhappy tyrants making slaves of one another. There is a concomitant fruit to be gathered during this journey, experience at another level, the level of reflection, of spiritual self-possession, of poetry, of prayer. This is not a parasitic growth or expensive luxury that need not be added or that might exist elsewhere by itself. It could never exist elsewhere by itself, and the life here could never be complete naturally or spontaneously without it; not that it adds any energy or gives any new direction to the vital process, but that it is that vital process brought to a head and becoming a moral reality instead of a merely physical one. This moral reality or spiritual life will of course be peopled only with such images and sentiments as crude experience has elicited in each particular soul. I cannot transcend the scope of my faculties; but within these limits I am content to trace and to recast freely those special images and conceptions which the world or the arts happen to arouse in me. In the sphere of essence I lose nothing of my lessons learned from the facts, except precisely the wagers that at first I may have made about them. I can now smile at my losses, and at myself; but when the clock strikes, I instantly recover my dogmatic readiness in the requisite direction, and confidently skimming over all essence and appearances, I make my way back to school as directly, if not so fast, as any urchin. But I am no longer merely a distracted automaton; spirit in me has laid up some immaterial treasures in its own depths.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 533 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#671 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

[N]ot that [experience] adds any energy or gives any new direction to the vital process, but that it is that vital process brought to a head and becoming a moral reality instead of a merely physical one. This moral reality or spiritual life . . . .

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 533 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#177 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

A datum cannot be other than it is, and a fact must be exactly what has happened; but a datum may have any degree of vagueness as the sign or description of a fact.

When empiricism attempts to reduce facts to data, it therefore runs up against this terrible paradox, that every idea must be perfectly clear and every object must be thoroughly well known.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 534-535 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#694 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Berkeley, for instance, was a nominalist and a great enemy of abstract ideas; yet the ideas (images) that he recognised, and the notions (concepts) that he was obliged to admit, were precisely my essences. They were inert, unsubstantial, individual, and perfectly distinct; and they composed the whole "furniture of the mind" and the "divine language" in which spirits spoke to one another. Unfortunately Berkeley began by calling these natural signs the only objects of human knowledge; when evidently the objects signified and partly discovered were the spirits that used those signs and whose wills governed the flow of that language.

. . . . A datum cannot be other than it is, and a fact must be exactly what has happened; but a datum may have any degree of vagueness as the sign or description of a fact.

When empiricism attempts to reduce facts to data, it therefore runs up against this terrible paradox, that every idea must be perfectly clear and every object must be thoroughly well known.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 534-535 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#490 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

The force of nominalism comes from the appeal to facts; its absurdity comes of perpetually substituting these facts for the differences that distinguish them. These differences cannot occur before the facts that manifest them; therefore the nominalist, who is a hard-headed fellow, swears that differences are nothing except their occurrence. . . . When nominalists say that an essence, before it is exemplified, has no identity, so that reference to it is impossible, they are as usual reversing the relative status of essences and facts. It is the facts that cannot be identified or divided before they arise and are caught in some net of essence, at least in the net of chronology and topography; but essences supply the very definitions by which the facts may be said to define themselves, and may become possible themes for discrimination. . . .

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 535-536 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#216 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Nature reproduces itself by generation or derivation on the material plane. When it creates feeling and thought it passes to the moral plane of comment and enjoyment.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 539 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#178 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

We inevitably assume a sufficient indicative truth in both reports [of opinion by memory and history, and of fact by perception and science], without minding their conventional symbolism and extreme inadequacy. Opinions have to be symbolic and inadequate because they are phases of animal life and not reproductions of their objects. Nature reproduces itself by generation or derivation on the material plane. When it creates feeling and thought it passes to the moral plane of comment and enjoyment.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 539 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#491 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Reflection and reason are forms taken by life, they are psychic processes in organisms, involving all sorts of physical relations and potentialities. They are not clear hypostatic results of these processes such as consciousness and spirit are.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 541 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#438 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

The notion that a single universal vocation summons all mankind and even all the universe to tread a single path towards the same end seems to me utterly anti-natural. It has come into modern opinion as a heritage from religion; and I respect it in religion when it expresses the genuine aspiration of some particular race or, in the best instance, of spirit in anybody; but I cannot respect it as a view of history; and I positively deplore it when it undertakes to coerce spirit in everybody into the worship of some insolent local, temporary, material ambition.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 558 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#585 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Naturalism and humanism mean order and firm precept for a man who believes in an ordered universe and a moderately stable human nature; but for a man who thinks his passing ideas and wishes absolute, they mean anarchy. . . . My naturalism and humanism seemed to them [my readers] to give carte blanche to revolution: and so they do, if revolution represents a deeper understanding of human nature and human virtue than tradition does at that moment; but, if we make allowance for the inevitable symbolism and convention in human ideas, tradition must normally represent human nature and human virtue much better than impatience with tradition can do; especially when this impatience is founded on love of luxury, childishness, and the absence of any serious discipline of mind or heart. These are the perils that threaten naturalism and humanism in America.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 559 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#554 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Naturalism and humanism mean order and firm precept for a man who believes in an ordered universe and a moderately stable human nature; but for a man who thinks his passing ideas and wishes absolute, they mean anarchy. . . .

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 559 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#524 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

[Critics wonder] how at one time I avow a preference for being a rational animal rather than a pure spirit, and at another time profess to have no passionate love of existence and no desire for immortality. . . . [I]f you choose to exalt these feelings into maxims, [though these are better understood as poetic sentiments, than as precepts,] I see no contradiction. . . . The first maxim would therefore merely assert that life is acceptable . . . . The second maxim affirms the same thing seen from above rather than from within. . . .

For those how demand a complete code of ethics, as I do not, there is an orthodox way of reconciling the morality proper to lay life and that peculiar to a consecrated spirit. The Catholic Church, for instance, distinguishes Commandments imposed on everybody from Evangelical Counsels of Perfection . . . .

Another version of the relations between rational and post-rational morality may be found in the Mahabharata, in the well-known scene where two armies face each other with drawn swords, awaiting the signal for battle. . . .

This version has the advantage of not separating natural virtue and spiritual insight into two different lives or two strands of action or interest: the two may be lived together and in the same moment. Just as rational ethics would have no materials if pre-rational preferences were abolished, so post-rational detachment would have no occasion and no reality if men and nations had no natural passions and ambitions. . . .

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 569-571 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#655 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Under the form of truth change and motion become visible; in precipitation, in self-abolishing flux from instant to instant, they are perfectly invisible and unconscious of themselves.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 575 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#335 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

[S]pirit is the specifically human faculty in man, through which alone he can be victoriously reconciled with nature . . . .

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 582 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#201 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

This spontaneous democratic love of mankind [of William James] overlooks the nature and fate of mankind in deference to their wishes; it overlooks the need of tradition and of team-work.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 583 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#558 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

[M]y affection for the Catholic system is justified naturalistically because I regard it as a true symbol for the real relations of spirit within nature.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 583 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#733 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Specific potentialities existing at specific places and times are precisely what substance means. I should adopt that for a definition of matter.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 586 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#57 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

Specific potentialities existing at specific places and times are precisely what substance means. I should adopt that for a definition of matter. This is what Mill ought to have said, putting potentiality, a physical term, in the place of "possibility," an irrelevant logical one; since everything is always possible, but only specific eventual things are grounded in matter; and Mill also ought not to have spoken of "sensation" as the realisation of that definite and local potency, because sensation almost always is absent in the evolution of matter, that in which the potentiality is developed being all the ensuing events.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 586 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#779 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

But neither in respect to substance nor to essence has this argument [that the notion of substance rests on the grammatical dualism of subject and predicate] any value in my eyes. Substances and essences alike become subjects (or in modern parlance become objects) whenever a mind happens to think of them; and essences become predicates when they are assigned to some substance or to some more complex essence as a formal feature, or as a quality accruing to them in relation to something else. . . . Nor has grammar, to my mind, anything to do with the origin or necessity of this category [of substance]. Its obvious origin and justification lie in the fact of transformation.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 586 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#718 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

[F]or if in other respects Protestant sentiment often seems to me rather a religious cloak for worldliness, as to the nature of faith it seems to me admirable and profound. For whereas faith among Catholics (except for the mystics) means intellectual assent to traditional dogmas, among Protestants it means an unspoken and sacrificial trust in an unfathomable power . . . .

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 588 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#755 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

[I adopt] the view that nothing existent is necessary, but that nature and all events in nature are thoroughly contingent.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 591 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#699 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

I think that the old controversy about freedom and necessity was always morally futile, because whether, in physical genesis, there be continuity or fresh beginnings, law or chance, the spirit is equally the sport of fact. The freedom and dominion morally possible are of another kind, touching not the genesis of facts but the wisdom of the affections. Affections may liberate the heart or they may enslave it. This is not a question of good or ill fortune supervening, but of being or not being deceived in the original choice of our interests.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 592 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#681 1940]

From The Philosophy of George Santayana

[One critic] proclaims in large letters that I am an American. It is a true honour to be claimed when one might so easily be disowned . . . .

The limitations of my Americanism are easily told. . . .

Yet as this book shows, my intellectual relations and labours still unite me closely to America; and it is as an American writer that I must be counted, if I am counted at all.

Schilpp's Phil. of G.S. at 600-603 (Apologia Pro Mente Sua) [#101 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

The notion that spirit can escape from the psyche, or comes into us originally, as Aristotle says, from beyond the gates, merely inverts mythologically a natural truth: namely that the spirit is immaterial and transcendental.

Spirit at 5-6 (The Nature of Spirit) [#404 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

Perhaps it is not logically impossible that spirit should exist without a body: but in that case how should spirit come upon any particular images, interests, or categories.

Spirit at 11 (The Nature of Spirit) [#439 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

Perhaps it is not logically impossible that spirit should exist without a body: but in that case how should spirit come upon any particular images, interests, or categories?

Spirit at 11 (The Nature of Spirit) [#405 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

Physical life and an animal psyche are not ultimate categories; they are not the primary movements or tensions in the universe. The potentialities of matter far outrun any such temporary tropes. The scale on which the psyche operates is a local scale, and the perceptive organs that she develops are biased selective organs.

Spirit at 61 (The Will) [#300 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

[What is spirit naturally fit to do?] This perspective is not psychological or historical, but religious, or rather what the ancients would have called philosophical.

Spirit at 91 (Intuition) [#250 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

After all, it is the spirit that makes human nature human . . . .

Spirit at 212 (Liberation) [#559 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

Christianity was thus a fundamentally new religion, a religion of the spirit. It completely reversed the inspiration of the Jews in their frank original hopes, and rather resembled Neo-Platonism and Buddhism. The Jews did well, from their point of view, to reject it, and the Protestants, from theirs, to reform it so as to revert to the cultus of marriage, thrift, science, and nationality. Nevertheless, a religion or philosophy without repentance, without disillusion or asceticism, reckons without its host. The Jews themselves produced Christianity, and the Greeks helped them do it. After all, it is the spirit that makes human nature human; and in the confused, tormented, corrupt life of Christendom, not only do we find many a bright focus of mercy, sanctity, poetry, speculation, and love, but even the tone and habit of the common mind seem shot through with more wit and insight, more merriment and kindness, than in ages and nations that have never asked to be saved.

Spirit at 212-213 (Liberation) [#734 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

[The] fabulous universes [of theologians] are but reversed images of the spiritual life . . . .

Spirit at 222 (Union) [#354 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

My philosophy neither is nor wishes to be scientific; not even in the sense in which, in temper and method, the Summa of St. Thomas might be called scientific. My philosophy is like that of the ancients a discipline of the mind and heart, a lay religion.

Spirit at 273 (General Review of Realms of Being) [#251 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

Physics, not metaphysics [logical, moral, or psychological figments turned into substances or powers and placed beneath or behind the material world, to create, govern, or explain it], therefore reveals to us, as far as it goes, the foundations of things; and ontology is a subsequent excursus of the mind, as in non-Euclidean geometry, over all that the facts may suggest to the fancy.

Spirit at 274 (General Review of Realms of Being) [#252 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

In general, it would avoid misunderstanding to remember that essence, matter, truth, and spirit are not, in my view, separate cosmological regions, separately substantial, and then juxtaposed. They are summary categories of logic, meant to describe a single natural dynamic process, and to dismiss from organized reflection all unnecessary objects of faith.

Spirit at 277 (General Review of Realms of Being) [#301 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

This simple dissolution of superstition yields three of my realms of being: matter . . . ; essence . . . ; and spirit . . . . There remains the realm of truth . . . .

Spirit at 280 (General Review of Realms of Being) [#336 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

The critics will tell the public that I run hopelessly away from common sense in denying the material efficacy of spirit. Yet this is a misunderstanding, because neither the critics nor the public take the word spirit in my sense. They understand by it the self, the soul, the psyche: and nothing could be farther from me than to deny the interaction of the psyche—that is, the bodily life—with surrounding events. The continuity of these motions, outside a man, in through his senses, out through his impulses, into his actions and influence, is perfectly obvious. His senses and impulses will not be aroused without arousing his spirit; so that it is quite true that if he had been unconscious most of his actions would have been different, or rather would not have occurred at all. He would have been asleep. In sleep, it is not spirit that departs or determines to close the eyes, but the eyes that close of themselves, and shut the world out from the spirit. With eyes closed, a man will certainly not act as if his eyes were open: and when the physical cause of his lethargy or gropings is so evident, it is sheer myth to suppose the cause to be the absence of light in his mind. That light is eclipsed, as everyone can prove experimentally at any moment, because the eyes are closed. Spirit is therefore a concomitant effect of physical causes and not a separate cause descending from another world.

Spirit at 281-282 (General Review of Realms of Being) [#440 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

To read actions in terms of spirit and to divine the thought that doubtless accompanied them is perfectly legitimate in principle although often mistaken in practice. I call it literary psychology and believe that when the mind-reader and the mind read are genetically akin, it may be more literally true than any other kind of knowledge. Yet it is essentially divination, not science. Scientific psychology must be behaviouristic: it can discover, not what spirits feel or think, but what people are likely to say and do under specific conditions.

Spirit at 282 (General Review of Realms of Being) [#55 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

I do not, then, deny either the efficacy or the indetermination of human action or Will, but only a miraculous interference of spirit or of visionary objects with the flux of matter.

The universe, however broken and inconsequential may be its course, is what it is as a whole; but this totality is itself contingent; so that while I have not the least faith or hope in indeterminism, I see that all regularity is relative and factual, and by no means imposed on existence by any essence or law. The freedom that so many people, learned and unlearned, passionately wish to possess is a vital freedom, freedom to be themselves, and to bring to light the potentialities of their psyches, all knocking at the door of life. This freedom exists; and though variously modified by the acquired habits of the psyche, it belongs fundamentally to all life, if not to all change. Everything is what it is by its own initiative, not because some other thing was like it earlier, and compelled it to repeat that essence. Essences are all passive, and the flux of existence is as self-guided at every point as at the beginning.

As to freedom proper to spirit, this is no power to move matter by magic, but the fact of being sometimes liberated from distraction and permitted to be pure spirit.

Spirit at 282-283 (General Review of Realms of Being) [#682 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

God, at least for Jews, Christians, and Moslems, must be a power that is a spirit, and a spirit that is a sovereign power. As I place spirit and power at opposite ends of the ontological scale, and of cosmic evolution, making spirit the fruit and enjoyment of power, but no part of its radical energy, I must be pronounced an atheist in this company. I am not even a pantheist, as if I regarded the whole of matter as an organ of spirit; for then, even if the dynamic order were purely mathematical, the omnipresence of spirit and the pervasive ministration of matter to moral ends, would allow us to say that the universe was a divine body with a divine mind. But that, in my opinion, is a false extension of spirit . . . .

Spirit at 285 (General Review of Realms of Being) [#218 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

[To eulogize all essence] would be treason to human nature and to the Good . . . .

Spirit at 286-287 (General Review of Realms of Being) [#560 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

. . . . [M]y analysis transposes the doctrine of the Trinity into terms of pure ontology and moral dialectic.

. . . . [P]ower [the realm of matter] is signified by the First Person of the Trinity, the Father . . . .

. . . . Yet . . . power could not possibly produce anything unless it borrowed some form from the realm of essence . . . .

. . . . [B]y the intervention of irrational power . . . the infinity of essence is determined to a particular complex or series of forms . . . . This complex or series of forms exemplified in the universe composes the truth about it . . . . It is the Logos, comparable with the heaven of Platonic Ideas, with the God of Aristotle, and with νους, the second hypostasis in the trinity of Plotinus.

This Logos is just as much God as is the Father, since power or substance cannot exist without form. But form also cannot exist without substance and power to extricate it from infinity and render it actual; so that the Father and the Son are not two separable existents, but two incommensurable and equally original features of existence itself. . . .

Now love and pursuit of the Good . . . also arise on occasion . . . and this third dimension of reality is spirit. Christian theology has been much less curious and penetrating in regard to the Holy Ghost than in regard to the Father and the Son . . . .

Spirit at 291-294 (General Review of Realms of Being) [#338 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

At the foundation there is one total groundless reality, breaking in upon nothingness with an overwhelming irrational force. . . .

This assault of reality, in the force of whatsoever exists or happens, I call matter or the realm of matter . . . .

Spirit at 291-292 (General Review of Realms of Being) [#381 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

Spirit, then, belongs here below, not yonder, έχεί, in the Platonic heaven.

Spirit at 291 (General Review of Realms of Being) [#406 1940]

From The Realm of Spirit: Book Fourth of Realms of Being

This analogy between Christian theology and my ontology must not be pressed: the one is a dogma, the other a language: a language based not on inspiration but on analysis, and meant only to render articulate the dumb experience of the soul. I am not concerned in these Realms of Being with alleged separate substances or independent regions. I am endeavouring only to distinguish the types of reality that I encounter; and the lines of cleavage that I discern are moral and logical, not physical chasms. Yet I find this language applicable, and in that sense true.

Spirit at 299 (General Review of Realms of Being) [#302 1940]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Existence comes in pulses, in strokes. I see no reason for not stopping, or for stopping, anywhere in that flux. Existence has as many centres as it happens to have, as many moments, feelings, assumptions, questions—all in the air and with no power over one another. But if we have time and patience to study a natural world, posited as the source and common continuum in all this existence, we assume that it has dynamic unity: otherwise from one point in it we could never justly infer or posit any other point in it. This is my argument for materialism.

Letters 7:4 (To Ezra Loomis Pound, Rome, January 4, 1941) [#132 1941]

From The Letters of George Santayana

My complaint about the change in Brownell's paper was that readers would wonder why I said that he proclaimed in large capitals that I was an American, when he says now modestly that he thinks me American; and of course I am American in several important aspects.

Letters 7:31 (To Paul Arthur Schilpp, Rome, April 30, 1941) [#102 1941]

From Realms of Being

Indeed, my endeavor in putting [my philosophy] into words has been to retreat to the minimum beliefs and radical presuppositions implied in facing a world at all or professing to know anything: beliefs and presuppositions that it is impossible for me to deny honestly, although I may seldom or never have conceived them clearly.

Realms at xxviii (Introduction to One-Volume Edition) [#244 1942]

From Realms of Being

What I should say without hesitation is that, for mental life, the body and the world cannot be dispensed with . . . .

. . . . Romantic souls, who think that spirit is an unharnessed Pegasus tumbling among the clouds, will find nothing here to their purpose.

Realms at xxxii (Introduction to One-Volume Edition) [#407 1942]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

What we call the laws of nature are hasty generalizations; and even if some of them actually prevailed without exception or alloy, the fact that these laws and not others (or none) were found to be dominant would itself be groundless; so that nothing could be at bottom more arbitrary than what always happens, or more fatal than what happens but once or by absolute chance.

Persons and Places at 4-5 (My Place, Time, and Ancestry) [#385 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

An unprejudiced man will be ready and happy to live in any class of society; he will find there occasions enough for merriment, pleasure, and kindness. Only snobs are troubled by inequality, or by exclusion from something accidental, as all particular stations are. Why should I think it unjust that I am not an applauded singer (which it was in me to be) nor a field-marshal nor a puppet king?

Persons and Places at 13 (My Father) [#607 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

Success and failure in the world are equally distracting, equally devastating.

Persons and Places at 13-14 (My Father) [#112 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

I also knew Lowell, in his last phase; I once shook hands with Longfellow at a garden party in 1881; and I often saw Dr. Holmes, who was our neighbour in Beacon Street: but Emerson I never saw. . . .

Persons and Places at 46 (My Mother) [#461 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

[My sister, Susana] thought religion a matter of fact, like geography of the Fiji Islands . . . . Now I was aware, at first instinctively and soon quite clearly on historical and psychological grounds, that religion and all philosophy of that kind was invented. It was all conceived and worked out inwardly, imaginatively, for moral reasons; I could have invented or helped to invent it myself . . . .Such invention need not be dishonest, if it is taken for a revelation. But you can't go for the proof or confirmation of it to the Fiji Islands, or to any other part of the existing universe; you must place it, and live by it, on quite another plane. In a word, I was a spontaneous modernist in theology and philosophy: but not being pledged, either socially or superstitiously, to any sect or tradition, I was spared the torments of those poor Catholic priests or those limping Anglicans who think they can be at once modernists and believers.

Persons and Places at 87-88 (My Sister Susana) [#735 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

There is a curious cruelty mixed sometimes with American shrewdness and humour. The sharp mind finds things queer, crooked, perverse; it puns about them; and it doesn’t see why they shouldn’t be expected and commanded to be quite other than they are; but all this without much hope of mending them, and a sardonic grin.

Persons and Places at 89 (My Sister Susana) [#99 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

Catholicism is the most human of religions, if taken humanly: it is paganism spiritually transformed and made metaphysical. It corresponds most adequately to the various exigencies of moral life, with just the needed dose of wisdom, sublimity, and illusion. Only it should be accepted humanly, traditionally, as part of an unquestioned order, a moral heritage, like one's language and family life, leaving religious controversy to the synods and metaphysical speculation to the schools.

Persons and Places at 93 (My Sister Susana) [#736 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

For the freest spirit must have some birthplace, some locus standi from which to view the world and some innate passion by which to judge it. Spirit must always be the spirit of some body.

Persons and Places at 97-98 (Avila) [#408 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

The notion of belittling any [civilization of which I was learning about as a youth] never crossed my mind; and as one style of architecture does not prevent the others from being equally beautiful and proper in their time and place, so the whole mental and moral civilisation that flourished with that style must be accepted as right and honourable in its day. This principle is applicable to the religions and philosophies, in so far as they too are local and temporary; but in so far as the universe and human nature are constant, it is evident that a single system of science will serve to describe them, although the images and language will constantly differ in which that system is expressed. . . .

In regard, however, to rival forms of art or civilisation, I was directed from the beginning towards impartiality, which does not imply omnivorousness or confusion. All beauties are to be honoured, but only one embraced.

Persons and Places at 143-144 (No. 302 Beacon Street) [#586 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

A point of view and a special lighting are not distortions. They are conditions of vision, and spirit can see nothing not focussed in some living eye.

Persons and Places at 146 (The Latin School) [#409 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

You may say that for the teachers [at the Latin School] at least, in that age of individual initiative and open careers, a thousand alternatives were, or had been, possible; and you may say that they could not have been altogether insensible of their high vocation and the high vocation of their country, to create gradually and securely a better world, a world free from superstition, from needless hatreds, from unjust inequalities, and from devastating misery. Yes: but all that was negative; it consisted of things to be got rid of and avoided, and in America the more obvious of them had actually been escaped. Officially, especially now that slavery had been abolished, everything was all right. Everybody was free. Everybody was at work. Almost everybody could be well educated. Almost everybody was married. Therefore almost everybody was, or ought to be, perfectly happy. But were the teachers at the Latin School, perhaps the best of American schools, happy? Or were the boys? Ah, perhaps we should not ask whether they were happy, for they were not rich, but whether they were enthusiastically conscious of a great work, and endless glorious struggle and perpetual victory, set before them in the world. I reply, not for myself, since I don’t count, being an alien, but in their name, that they decidedly were conscious of no such thing. They had heard of it; but in their daily lives they were conscious only of hard facts, meagreness, routine, petty commitments, and ideals too distant and vague to be worth mentioning.

Persons and Places at 151 (The Latin School) [#100 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

For those who love war the world is an excellent field, but I am a born cleric or poet. I must see both sides and take neither, in order, ideally, to embrace both, to sing both, and love the different forms that the good and the beautiful wear to different creatures. This comprehensiveness in sympathy by no means implies that good and evil are indistinguishable or dubious. Nature sets definite standards for every living being; the good and the beautiful could not exist otherwise; and the failure or lapse of natural perfection in each is an irreparable evil. But it is, in every case a ground of sorrow to the spirit, not of rage; for such failure or lapse is fated and involuntary.

Persons and Places at 155-156 (The Latin School) [#587 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

My philosophy has never changed. It is by no means an artificial or academic hypothesis; it doesn't appeal at all to the professors; it is a system of presuppositions and categories discovered already alive and at work within me, willy-nilly, like existence itself, and virtually present not only in the boy but in the embryo.

Persons and Places at 167 (The Church of the Immaculate Conception) [#303 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

Not that he was in the least what we called liberal, that is, indifferent and vaguely contemptuous towards all definite doctrines and practices, and without any discipline of his own. On the contrary, he was absolutely loyal to his own tradition, and master of it; he was made finished, imposing in the precision of his affections.

Persons and Places at 177-178 (First Friends) [#627 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

Liberalism, Protestantism, Judaism, positivism all have the same ultimate aim and standard. It is prosperity, or as Lutheran theologians put it, union with God at our level, not at God's level. The thing all these schools detest is the ideal of union with God at God's level, proper to asceticism, mysticism, Platonism, and pure intelligence, which insist on seeing things under the form of truth and of eternity. You must be content, they say, to see things under the form of time, of appearance, and of feeling. . . .

Persons and Places at 200 (First Return to Spain) [#46 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

Liberalism, Protestantism, Judaism, positivism all have the same ultimate aim and standard. It is prosperity, or as Lutheran theologians put it, union with God at our level, not at God's level. The thing all these schools detest is the ideal of union with God at God's level, proper to asceticism, mysticism, Platonism, and pure intelligence, which insist on seeing things under the form of truth and of eternity. You must be content, they say, to see things under the form of time, of appearance, and of feeling. . . . [P]rosperity may be the ideal of the poor, or it may be the ideal of the rich; and it may be accompanied by domestic, national, and religious joys, or by domestic, national, and religious bitterness. [Where Latins adopt liberalism, it is] the poor man's liberalism; the liberalism of the dominant Anglosaxon is that of the joyful rich man. This colours differently their common ideal of prosperity; but prosperity remains the ultimate ideal of both. For this reason Latins who are rich, either in possessions or sympathies, can hardly be liberals. They love the beautiful.

Persons and Places at 200 (First Return to Spain) [#207 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

Now Spinoza, my master and model in respect to the first point [does he understand the natural basis of morality], does not satisfy me in respect to the second [how humane and representative is his sense for the good] . . . . The complete moralist must not only be sound in physics, but must be inwardly inspired by a normal human soul and an adequate human tradition; he must be a complete humanist in a complete naturalist. Spinoza was not only a complete naturalist, but, by a rare combination, also a spiritual man, seeing and accepting the place of the human heart in the universe; accepting it not grudgingly or viciously or frivolously, as your worldling does, but . . . humbly, in that he asked to be nothing more than he was, and joyously because what he was allowed him, in spirit, to salute and to worship every form of the good. Nevertheless, Spinoza was not a complete humanist. He had no idea of human greatness and no sympathy with human sorrow. His notion of the soul was too plebeian and to quietistic. . . . Now such limitations, deep as they run, do not at all annul the nobility of Spinoza's simple and brave life, devoted to sublime speculation; yet they destroy the authority of his judgment in moral matters. He was virtuous but not normal. He had found his vocation, which it was his right and duty to follow; a high but very special vocation, that made him a model neither for mankind at large nor for man in his wholeness. He was a genius; but as a guide in the spiritual life, he was narrow and inadequate. The saint and the poet are hardly sane or authoritative unless they embody a wide tradition. If they are rebels, disinherited and solitary, the world may admire but cannot follow them. They have studied human nature by looking at the stars.

Persons and Places at 235-236 (College Studies) [#670 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

The "Will" in Schopenhauer was a transparent mythological symbol for the flux of matter. There was an absolute equivalence between such a system, in its purport and sense for reality, and the systems of Spinoza and Lucretius. This was the element of ancient sanity that kept me awake and conscious of the points of the compass in the subsequent wreck of psychologism.

Persons and Places at 239 (College Studies) [#150 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

[My mother's] notion seemed to be that church, state and society were victims of unnatural tyranny: remove the tyrants, and everything would become perfect of its own accord. That business and wealth might be tyrannical never occurred to her; she regarded them as fountains of pure benefit all round, as were science and enlightenment. She was therefore theoretically content with the nineteenth century, with America, and especially with Boston . . . . The fact that everyone was hectically "doing things", multiplying wealth, busy with science and organisation, and finding and creating endless pressing problems to solve, she ignored.

Persons and Places at 247 (Addendum: We Were Not Virtuous) [#638 1944]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

A string of excited, fugitive, miscellaneous pleasures is not happiness; happiness resides in imaginative reflection and judgment, when the picture of one's life, or of human life, as it truly has been or is, satisfies the will, and is gladly accepted. Epicurus had a different notion of happiness from that of Solon, but it was just as much a form of wisdom, a choice among possible lives; in neither sage was it a calculus of quantitative pleasures and pains. Epicurus renounced most of the things called pleasures, for the sake of peace, equanimity, and intelligence, and Solon's heroes renounced life itself for the sake of a beautiful moment or a beautiful death. The extreme of classical heroism becomes romantic; because the romantic career, if deliberately chosen and accepted without illusion, would be a form of happiness: something in which a living will recongised its fulfilment and found its peace.

Persons and Places at 259 (Germany) [#154 1945]

From The Letters of George Santayana

We must see heaven in the midst of earth, just above it, accompanying earth as beauty accompanies it. We must not try to get heaven pure, afterwards, or instead. Christ is essentially a spirit of the earth. He is a tragic hero.

Letters 7:121 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, January 21, 1945) [#410 1945]

From The Letters of George Santayana

One young Harvard instructor in "Government" . . . came to see me here, and seemed a charming person, who quite understood that by "moral" I don't understand well-behaved, but everything that involves a distinction on any grounds between the better and the worse, as between good and bad architecture.

Letters 7:184 (To Robert Shaw Sturgis, Rome, October 27, 1945) [#180 1945]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

[T]hat in which [Philo's] Logos became flesh was not a particular man, but the whole creation and the whole history of the world. I don't know in what circumstances this incarnation or phenomonalising of the Platonic ideas came to be assimilated to the son of God, become man. The fact that in Christ the power and the wisdom of God were manifested, established the analogy: but an anomaly seems to appear when we consider how remote from the Logos or the Nous was the inspiration of Christ. His mission was not to create but to redeem and to save; and his wisdom spoke in parables and precepts, not in grammatical or conceptual hierarchies of terms. He was a living person, not the morphology of the universe. I cannot help thinking that it was an unfortunate accident that the Son of God and the wisdom of God should have seemed to coincide, as being both immediately and inwardly generated within the divine life, and thought of as its second term. That divine element which seems to descend into the created soul is rather life than wisdom, rather the Psyche, than the Logos: but something of the Logos may descend too, and we find in John a number of other terms, the Light, the Way, the Truth, that fall in well with the mediating office of Christ, as teacher and redeemer. Yet there are still other terms, Life and Love, that seem to fit better the intimate essence of his person, as if he were spirit incarnate, rather than the Word.

Idea of Christ at 31-32 (Character of the Several Gospels) [#339 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

[C]ontact with objects, when at last it becomes safe and pleasant, serves only to fill the mind with images and insights, that is to say, with graphic signs flowering of themselves in the mind.

Idea of Christ at 65 (The Son of God) [#510 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

As in poetry, so in religion, the question whether the events described have actually occurred is trivial and irrelevant. Anything may occur in infinite time. The question is what light it would kindle within us, if it happened to happen. Facts matter little for the spirit except for what they mean to the heart. Whether the Christian faith is true is a momentous question for science and history, because it affects the conditions under which men must live and their destiny; but the spiritual value of the idea of Christ does not depend on its having been already realised in fact but on the depth to which it sounds the ultimate vocation of every living being. Lucifer might admit that a divine Christ had existed, yet might disdain to imitate him; and a disillusioned philosopher might aspire to imitate him without believing in his existence.

Idea of Christ at 173-174 (Traditional Assumptions) [#269 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

Nevertheless, within the created world there need be no logical necessity. All events may remain contingent, all laws ideally changeable and perhaps actually plastic or only approximately applicable when when they apply. Human choices in particular may be utterly unpredictable by any anthropologist, historian or psychologist, and intimately inexplicable to the man himself who makes them, or in whom they occur. But then, paradoxically, the more groundless our choices seem, the less they seem to be ours: and an absolute freedom comes round again to absolute fatality. I think there is a word that might solve this ancient riddle. It would come to us if we distinguished clearly the physical from the moral order. Contingency in the physical order is quite irrelevant to freedom in the spirit or to responsibility of a moral sort. If I heartily love my transgressions, and am ready to stick with them forever, I am spiritually one with them, no matter what causes or antecedents might explain my love according to the usual course of nature. If, on the contrary, I hate my transgressions, or hate my hypocritical values, God will not charge me with them, seeing that they were contrary to my free will, and only imposed on my ignorance and helplessness by forces hostile to my moral nature and hidden heart. Moral freedom, therefore, does not lie in alleged magic power to produce events contrary to the course of nature; it lies only in the physically undiscoverable love of the spirit for that which it truly loves. The will is free, not because it is uncaused historically, but because it is a moral choice and allegiance by its very nature. For as Saint Augustine asks: Quid magis in voluntate quam ipsa voluntas? Love, which has obvious biological grounds as a vital habit, is spiritually the first possible seat, instance, and essence of freedom.

Idea of Christ at 192-193 (The Concept of Creation) [#683 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

The pure, legitimate, divine offspring of being is seeing, and the ripe fruit of seeing is comprehending. That which biologically is derivative, the Son, becomes morally the crown and fulfilment of the whole cycle: for without the Word that utters and reveals the heart the whole dynamism of the heart would remain barbarous and blind.

Idea of Christ at 202 (The Fatherhood of God) [#511 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

The effort to moralise God or nature, and to see in God or nature the model for human virtue—an effort which I call moralism—ends by justifying all evils and dissolving any definite human morality in theory if not in practice.

Idea of Christ at 205 (Moralism) [#588 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

Two mistakes seem to me to inhere in moralism: one, that God cannot be good or worthy of worship unless he obeys the precepts of human morality; the other, that if God is not good after our fashion, our own morality is undermined.

Idea of Christ at 205 (Moralism) [#589 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

[T]he ideal virtue of any living creature can never depend on the nature of any other: for this ideal virtue, by definition, is that to which this living being naturally aspires. God therefore, in creating human nature, has rendered living and authoritative over mankind the human ideal of virtue. If human nature changes, this ideal changes with it. So, once for all or by gradual definition, through instinct, custom, and the inspiration of prophets, God has imposed on man rules of conduct suitable to his human condition, together with the suitable emotions. These rules are inflexible, so long as human nature and the relevant circumstances remain the same, but are expressly different according to personal endowment, age, station and epoch. In order to be living, binding and practicable, laws must be suited to the living man. Otherwise the voice of conscience would not confirm them, and true morality would demand reforms in the morality prescribed.

Idea of Christ at 206 (Moralism) [#561 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

Vitally and intrinsically, good is whatsoever life aspires to in any direction; not, as in charity and kindness, the confluence of aspiration in one life with aspiration in another.

Idea of Christ at 207 (Moralism) [#48 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

This idea of Christ . . . is also an ideal to hold up before the philosopher who cannot renounce being a man, yet cannot help transcending his humanity in thought before the overwhelming spectacle of nature and the infinite intricacies of logic. . . . Yet, with this model before him, he may at least escape the snare of moralism, that destroys the sweetness of human affections by stretching them on the rack of infinity and absoluteness. He may learn from Christ to cultivate and honour these affections for what they are, human and accidental, but ordained and sanctioned in that capacity by the eternal order of things.

Idea of Christ at 212 (Moralism) [#590 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

[T]he motive which prompted theologians to attribute absolute immutability to God and to life in heaven was not love of life but respect for the ideal. They could not, however, express this respect (which they deeply felt, as spirit always must) without employing laudatory rhetorical terms which attribute to it an impossible life and existence.

Idea of Christ at 230 (The Animal Psyche and the Supernatural Soul) [#512 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

Facts thus culminate for the spirit in ideal revelations, in attainments or perfections of form: that is the only ultimate function that passing existence can have.

Idea of Christ at 231 (The Animal Psyche and the Supernatural Soul) [#513 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

[The supernatural] arises in the effort to do justice at once to nature and to the ideal, and to vindicate the superiority, or rather the exclusive ultimate value, of the latter.

Idea of Christ at 233 (The Animal Psyche and the Supernatural Soul) [#514 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

This unhappy method [of the Socratic philosophers] not only verbalised natural science but represented morality and holiness as hanging on imaginary physical sanctions, and not on the inherent vocation of human life and mind.

Idea of Christ at 237 (Self-Transcendence) [#138 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

The idea of Christ and his precepts answer these questions unequivocally. All inspirations are intrinsically good, but they form a hierarchy, and the lower become sinful when they disturb the higher. Where the higher are not sent, the lower remain innocent and amiable, as in the brutes. In man, however, the dominance of the animal becomes ugly and vicious; while in mature or highly favoured souls such animal functions as are not indispensable—for instance, the sexual and the warlike—remain in abeyance, potential in the psyche and understood, but never actually exercised. . . .

Idea of Christ at 244 (Self-Transcendence) [#119 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

Yet spirit may silently pass on in what might seem the opposite direction when it abandons or despises all this prudential and blind knowledge—blind because it has nothing distinct to offer in the place of the sensuous or poetic images that it transcends—and reverts, now with an enthusiastic worship, to the cult of ideas. For what profit is there in discovering the order of nature or the history of mankind except that we may thereby protect and sweeten the transit of the soul through the world, and chose eternal objects of study and love?

Idea of Christ at 248 (Self-Transcendence) [#515 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

[The model of Christ] is what forced Catholic theology to adopt the doctrine of the supernatural human soul: so that only a sacrificial human life and a sanctified human body should be truly natural to man and compatible with his perfect happiness. This implies the sacrifice of almost everything that a man ordinarily cares for, including his animal will and his animal self.

Can this really be the universal vocation of spirit? I will answer this question in the honest scholastic way, by a distinguo. Spirit may be taken in two ways, in its essence or its instances. In its essence, the vocation of spirit is that of Christ: to be incarnate, to suffer and do what is appointed, and to return, at every recollected moment, to perfect union with God. In its instances, however, the vocation of spirit is different in each soul. In the poet, the artist, or the wit, intelligence and love are disinterested: in so far as they those names, that which lives in them is the liberated spirit. At moments they may touch perfect self-forgetfulness; and no fulfilment can come to the spirit more genuine than that. Moreover, the whole evolution of nature and history is centrifugal, polyglot, reaching incommensurable achievements. Life radiates in every way it finds open, and in each species, in each art, flowers into a different glory. To impose one form, one method, one type of virtue upon every creature would be sheer blindness to the essence of the good. Spirit, then, I reply, has its essence in a single vocation, to reflect the glory of God; but this vocation can be realised only in special and diverse forms. . . .

Idea of Christ at 250-251 (Conclusion) [#672 1946]

From The Idea of Christ in the Gospels; or, God in Man: A Critical Essay

The life of spirit, being natural, is contingent; it cannot be anything obligatory. It was not a duty for matter to produce life, nor is it a duty for life to produce spirit. For the most part these transitions do not occur, and the universe rolls on in a peace it does not enjoy towards catastrophes it does not expect. But life when it has arisen begins to pursue certain contingencies and to tremble at others; and spirit inherits this moral and dramatic sensibility. Yet its own impulse is to transcend that agitation. When conflicting movements divide the psyche and would destroy each other, the spirit, being hostile to nothing, feels the suasion of both and triumphs if they manage to unite in a relative euphoria and harmony. But not all soul love harmony. Harmony involves sacrifice, and vital passions will not endure it. If they did, their objects would be transformed. They would become themes for the spirit, moving in the magnetic field of the truth, where all things are eternally pictured. That is the realm that spirit looks out upon from the beginning. For spirit is addressed to qualitative being, such as pure attention would discover in every image of sense, in every feeling, in every event: the eternal essence of that image, of that feeling, of that event. This is what poetry, painting, and history arrest and preserve. But attention is seldom or never pure; it is distracted by the irrelevant abundance of blind excitements and the feebleness of its own light. And the automatism of life in most men thirsts for irrelevant excitements, not finding much joy in anything definite and true to itself.

Idea of Christ at 253-254 (Conclusion) [#673 1946]

From The Letters of George Santayana

That you should think Plato good but not true, and should at the same time follow Darwin with approval would seem to indicate that you instinctively think as I think. This, and you Latin (or Greek—for Calabria is very Greek) blood don’t apparently suffice to make you feel at home in my Weltanschauung. What is the difficulty? You don't tell me or give me any hint of where it lies. Why is Plato good in spite of being wrong? I should say because his ethics and politics are right in principle, but his cosmology is mythical and made to fit his humanism miraculously, having been planned on purpose to produce an ideal Athens and a perfect set of Athenians. Now, this is contrary to Darwin, and must be abandoned: Although the Platonic myth may be excellent parables, illustrating the growth of human virtues, I therefore stick to Darwin (or in my case—rather to Lucretius and Spinoza) in my cosmology; but when I turn to the realm of Spirit (which has its perfectly natural place in animal life) I drop Darwin, Lucretius, and even Spinoza and stick to Plato, or rather to the idea of Christ.

Letters 7:221 (To Lieutenant Garcia, Rome, February 26, 1946) [#355 1946]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Of course the roots are not everything in nature: the flowers are just as natural: and for that reason levellers and anticlericals are not good naturalists.

Letters 7:235 (To David Page, Rome, March 28, 1946) [#626 1946]

From The Letters of George Santayana

But I don't think [this "novel"] makes one wish to live in the world it represents, which is very artificial and decadent, and not healthy naturalistic. Vice is common, but not a spontaneous expression of nature: rather a deviation caused by suppressing nature or overworking it. For genuine naturalism, which has a tragic side, I should look to Homer rather than to Petronius; or on the social side, with town life, to Terence, whom I have been reading lately with great pleasure. His old men are so savoury, each with his private philosophy, and his young men so young, so helplessly in love, and so loyal. And the outlook is truly (not sentimentally) naturalistic: contented with limitations, bourgeois life, fixed principles, a fixed income, and parents who were just like their children and children who expect to be just like their parents, and respect them and themselves all the more on that account.

Letters 7:235 (To David Page, Rome, March 28, 1946) [#165 1946]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[It is said that an] American cannot admit the possibility that democracy should disappear. Any suggestion to that effect causes "bitter resentment." This, I should say, is particularly true of those in whom . . . Puritan and Jewish sentiments are still prevalent. Politics rests on a "Covenant" with God, so that fidelity to a special revealed law and everlasting, prosperity and victory are inseparable. This is what in the book I am now writing, "Dominations and Powers" I call a militant as against a generative society; that is, one intentionally chosen and imposed, rather than one that has grown up by an unintended concourse of circumstances and interests. In this respect democracy is intolerant and totalitarian: that is, it claims exclusive rightness for its system regardless of natural growths and diverse ideals.

Letters 7:288 to 7:289 (To Robert Shaw Sturgis, Rome, October 21, 1946) [#632 1946]

From The Letters of George Santayana

That there is a dynamic or material reality, on the same plane as one's self or psyche (not transcendental spirit) is assumed and required, as you say, in action: and action includes any movement of alarm, attraction, or attention. Animal faith posits the rat in the hole, by smell, in the dog. That the smell, as a datum, is "in" the brain, I should not say, because in that capacity I think it is an essence, and non-existent anywhere: but the feeling or inarticulate intuition of it exists, and its organ is no doubt in the brain; although the intuition as a living act belongs to the realm of spirit, and is not in space. This old analysis of mine, which I don't think worth while to reconsider, makes me feel that your position is unnecessarily paradoxical, resting on what seems to me the radical error of British empiricism, namely, having turned "ideas" from being essences, into perceptions. The knowledge we have of the world is a system of ideas; but it is not our psychological life, which is only feeling diversified. It is the function of parts of that life, in its vital alertness, to be the signs of existent objects and of their virtual character in terms of our own possible experience. We live in imagination, which we regard, often virtually with sufficient justification, as knowledge. But it is all theoretical, poetical, vaguely and floatingly sensuous; and it is science, as you say, that refines and consolidates it into literal exact abstract knowledge of the "skeleton" of dynamic-nature.

Letters 7:343 to 7:344 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, June 14, 1947) [#775 1947]

From The Letters of George Santayana

The knowledge we have of the world is a system of ideas; but it is not our psychological life, which is only feeling diversified. It is the function of that life, in its vital alertness, to be the signs of existent objects and of their virtual character in terms of our own possible experience. We live in imagination, which we regard, often virtually with sufficient justification, as knowledge. But it is all theoretical, poetical, vaguely and floatingly sensuous; and it is science, as you say, that refines and consolidates it into literal exact knowledge of the "skeleton" of dynamic nature.

Letters 7:344 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, June 14, 1947) [#492 1947]

From The Letters of George Santayana

But I have no metaphysics: essence, truth and spirit are indeed non-physical; but for that very reason they are not to be invoked at all in physics or cosmology, which deals with common sense facts—assumed to exist by themselves—and studies their factual relations without pretending to explain or understand them.

Letters 7:345 (To Thomas N. Munson, Rome, June 15, 1947) [#796 1947]

From The Letters of George Santayana

For instance, you suggest the old question of freedom of the Will or necessity. But now-a-days "necessity" and "causation" are ambiguous concepts. I should say, for instance, that no fact was or could be necessary, all existence being by definition contingent. Would it follow from this that I believe in free will? Not at all. The ways of nature are contingent in that logically they might just as well have been different or not to have been discernible at all, if no trope had ever been repeated. But tropes are repeated more or less: events to that extent are predictable on the assumption that these chance repetitions will continue regularly. There is therefore no traceable problem of freedom or necessity in the history of philosophy, but only confused contradictory talk on uncriticised presumptions.

Letters 7:349 (To William Gerber, Rome, July 6, 1947) [#684 1947]

From The Letters of George Santayana

All Spaniards, at least in my time, were Catholics, and I have never called myself anything else, from the point of view of society or the Census taker. But now-a-days, perhaps, "being a Catholic", especially in Protestant countries, is understood to imply a personal positive adherence to the doctrine and discipline of the Church; and to class me, and much more to quote me, as militant in the Catholic cause would create a misunderstanding. I certainly have no other religion: but my philosophy and habits are not specifically Catholic, so that it would be better for you not to include me among your contributors to "Catholic Literature."

Letters 7:374 (To J. T. Nolan Jr., Rome, September 23, 1947) [#738 1947]

From The Letters of George Santayana

The roots and effects of clericalism must first be considered from its own side: since it is just as human as anything else in human society. Everything is bound to take up room and to shove other things aside in some measure: the question is to understand justly what hold each thing has normally in nature and in human nature, and how great is the ascension or flowering of life that it is capable of producing.

Letters 7:382 (To Philip Roddman, Rome, October 2, 1947) [#562 1947]

From The Letters of George Santayana

1848 was a year of revolutions and 1948 may repeat the performance; but I think it will probably fizzle out, as it did a hundred years ago. Institutions are harder to destroy than sentiments[;] and manners, if not cabinets, are comparatively stable in France and in Italy, and tend to restore the modus vivendi.

Letters 7:394 (To Robert Shaw Sturgis , Rome, December 28, 1947) [#618 1947]

From Dialogues in Limbo

[Socrates'] philosophy is all a play of words or logic of concepts, backed in his person by a heroic ascetic discipline, yet in itself arid and verbal, and fit to defend any fanaticism or superstition. . . . It is a sad fate that pursues moralists and logicians, who pipe their dialectic as if they lived in Arcadia, where nothing is to be heard but the twittering of birds and the growling of bears. Civilised human life is more complicated and dense, and nothing at all is discoverable about it by playing in that way the flute or the bagpipes. On the contrary, the order of nature is disguised or reversed by dialectic. Parmenides and Plato and Anaxagoras, by tracing thin rays of identity, implication or contradiction in ideal essences, logical or moral, cast an imaginary net over the world, like the parallels and meridians that modern geographers cast over the lands and seas of the earth; good terms in which to describe positions and distances between port and port in their voyages, but irrelevant to the hills and valleys, the nights and days, the works and the wars that diversify the world for its inhabitants. If language exhausted nature and logic could control facts, a mythologising moralist no doubt would have good sport, and Socrates might successfully confine beauty to the expression of vital and moral perfection. But perfections are multiple, and the beauty of one thing is incompatible with that of another. So with the virtues of different men, or ages, or nations: and Socrates and you [Alcibiades], though thinking you still worshipped the gods of Hellas, really were forerunners of very un-Greek loves and very romantic rebellions.

Dialogues 2d at 216-217 (The Vortex of Dialectic) [#356 1948]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I am flattered at being counted as an American writer, although I am not an American citizen . . . .

Letters 8:23 (To Ginn and Company, Rome, February 10, 1948) [#103 1948]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[Aristotle] has a fuller and clearer description of [the psyche] than [its being the form of the body] where he says that the psyche is the first entelechy (or functional perfection) of a natural organic body; and further he distinguishes the first entelechy for instance of the general's psyche when on the eve of battle he is asleep in his tent, from the second entelechy when in the morning he is mounted on his horse and giving orders in the midst of battle. The functional perfection, ready to act or acting, of a natural organic body is precisely what I take the psyche to be . . . . [T]he organic constitution and organic action of the body are the psyche.

Letters 8:37 (To Thomas Nolan Munson, Rome, March 12, 1948) [#72 1948]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[L]ife has now become an experiment[,] not the old old story that it used to be.

Letters 8:113 (To Peter Robert Edwin Viereck, Rome, October 30, 1948) [#126 1948]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Spirit (or attention) can never be disembodied: therefore it is never solipsistic in fact; yet it is, in each intuition or feeling, a focus, transcendental and invisible, for whatever it sees. The Germans confuse this transcendental function with dynamic mythical “spirits” existing in a void.

Letters 8:117 (To Richard Colton Lyon, Rome, November 7, 1948) [#411 1948]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

[T]he same hidden life [of the psyche] is revealed privately to himself by his thoughts, although what a man thinks is the most superficial part of his total being.

Lach's Animal Faith at 115 (Some Developments of Materialism) [#568 1949]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

And what, properly speaking, is dialectic? Only, I think, a play of variations in meaning. It was invented by the Sophists, as a method of confusing and discrediting all received opinions. It was rescued and turned against its inventors by Socrates, without making it into a pure logic: for dialectic had, and has always retained, an element of foresight and malicious intent, which in Socrates became benevolent irony. He employed dialectic in the pursuit of self-knowledge, in the effort to discover, beneath current language and prejudice, what at bottom a man really thought or loved.

Lach's Animal Faith at 119 (Some Developments of Materialism) [#38 1949]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

Would a materialism free from all admixture of idealism or militancy involve any particular code of politics or morals? Essentially and directly, it would not. . . . Moreover, materialism traces, and traces sympathetically, the whole generative movement of nature; it feels the equal right of every animal to strive to live, and in that sense its sympathies might be called democratic. A moral ideal in this system must be omnimodal or, if you prefer, non-existent. But at the same time materialism records, at every step, the ruin of everything that is inopportune, the agony of crime, the ignominy of vice, the madness of passion. Thus the picture it paints of existence is full of silent warnings and monitions, yet also full of glorious and lovely models. In this sense the tragic but stimulating lesson it teaches is aristocratic, severe, hard-hearted, yet always leaving a tempting vista open to the bold, to the artistic, and to the thinker. It invites all nations and all arts to try their luck: but it discloses a past covered with ruins, and a future in which little that we can care for or understand may be expected to exist.

Lach's Animal Faith at 121-122 (Some Developments of Materialism) [#147 1949]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

Thus materialism also, by its very hopelessness, opens the way to metanoia. For it, as for the Indian sages, the endless succession of catastrophes and paradises is an old story. Redemption is not to be sought horizontally, but vertically. Life would be a predicament in any paradise; the point is to make a fine art of it, whatever it may chance to be. Claim possession of nothing that you are not ready to surrender. Then you may live a reasonable life—free, as Lucretius says, from care and from fear, with judicious abstention here, with smiling participation there, with perhaps some small achievement on your own part, and above all with a little of that philosophy which the ancients preached and sometimes even practiced. Then, neither boastfully nor mournfully, you might say to yourself daily: I have lived.

Lach's Animal Faith at 123-124 (Some Developments of Materialism) [#133 1949]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

An animal has inward invisible specific springs of action, called instincts, needs, passions, or interests; and it is only in relation to these psychic springs of action that Powers and Dominations can be distinguished. The criterion in politics is moral; and the agent in politics is not man as he appears to the senses, but an inner proclivity to action and passion that animates him, and that I call the psyche.

Dominations at 14 (The Agent in Politics Is the Psyche) [#183 1949]

From The Letters of George Santayana

. . . I am not a dogmatist in morals. It is for each man's nature—not for his consciousness or opinion—to determine what his "true" interests are.

Letters 8:143 (To Ervin Paul Hexner, Rome, February 28, 1949) [#567 1949]

From The Letters of George Santayana

My philosophy as a whole, and in its form of wisdom, is therefore very different from Berkeley's, although in the matter of nominalism I think I am more radical than he turned out to be in the end. . . . [My essences are] as multitudinous, separate, and "inert" as any nominalist could desire, and functionally they are just words. . . . They are only dramatic elements in the moral life of spirit, who lends them all their momentary deceptiveness, while they possess in themselves only an ideal timeless identity. Words, in every phase of their evolution, have this logical reality and this material non-existence. Plato's Ideas are for me just as "nominal" as any sensuous term.

Letters 8:147 (To Richard Colton Lyon, Rome, March 1, 1949) [#711 1949]

From The Letters of George Santayana

This is more artificial than anything in the Scholastics. I never felt so clearly what a fatal error the British school made in setting up "ideas" or "percepts" or whatever they call them, for constituents of the cosmos. They are appearances: and from the beginning animal faith, which [Bertrand Russell] calls animal inference . . . takes for a sign, a call, an aspect, even if at first faith (or intellect) has nothing but the casual appearance to describe it by. But it is a dynamic thing, a force on the same plan as our total action.

Letters 8:150 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, March 15, 1949) [#776 1949]

From The Letters of George Santayana

My system is only a system of categories or grammar of human imagination, not claiming any scientific or literal or exclusive validity.

Letters 8:154 (To Wincenty Lutoslawski, Rome, April 20, 1949) [#304 1949]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Edwin Edman is a sour-sweet friend of my philosophy, but was (before last week) much offended at my Toryism which he felt to be Fascist. . . .

. . . .

I don't think I have moved, ever, either to the Right or to the Left. I have radiated, and now feel more at home than in my callow youth in both camps: but I don’t agree at all with the Left about the Right or with the Right about the Left. It is only where they love that they are intelligent, both of them, in regard to what is good in their object . . . .

Letters 8:202 (To Rimsa Michel, Rome, September 22, 1949) [#116 1949]

From The Letters of George Santayana

About my considering myself an American, there is some ambiguity. I am not legally an American citizen and travel with a Spanish passport: also pay the U.S. 30% of my income as taxes proper to a non-resident foreigner. But socially and as a writer, I am an American in practice, and almost all my friends have been Americans. Many of my books, however, were first published in England . . . .

Letters 8:205 (To Ira Detrich Cardiff, Rome, October 16, 1949) [#104 1949]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[In reading Padover's Thomas Jefferson on Democracy, I have reached one important conclusion:] That the American Revolution although more than twenty years earlier than the French was not at all the source of the French; but that Jefferson, whose views were very radical and who disliked the British good sense of the American Constitution was a Jacobin with Arcadian notions of democracy in idyllic villages with thatched roofs and Cincinnatus returning from the corrupting influence of even one year of power to sweat virtue at the plough.

I don't think "ideologies" particularly worth studying, but it is instructive to contrast the pictures they paint of the ideal with the facts. Humanitarians have an intense hatred of mankind as it is. Jefferson says somewhere . . . that he would like to exterminate all non-democrats from every country, and fill them all with Americans after his own heart. This is the principle on which Stalin acts.

Letters 8:253 to 8:254 (To Cyril Coniston Clemens, Rome, May 20, 1950) [#596 1950]

From The Letters of George Santayana

The American system cannot be imposed . . . because it conceives "democracy" to mean government by the majority, and respects elections fairly carried on. I think this trust in majorities is a dangerous and unjust method where there are profoundly rooted and numerous minorities (such as the Irish were under the British) . . . . And the respect for majorities instead of for wisdom is out of place in any matter of ultimate importance. It is reasonable only for settling matters of procedure in a way that causes as little friction as possible: but it is not right essentially because it condemns an ideal to defeat because a majority of one does not understand its excellence. It cuts off all possibility of a liberal civilization. And it is contrary to what American principles have been in the past, except in a few fanatics like Jefferson who had been caught by the wind of the French Revolution.

Letters 8:294 to 8:295 (To George Rauh, Rome, October 12, 1950) [#605 1950]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[M]y chief divergence from American views lies in that I am not a dogmatist in morals or politics and do not think that the same form of government can be good for everybody; except in those matters where everybody is subject to the same influence and has identical interests, as in the discipline of a ship in danger, or of a town when there is a contagious disease. But where the interests of people are moral and imaginative they ought to be free to govern themselves, as a poet should be free to write his own verses, however trashy they seem to the pundits of his native back yard. I think the universal authority ought to manage only economic, hygienic, and maritime affairs, in which the benefit of each is a benefit for all; but never the affairs of the heart in anybody.

Letters 8:294 (To George Rauh, Rome, October 12, 1950) [#606 1950]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

I have become aware that anyone's sense of what is good and beautiful must have a somewhat narrow foundation, namely, his circumstances and his particular brand of human nature; and he should not expect the good or the beautiful after his own heart to be greatly prevalent of long maintained in the world.

Dominations at vii (Preface) [#569 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

[T]he distinction between Dominations and Powers is moral, not physical. It . . . hang[s] . . . on its relation to the spontaneous life of some being that it affects.

Dominations at 1 (Title and Subject of This Book) [#182 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

In politics the philosopher is spared many a pitfall that he might walk into in physics and biology; his field is limited to human affairs. He need not trouble himself with truths deeper than conventional truths. He has to consider real events and real forces, which are all physical, even when they have a mental and moral accompaniment. In this sense he is a man of science, with the responsibilities of an inquirer after the truth, and not, in intention, a composer of historical romances. Yet his contact with the facts need not go deeper than the contacts which other people have had with them, or may have on other occasions. In this sense his field coincides with that of the historical novelist or literary psychologist. He is composing a drama as it might have been lived. But there is this difference: that his interest, if he is not a party man, is not chiefly emotional or centred in the episodes of the drama itself, as glorious or pitiful; his interest is philosophical and passes from the picturesque surface of those experiences to the causes and conditions that brought them about.

Dominations at 3 (The Sphere of Politics) [#253 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Life and spirit are not the cause of order in the world but its result.

Dominations at 9 (Naturalism) [#357 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

That in the heart of matter there was always a germ of spirit seems to me as much a truism as it would be to say that in a grape-seed lies the potentiality of the vine, the vine-leaves, and the grapes that actually grow out of it. 'Potentiality' does not signify the pre-existence of eventual things; it signifies only the existence of the conditions which, according to the process of nature, will bring those things about. I smile at the acrobatic logic of Leibnitz, who convinced himself that little feelings and ideas must exist in every minutest particle of cosmic substance. Anaxagoras had reasoned in that way in his qualitative atomism, thinking that metamorphosis must be as impossible in nature as in the realm of essence.

Dominations at 10-11 (The Roots of Spirit in Matter) [#67 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

That in the heart of matter there was always a germ of spirit seems to me as much a truism as it would be to say that in a grape-seed lies the potentiality of the vine, the vine-leaves, and the grapes that actually grow out of it. "Potentiality" does not signify the pre-existence of eventual things; it signifies only the existence of the conditions which, according to the process of nature, will bring those things about. I smile at the acrobatic logic of Leibnitz, who convinced himself that little feelings and ideas must exist in every minutest particle of cosmic substance. Anaxagoras had reasoned in that way in his qualitative atomism, thinking that metamorphosis must be as impossible in nature as in the realm of essence.

Dominations at 10-11 (The Roots of Spirit in Matter) [#386 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

A materialist is therefore fundamentally a naturalist, and begins, not with any theory of the essence of matter, but with the natural assumption made by children and poets that he is living in an existing and persisting world in which there are rocks and trees, men and animals, feelings and dreams; yet the philosophical naturalist has stopped to observe how these things change and grow, often passing into one another, and eating one another up: so that they suggest to him the belief that something continuous runs through them, makes them up, or causes them to appear. But the appearances are not parts of the material object, since they change with the distance, position, and condition of the observer; often, too, when no such object exists, as in the case of illusions and dreams. If on examination and in the practice of the arts the naturalist thinks this theory verified, he has become a materialist.

Now in denying immaterial agencies, the materialist does not deny that material agencies may be at the same time animated by ideal motives and moral purposes.

Dominations at 18-19 (Whether Naturalism is Irreligious) [#213 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Suppose now we define religion to be the recognition of the Powers on which our destiny truly depends, and the art of propitiating those Powers and of living, as far as the power in us avails, in devout harmony with them. We should not be friends of religion if we confined it to proclaiming imaginary powers, and living under the real ones in ignorance and despair. A religion worth having must recognise true Powers, however poetical the form may be which that religion lends them; and it must tend to establish peace and sanity in the mind, not fanatical madness. That imagination plays a great part in popular religions, and that fanaticism often invades them, cannot be denied by a materialist; but the fanaticism is often inspired by political motives, as fanatical persecution of religion is also; it is a political rather than a religious vice. Asceticism, on the other hand, has religious motives, and becomes a vice when carried too far; but then the wiser religious authorities themselves condemn it. And the same may be said of the riot of fancy and superstition in some religions. Without killing the imagination that bred religious ideas, theology may interpret them philosophically; and in this the materialist may consistently join.

Dominations at 19-20 (Whether Naturalism is Irreligious) [#83 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

For in [the naturalist's] own system imagination is the sphere of all appearances; and for him too everything sensuous, conceptual, and moral is only a symbol for the natural facts.

. . . .

. . . . So much he may consistently feel and say without transcending the natural sphere, but still taking the imagination only for a system of signs, to be interpreted as effects produced in the animal psyche by the revolutions of matter within and without that animal.

But this is not the end: for images have other properties and other uses for the spirit beside their value as signals relevant to action. . . .

Dominations at 20-21 (Whether Naturalism is Irreligious) [#493 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

For this reason Aristotle (who in spite of realistic observation and judgment was at bottom a disciple of Socrates and Plato) believed that all motion and change were violently imposed; that they were all not powers but dominations. Even the planets . . . were impelled thus to labour only by hopeless love of something immutable, namely, of eternal mind. This he taught although he was no poet; or rather, because he was no poet, he could believe that utility governed the world, and that nothing could exist save for the sake of something else. In this, as in the Platonic worship of essence, there was tragic wisdom; but it expresses the ultimate religion of spirit, not the primary motive power or Will in nature. It therefore inverts, by a schoolmaster's fallacy, the generative order of life and of society, as if grammars had been written first, and children manufactured afterwards, rather unsuccessfully, to learn them.

Dominations at 39 (Primal Will) [#358 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

A need is not a good. It denotes a condition to be fulfilled before some natural virtue can be exercised and some true good thereby attained. To feel needs is to feel separated from the good by some unfulfilled prerequisite to possessing it.

Dominations at 40 (Primal Will) [#49 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Primal Will, as I understand it, is not coextensive with the entire automatism in nature. Automatism and Will are indeed akin, and the first always subtends and envelops the second. Will, however, though it does not imply intelligence or premeditation, does imply eagerness to act. For this reason I should not attribute Will to plants, in spite of the precise and persistent order of their growth.

Dominations at 41 (Needs and Demands) [#96 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

By the word 'Will,' written with a capital, I understand the universal movement of nature, even if quite unconscious, in so far as running through a cycle or trope it precipitates a result that seems to us a consummation. When this Will in man foresees and desires some consummation, perhaps impossible, I call it will in the psychological sense, and write the word with a small letter.

Dominations at 41 note 1 (Needs and Demands) [#97 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

[The intuition of truth which we may draw from the earnest and deep-rooted conviction of many conscientious people who are sure that there is absolute contingency in their deliberate choices is] the inadequacy of the conscious arguments crowding and disputing in the mind to cause or justify the decisions taken. With this comes also the intuition of a positive truth, that beneath that loud forum of sophistical pleadings there is a silent judge, the self, that decides according to its free will, contingently, and inexplicably. For the close texture of events in nature is what it is by chance; yet what it is by chance determines, according to the occasion offered, what it shall do by nature. The affinities of this self are far more constant and certain than the passing passions or influences that may absorb conscious attention. Therefore the self can check its reasoning fancy; it can repel sensuous suggestions; it can seek dangerous adventures apparently without reason; it can recover its freedom, and reverse its habits and opinions. Moreover, this hidden self is, like every other centre or kind of movement in nature, perfectly contingent in being groundlessly determinate; and to this profound characteristic of all existence self-consciousness bears witness in the conviction that a man is the author of his actions, and that his actions are free.

The consciousness of acting freely, and not by the measured weight of motives or reason, has therefore a natural basis, not only in human nature, but in the essence of all existence. But it is not so that in Christendom this feeling has been interpreted. Instead of fetching man's vital initiative from the very rudiments of life, spontaneity has been attenuated into something non-natural and nonsensical . . . . Responsible was only the free will which wickedly chose sin, when the motives for sinning and for not sinning were naturally perfectly balanced. . . .

This is not the place for examining the mythological and conceptual habits of thought that led to this singular conclusion; they are a part of the verbal and imaginative jungle which the exuberant fertility of nature breeds in the innocent mind. And society has done much to aggravate the confusion and the pain of these moral entanglements; for it has imposed codes and logics on minds that had not that natural bent, and loaded with praise and opprobrium, to which the social man is keenly sensitive, the congenital choices of his blind heart.

Dominations at 53-54 (Liberty of Indifference) [#685 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

By 'spirit' I do not understand any separate power, soul, person, or deity persisting through time with an individual character, like a dramatic personage. I understand by 'spirit' only the awakened inner attention that suffuses all actual feelings and thoughts, no matter how scattered they may be and how momentary, whether existing in an ephemeral insect or in the eternal omniscience of God. Spirit so conceived is not an individual but a category: it is life in so far as it reaches pure actuality in feeling or in thought.

Dominations at 55 (Captive Spirit and Its Possible Freedom) [#84 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

[P]olitics is a moral subject and it is the earthly fortunes of spirit that, at bottom, are its theme . . . .

Dominations at 55 (Captive Spirit and Its Possible Freedom) [#185 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

By "spirit" I do not understand any separate power, soul, person, or deity persisting through time with an individual character, like a dramatic personage. I understand by "spirit" only the awakened inner attention that suffuses all actual feelings and thoughts, no matter how scattered they may be and how momentary, whether existing in an ephemeral insect or in the eternal omniscience of God. Spirit so conceived is not an individual but a category: it is life in so far as it reaches pure actuality in feeling or in thought.

Dominations at 55 (Captive Spirit and Its Possible Freedom) [#305 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

The word 'moral' comes from the Latin mores, customs.

Dominations at 70 note 1 (Servitude to Custom) [#602 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

The word 'moral' comes from the Latin mores, customs.

Dominations at 70 note 1 (Servitude to Custom) [#186 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

This custom, when it arises, cannot have proved fatal to the race, where it still lasts; but short of that extremity, there is hardly any degree of constraint, cruelty, and ineptitude which may not characterise custom. The stupid moralism which clings to it is like that which assumes the inevitableness of a given language.

Dominations at 70 (Servitude to Custom) [#591 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Man, however, is not one of these purely instrumental animals. He is a selfish or, as he calls it, a rational creature, and nothing offends him more than to feel himself a slave.

Dominations at 71 (Natural Selfishness and Unselfishness) [#129 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Now, when an animal is tamed he has been more or less kindly persuaded. We might say that his original vital initiative has been acknowledged, studied, and cleverly turned to the trainer's uses. In one sense his free will has been enlisted, according to the contract-theory of government.

Dominations at 74 (Slavery) [#633 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Such consciousness of preference, and such orders published to the world to conform to these preferences, are common in societies without government, and may even be made in soliloquy, as in prayers and curses; but the passage is easy from preferences expressed in imperious maxims to the systematic use of force and the establishment of law. All that need be added is a certain countenance from public opinion, and a precedent that the general judgment is to be enforced. Such a precedent is not far to seek; for impulsive men and mobs enforce their wills before they express them in words or even in thought. By the time a law is established, an organ for enforcing it already exists in the strong right arm of the legislator, probably not unpractised in anticipating his legislation by a vigorous use of the cudgel.

Indeed, custom in most communities is far more sacred and unbreakable than law, and some spontaneous authority, chieftain, prophet, or boss is more respected than the government. Political institutions do not serve to establish the ascendency of rules in society; they serve merely to register this ascendency or to apply it in detail, or determine it precisely in debatable instances. It is for this reason, doubtless, that politics seem to deal so preponderantly with questions of men and methods; large questions of policy and of human ideals are settled behind the politician's back by the growth of social institutions. The monarchy, the town meeting, the Church, the army, the family, property, justice, all arise and are virtually in operation before a law or an explicit agreement consecrates or defines them; and the history of politics is accordingly reduced almost entirely to the compromises and transitions between ruling interests when they conflict openly and threaten a civil war.

Dominations at 78-79 (Transition from Custom to Government) [#603 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

It is much in the same way that social rules relating to crime and to property pass under the aegis of governments and become formal laws. The submission to government is never complete, e.g. property in small articles . . . is not legally controlled within families; and the punishment of many crimes is tacitly left to the art of self-defence, with words, fists, or revolvers. Law sometimes is superseded by the spontaneous actions of judges and juries, pronouncing the legally guilty innocent, or visa versa: then, as in the cases of Dreyfus and Madame Caillaux, strong social instinct or party passion consciously resumes its authority, and disdains legality. It is by no means to be assumed that legality in such a case is the better form of justice. For as in language and religion, so in the matter of crime or property, government introduces an external and often antithetical element. Enactment has taken the place of living social instinct, and the ideals which that instinct projects, which are the sole criteria of justice, may be thwarted rather than helped by that codification. What makes genial illegalities—duels, elopements, honourable perjuries, etc.—dangerous to society is not that they abstract from law—all true morality does so, because it is deeper than law—but that they often express an antiquated or partisan or disruptive ethos; a form of morality doubtless more vital but perhaps more partial than that which the written law has consecrated.

Dominations at 81-82 (Transition from Custom to Government) [#601 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

It is not at all true that, as Virgil says, mind agitates a lump of formless matter and mixes itself with the vast body of nature. Mind would have to become matter before it could do that. Nor is it true even in human fine arts or in eloquence that there is a previous purely mental image that the sculptor's hand or the speaker's words retrace when they are inspired.

Dominations at 96 (Ambiguity of 'Spirit' in the Arts) [#442 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

The complete art of living would therefore be economic in its actions for the sake of being wholly liberal in its enjoyments.

Dominations at 152 (Economic and Liberal Interests in Religion) [#516 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

In strictness one might say that the ultimate Protestant ideal is to have no outward or specific religion at all—no priests, churches, theology, Scripture or Sabbath, and indeed, no God. This position has not been reached by most Protestants, but I think that the nearer they come to it the more Protestant they are. It is the position of the great German idealists, who have brought the Protestant spirit to its perfect and most speculative expression.

Dominations at 166-167 (How Religion May Become Political) [#756 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Yet it was a true scandal, born of their mixed moral education, Christian and pagan, to confuse the natural history of politics with rational government. It is an old trick. Nurses sometimes say: Little boys never do that; and the tempter will whisper: Have a cigarette. All the boys smoke. Both assertions are falsely generalised; but the subtle poison lies in the suggestion that what is done is right, and what is not done is wrong. This is a double non sequitur : and apart from logical scruples it is false morality, since much that is done is certainly wrong for its purposes, and much that is purposed is heartless or foolish in itself.

Dominations at 209 (Realpolitik) [#139 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

[T]he notion of a merciless natural order may some day acquire its right of domicile in the mind . . . . Natural piety has never attempted to moralise the cosmos, but only to recognise in that non-moral natural order the reservoir of force and the field of action proper for man and his morality.

Dominations at 215-216 (The Ravages of War) [#187 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

[A]nd what is philosophy, as the governance and appreciation of life, except religion liberated from groundless fear or anxiety, that is to say from superstition, and also from rage at honest illusions?

Dominations at 285 (Militant Religions) [#254 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Now when I say that morals and knowledge (not the truth, but opinions regarding the truth) and all judgments about right and wrong (not all goods) are relative I mean something entirely different [from the Sophists, empiricists, German idealists, and other subjective schools, insofar as each holds that morals and science, goodness and truth, could never be anything but the feeling or thought that each man had of them at each moment]. I mean that opinions and judgments arise in psyches and express the capacity and inevitableness of such opinions and judgments arising at each moment in each psyche; but the degree of their truth depends on the relation that their several deliverances have to the facts that provoke them and that they mean to refer to.

Dominations at 302 (Relativity of Knowledge and of Morals) [#592 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Nothing could therefore be more false, and willfully ignorant, than to maintain with the Greek Sophists and the British empiricists (when both are radical and consistent) that knowledge and judgment refer to nothing and are always equally true and valid, in the sense that each is equally real—as a sensation when it is felt. Their relativity, properly understood, far from making opinions and judgments worthless renders them capable of some degree of truth and justness, since they express the sensibility of a living psyche, according to its endowment and development, to the influences that reach it, and determine its fate, in the natural world.

Dominations at 303 (Relativity of Knowledge and of Morals) [#782 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Nothing could therefore be more false, and willfully ignorant, than to maintain with the Greek Sophists and the British empiricists (when both are radical and consistent) that knowledge and judgment refer to nothing and are always equally true and valid, in the sense that each is equally real—as a sensation when it is felt. Their relativity, properly understood, far from making opinions and judgments worthless renders them capable of some degree of truth and justness, since they express the sensibility of a living psyche, according to its endowment and development, to the influences that reach it, and determine its fate, in the natural world.

Dominations at 303 (Relativity of Knowledge and of Morals) [#593 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Since it is relative to temporary needs progress cannot last without losing gradually its moral identity; but the very impossibility of an absolute moral standard justifies the relative moral authority of vital Will, in its own sphere, wherever it arises. The contrary values that the same events may have for contrary interests does not obscure the exact value that each event may have for each of those interests.

Dominations at 341 (Confusions About Progress) [#594 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

It is one of the anomalies of the English mind that while in moral sentiment it makes this margin [for the waywardness of individuals] very narrow, especially among strict liberals, in political theory it leaves it immense; for in the doctrine of liberalism, which is an English product, only the province of the police (that is, safety of person and property) stands subject to control and imposes a duty to collaborate; while in everything intellectual or ideal each man should bravely paddle his own canoe.

But nature does not allow this sort of division of labour, because in the actual order of things what is ideal and intellectual is but the free life and expression of what is material. If you organise the state and industry (say, on the immutable basis of universal competition, free trade, and the right of inheritance) with compulsory state education, monogamy, severe laws against libel and slander, and a science in which all men share, accepting one another's discoveries, then it would be perfectly idle for you to leave thought and love and religion free; a bird in the cage is free in the same way to flap its wings.

It is a material social bondage that enslaves the mind, which cannot be otherwise enslaved; and freedom of mind depends on freedom to rearrange material conditions so that, living under them, the mind may flourish effectually.

The political order that a radical liberalism would establish is therefore a Domination and not a rational order. . . . Liberal society is therefore compelled to form all manner of voluntary private societies to replenish the human vacuity of its political life; but these private societies, being without power or material roots, remain ghostly and artificial. Private busybodies cannot fill the void in the heart of the political animal, hungry for friendship, for action, for distinction, for perilous adventures, and for rare accomplishments to be achieved in common.

Dominations at 352-353 (Moral Unanimity Impossible) [#778 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

If society does not actually feel or think, actual feeling or thinking, in its turn, is not a society of self-existing 'ideas' or 'perceptions,' as British empiricism would have it.

Dominations at 371 (Representative Government I: Only Generated Organisms Can Live or Think) [#198 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

This potential revival of past perceptions really occurs . . . . Such recurrence is naturally explicable only because the same living organism endures, with its always total, though always differently focused and selective consciousness. So the feelings that were once new and central recur marginally or merely suggest themselves, whenever the original process that caused them is reawakened in the organism . . . .

Dominations at 371-372 (Representative Government I: Only Generated Organisms Can Live or Think) [#443 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Reason is a species of insight, by which essential relations are seen to obtain between ideal terms. It therefore cannot arise before animal sensibility has offered such terms to actual attention, and until the stress of anxious life has given the mind time to pause and notice the peculiar character of one given term contrasted with the peculiar character of another: as for instance the difference, when a cloud suddenly hides the sun, between sunshine and shade.

Dominations at 373 (Representative Government II: Moral Representation in Nature) [#78 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

A literary philosopher may imagine that moral harmonies presuppose reason; yet in the generative order of nature the opposite is the case. Many a harmony must be established in the cosmos and in some animal psyche before reason dawns on any living mind.

Dominations at 373 (Representative Government II: Moral Representation in Nature) [#359 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Rational government is an art, requiring the widest knowledge and the most perfect disinterestedness. It should be steady and traditional, yet open to continual readjustments with the natural shifts of customs, passions, and aspirations in the world. Reason cannot define or codify human nature: that is the error of militant sects and factions. But it can exercise a modicum of control over local and temporal impulses and keep at least an ideal of spiritual liberty and social justice before the public eye.

Dominations at 382 (Representative Government III: Moral Representation in Society) [#599 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Reason cannot define or codify human nature: that is the error of militant sects and factions. But it can exercise a modicum of control over local and temporal impulses and keep at least an ideal of spiritual liberty and social justice before the public eye.

Dominations at 382 (Representative Government III: Moral Representation in Society) [#570 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Something may nevertheless arise in a society that corresponds in part to the integration of principles and virtues in an individual. As there are traditions and customs in primitive peoples, so in civilised peoples there are laws and institutions. . . .

. . . . That which enables a people to exercise the function of government is the prior existence and tacit acceptance of traditions, laws, and institutions which already govern them.

Dominations at 408 ("Government By the People" II: Psychology of Agreement) [#620 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

In trial by jury, where property, reputation, and life are at stake, the jurors are chosen by lot, and unanimity is required to secure a verdict. Here democracy appears unalloyed, and gives general satisfaction. It is true, however, among Anglo-Saxons, that the judge supplies an important element of authority, tradition, legality, and political wisdom in conducting the case and pronouncing a sentence. To the jury only those points are submitted in which common sense is the best judge: the credibility of witnesses, and the character and probable motives of the litigants.

Dominations at 413 ("Government By the People" III: Ethics of Compromise) [#623 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Custom is the greatest source of acquiescence, when the custom is congenial to the native temperament; by invoking custom, a government seems to make a concession to the popular mind, while in fact reinforcing compulsion—since custom is contagious and intolerant. Custom is the soul of law, law being useless unless customarily obeyed; and only custom with the temperament expressed in custom can reassure a government about the future, as every government needs to be reassured. . . .

. . . .

. . . . Acquiescence has ceased to be regarded as a minimum ulterior requirement for the exercise of government. Under the name of 'the consent of the governed,' it has been turned into the positive source of authority. . . .

. . . .

. . . . [A] customary acquiescence, and not a more explicit consent, is requisite for good government. Acquiescence expresses an adjustment already made, or in the making, to normal conditions, not in themselves favourable, yet impossible to disregard if action is to be successful, since it is precisely these imposed conditions, and the requisite adjustments to them, that good government embodies.

If . . . the government asked for more than acquiescence, and sought to base its measures on a previous assent obtained from the people, or even waited for the people to suggest the measures to be adopted, then government would be nothing but pensioned go-betweens and officious parasites, as politicians actually are. . . . Popular initiative, popular assent, and popular direction are not impossible in certain matters at certain moments; there is lynch law and mob-rule and acclamation of some hero, carried shoulder-high, to be Caesar; but as this last instance shows, such positive sovereignty of common Will can only be instantaneous; it dissolves upon being exercised; and either primitive anarchy returns, or some governing body survives, takes the reins in its hands, and requires popular acquiescence to do its work properly.

Dominations at 417-421 ("Government By the People" IV: Acquiescence) [#604 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Here we come upon the [third] function [of seven discussed] that governments most readily exercise and make the basis of their permanent domination: the function of defence. . . .

The people, however, will soon have occasion to ask: Who shall defend us against our defenders? And it will probably find in its own customs, or in those of its masters, a tribunal to which it can appeal; because the office of judge is paternal and was sanctioned religiously long before there were political governments. The abuses of one agent of government may thus be controlled by appealing to another agent, morally independent and prior, although perhaps later absorbed and corrupted by the political authorities.

Unfortunately the greatest abuse of governments, by which they act most radically against the good of the people, is one which no judiciary can control even if its own authority be traditionally higher than that of the actual power.

Dominations at 423 ("Government For the People" I: First Aims Proper to Government) [#622 1951]

From Dominations and Powers: Reflections on Liberty, Society, and Government

Thus a psyche (the unified movement of a natural organic body) when it is well-knit and capable of self-knowledge may possibly establish liberty and justice in its internal economy and in its action. But the life of families and nations is many-centred; and the social impulses that sway such an aggregate take root more or less deeply and more or less casually in each individual. Therefore in the state of nature there can be often wild rebellion, when the individual asserting liberty and justice after his own heart becomes indistinguishably a hero and a criminal; or else there may be only mindless submission to the domination of custom, of a magnetic leader, or of a superstitious spell. A social order approaching rationality can be secured only by institutions; that is to say, by artificial organisms, robber bands, secret societies, religious fraternities, or political governments, that can sanction verbal laws by force.

Dominations at 429 ("Government For the People" II: Government Cannot Serve All Interests) [#621 1951]

From The Genteel Tradition at Bay

There can be, I should say, no morality where there is no nature determining the needs, demands, and innate aspirations of living creatures.

If such a creature were the only one of his race or in his circumstances, his good or his duties could be based only on his own idiosyncracies.

If there are many, or a close sect, of similar creatures, the assurance with which each, if alone, would have distinguished his good or duty will be vastly intensified by the herd instinct confirming and solidifying that animal assurance. This is what happens to sects and nations of all sorts.

But in society, while natural virtues are sanctified by unanimity, they are rendered sad and embarrassed by contradiction, and arguments are sought for persuading oneself and others that one is right and others wrong.

But this is foolish. If each knows himself he knows what is good for him by nature, and he must ask others, as Socrates did, to say for themselves each whether his own heart has the same voice.

Genteel Tradition at Bay 8:371 (To John W. Yolton, Rome, July 12, 1951) [#571 1951]

From The Letters of George Santayana

To my old-fashioned terminology, a Humanist means a person saturated in the humanities: Humanism is something cultural: an accomplishment, not a doctrine. . . . But unfortunately there is also a metaphysical or cosmological humanism or moralism which maintains that the world is governed by human interests and an alleged universal moral sense. This cosmic humanism for realists, who believe that knowledge has a prior and independent object which sense or thought signify, might be some religious orthodoxy, for idealists and phenomenalists an oracular destiny or dialectical evolution dominating the dream of life. This "humanism" is what I call egotism or moralism, and reject altogether.

Letters 8:328 to 8:327 (To Warren Allen Smith, Rome, February 9, 1951) [#204 1951]

From The Letters of George Santayana

But I think reason, as applied to action, is a passion like any other, the desire to achieve harmony among all the impulses of the psyche, which desire is itself one of those impulses, like that of steadying yourself when you are walking along a narrow plank. Pure reason, if an intellectual and not a vital power, might just as well be pleased by toppling over as by walking straight.

Letters 8:338 (To Robert Traill Spence Lowell, Jr., Rome, March 1, 1951) [#79 1951]

From The Letters of George Santayana

My book does not pretend to be a mere description, in physics and history; it is philosophical; that is, it selects and compares features in both directions, as they appear from a cosmic point of view. Now my cosmic point of view, from which I seem to myself to discover the origins and mutual relations of these chosen facts and judgements, is naturalistic.

Letters 8:379 (To John W. Yolton, Rome, August 20, 1951) [#255 1951]

From The Letters of George Santayana

This is the chief error of fact in my critics. They are positivists; apparently know nothing of poetry, history, or religion except their physical obstructive presence as words, events, and ceremonies. But I never, not in my earliest boyhood, was superstitious. I never expected fictions to interfere with or prolong physical processes. In this sense I never believe in another world that coexisted with this one. What I suffered from was distaste for this world, and liking in pure speculation, in a sort [of] challenge, to say "Life is a Dream". It was not the Bible stories or the Church dogmas that troubled me. I was perfectly at home with them; but being dreams, and exercising no compulsion over me or my actions, they were all more or less welcome, according to the imagination and emotion that belonged to them, as to Greek or Shakespearean tragedies[.] The idea of your friend (and of all positivists) that it is the outside, the cultus, that attaches people to the Church is based simply on ignorance. Most Catholic crowds have little aesthetic perception; but they have dramatic sympathy; they feel the catharsis of the passions evoked, and the ceremonies merely stage the play that fills the imagination. But when people have no imagination (or take such as they have for true knowledge of fact) they cannot conceive anything of human importance, history, poetry, religion, or art, as anything but true or false reporting of physical events in our world. If our world was a dream (and so it actually is in its sensuous or imaginative dimensions) it will vanish for each of us when we die. Nothing will probably succeed it for us: but other dreams are probably present to spirit at other times, seeming other worlds. Our good dreams (poetry) are, however, a part of our world, its best part, because they are focussed on what is, for us, most congenial. There is therefore no conflict in a disillusioned mind, between science and poetry, or religion well understood.

Letters 8:385 to 8:386 (To Ira Detrich Cardiff, Rome, August 31, 1951) [#739 1951]

From The Letters of George Santayana

I hope you will not go in your book into the possibility of my replacing Aristotle as the accepted pagan philosopher for Catholics. The Church is founded on Judaism; it accepts a naturalism with miraculous powers secretly controlling it, and controlling each soul. My naturalism does not admit a moral or humanistic control over the cosmos; and it puts spirit at the top, and accidental ultimate self-awakening of organic formations, themselves perfectly automatic. Spirit comes and goes in the world like dew in the morning. That is not compatible with the supernatural realism and monarchical theism of the Church.

Letters 8:389 (To Robert C. Hahnel, Rome, October 3, 1951) [#740 1951]

From The Letters of George Santayana

The English and German philosophy that we have become accustomed to is not normal. They are both, though differently, subjective, and therefore on a by-path in nature, the English being only literary psychology or autobiography and the German moralistic mythology.

Letters 8:395 (To Richard Colton Lyon, Rome, November 11, 1951) [#784 1951]

From The Letters of George Santayana

[Berkeley and Hume] never seemed to me to belong, as the English think, to the main line of philosophy, but to a loop-line called subjectivism, and limited, in appeal, to the Protestant and romantic movements.

Letters 8:425 (To Richard Colton Lyon, Rome, March 9, 1952) [#785 1952]

From The Letters of George Santayana

Poetry should be made the standard of science, not vice-versa.

Letters 8:447 (To Daniel MacGhie Cory, Rome, May 30, 1952) [#108 1952]

From The Letters of George Santayana

But religions have always appealed to me as myths more or less expressing the fortunes of spirit in the world that generates it, as in theology the Holy Ghost "proceeds" from the Father (Matter) and from the Son (Form) but suffers a good deal (as Christ did by being incarnate).

Letters 8:448 (To Cyril Coniston Clemens, Rome, June 2, 1952) [#340 1952]

From The Letters of George Santayana

It has occurred to me that the most radical way of describing my ethics is to say that its principle is not Duty but Virtue. It is only when a particular duty is an exercise of natural virtue that it can be binding morally.

Letters 8:459 (To Bruno Lind, Rome, July 18, 1952) [#146 1952]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

Catholicism is paganism spiritualised: it is fundamentally naturalistic; and the transcendental spirit and the wise statesman may accept Catholicism, where it naturally arises, as a good poetic symbol for the forces and the issues of human life in that phase; not, however, as a scientific revelation of reality or a history of literal facts. Religion is valid poetry infused into common life. It is not a revelation truer than perception or than science.

Persons and Places at 492 (Oxford Friends) [#737 1953]

From Persons and Places: fragments of autobiography

Nothing living is a means: all is automatic, spontaneous, justified by whatever it tends to and loves.

Persons and Places at 495 (Oxford Friends) [#130 1953]

From The Life of Reason

What I have yearned for all my life is not so much cosmic unity—like Whitehead, but simply 'completion'. If I see a circle half-drawn, I yearn to complete it.

Cory's Life of Reason at vi (Preface) [#790 1954]

From The Idler and His Works, and Other Essays

Americanism allows that laissez-faire in moral life which it denies in commerce and industry. Not, of course, that it officially tolerates burglars, murderers, forgers, or adulterers. Legal morality still adheres to the general code of Christendom: but all religions, and therefore all theoretical codes of morals, were to be equally tolerated. The question at once arises, how long, if all moral codes are tolerated, those who hold those views can be restrained from putting them in practice. And what authority can the dominant morality retain? Evidently none: yet it is wonderful how long it has taken the liberal world to discover that it has deliberately abandoned mankind to moral anarchy. It has been only in recent years that the Russian revolution, Madam Caillaux, D. H. Lawrence, André Gide have openly and conscientiously written down robbery, murder, adultery, and sodomy among the inalienable rights of man.

Cory's Idler at 206 (Americanism) [#617 1955]

From The Birth of Reason & Other Essays

There was a third type of reflection, besides myth and science, that prepossessed the Greek thinkers. Their civilization had become dialectical; they were all orators, arguers, disputants. No less than on shapes and stories, they doted on words. Now it was the power of words, over subtle minds familiar with the vocabulary and grammar only of their native language, that led to what seems to me the first false step in Greek philosophy. Their budding natural science was confused with dialectic, which is play with the ambiguously branching meanings of words. Oracular force attributed to these meanings denaturalised myth into revelation.

Cory's Birth of Reason at 148 (On the False Steps of Philosophy) [#37 1964]

From The Birth of Reason & Other Essays

[I]t is chiefly the impact of surrounding bodies, or troubles, needs, and impulses in his own organism, that cause ideas to appear before his mind. To these removed facts his instincts and actions then adjust themselves automatically . . . . And the same animal life lends to these ideas another quality . . . : they become welcome or unwelcome, enticing or terrible. So appearance announces reality. The trivial spectrum of logic and aesthetics borrows the deep thunder and colouring of a moral world.

Cory's Birth of Reason at 158 (On the False Steps of Philosophy) [#181 1964]

From The Birth of Reason & Other Essays

[I]t is chiefly the impact of surrounding bodies, or troubles, needs, and impulses in his own organism, that cause ideas to appear before his mind. To these removed facts his instincts and actions then adjust themselves automatically . . . .

Cory's Birth of Reason at 158 (On the False Steps of Philosophy) [#441 1964]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

[By interpreting behaviourism idealistically, we] shall then be brought back to psychologism, the theory which conceives nature to be composed exclusively of various strands of feelings, and thoughts. Psychologism is one of the modern forms of idealism, transcendentalism being the other: and since transcendentalism can escape materialism if it remains a romantic attitude, without any dogmatic cosmology, dogmatic history, dogmatic psychology, or dogmatic memory, so too psychologism may escape materialism if it remains purely literary, like the world of a novel, and when pressed to specify where the existential elements of its literary landscapes are to be found, retires into the citadel of transcendentalism, and says they are found by being feigned, or by being actually experienced. But if transcendentalists find it impossible, in constructing a system, to avoid some dogmatic beliefs, say as to the course of events, the psychologists do not even attempt such rigour; and they take for granted that perfectly well-known experiences fall to everyone''s share: that these persons communicate their feelings, know of one another's existence, and receive the same hard knocks at assignable times, without there existing any common environment, any spatial relations, or any connecting medium between their various experiences. Such, at least, would be their doctrine, if they had one . . . .

Lach's Animal Faith at 81 (Materialism of Idealists) [#206 1967]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

[D]eterminism itself, if it rules the world, rules it by chance.

Lach's Animal Faith at 142 (Inevitable Contingency of All Facts) [#697 1967]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

First in the order of genesis comes essence since it spreads out the field of forms through which existence may travel and may pick up one form after another along its special path. Matter in this order is second and truth third; for truth is the ideally complete description of the existing world, as it is, has been, and is to be. Finally spirit with all its discoveries comes last, because the psyche—without which spirit could not arise or live—is a trope established in matter; that is to say, a truth concerning the order and cohesion of certain events in the flux of nature. The tropes proper to spirit—the passions expressed in morals and in literary psychology—are truths about spirit which of course presuppose its existence: but the discovery of these tropes is itself subsequent to them; so that even here, when spirit considers its own career, the relevant spiritual act, the moral sentiment or psychological insight, chronicles a prior truth, and brings into the light of consciousness an order in events which, though the events were spiritual, had hitherto uncoiled itself unnoticed in the natural world.

Lach's Animal Faith at 145-146 (The Order of Genesis and the Order of Discovery) [#341 1967]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

When all things are possible, what wonder that some things should be actual? (This is my sole deduction of existence from essence.)

Lach's Animal Faith at 164 (Maxims) [#387 1967]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

There are three traps that strangle philosophy: the Church, the marriage-bed, and the professor's chair.

Lach's Animal Faith at 168 (Maxims) [#256 1967]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

The purpose itself arises by virtue of the ripening of certain actions, or impulses in the organism; these impulses, before the sort of action in question has been often performed or observed, come clothed only in vague feelings of uneasiness or impatience: but when the appropriate action is well-known, they come clothed in images picturing that action by anticipation: and the purpose in that case can prefigure graphically its probable or normal fulfilment. The issue is not called forth or shaped by that image in the mind: but the first images accompanying the purpose may be very like the images which perception of the result will arouse in the end: and this natural congruity in two pictures will be transformed by superstitious haste into the power of the first image—whose causes are ignored—to produce the material event which the second image reports to the same minds.

Lach's Animal Faith at 251 (Purposes and Results) [#444 1967]

From Animal Faith and Spiritual Life

The words entelechy and act or actuality, which I have used often to designate consciousness, are borrowed from Aristotle; and indeed I think no other philosopher has conceived the relation of the body to the mind that animates it so fairly and squarely.

Lach's Animal Faith at 279 (Comparison With Other Views of Spirit) [#39 1967]

From The Birth of Reason & Other Essays

The assimilation of all genesis in nature to animal generation, so that like must produce like, has been one of the chief sources of myth in philosophy. It has favoured the groundless prejudice that mind could only arise from mind: whereas mind, being something spiritual and unsubstantial, is a finality or entelechy involved in motion, and incapable of generating anything else.

Cory's Birth of Reason at 72 (Harmony) [#688 1968]

From The Birth of Reason & Other Essays

[W]hen existence is reduced by superficial analysis to a train of phenomena, so that all real genesis or derivation must be denied, the notion that like ought to breed like survives in the fancy, and phenomena are conceived somewhat like swarms of summer flies, subject to habit, and justifying their reappearance by the mere fact that they have often appeared before. But habit and facility in repetition are incongruous with pure essences, as Hume, the master of this method, was quick to see: they reside rather in the human psyche, which (though his phenomenalism forbade him to say so) is a self-sustaining and developing organisation in matter, like the life-cycle of insects, to which repetitions and rhythms are congruous and native.

Cory's Birth of Reason at 72 (Harmony) [#758 1968]

From The Birth of Reason & Other Essays

The question is not what effects friendship may have in the world, but what powers in the world may sustain or prevent friendship. Friendship is an elementary instance of something good in itself. . . . It is something spiritual, a phase of freedom. It can have no consequences. One of the blunders of philosophy has been to think of freedom as a cause. Freedom is a result of perfect organization. The problem is so to organise ourselves as to become free. Nature must do this for us, not a non-existent power called liberty; and our physical and psychical persons are the parts of nature that do this for the spirit within us, whenever they can.

Cory's Birth of Reason at 85 (Friendship) [#676 1968]

From The Birth of Reason & Other Essays

[M]y later writings have been devoted to discovering the natural categories of my spontaneous thought, and restating my opinions in those honest terms. It is essentially a literary labour, a form of art; and I do not attempt to drive other people to think as I do. Let them be their own poets.

Cory's Birth of Reason at 134 (Three American Philosophers) [#306 1968]

From The Birth of Reason & Other Essays

I cannot understand what satisfaction a philosopher can find in artifices, or in deceiving himself and others. I therefore like to call myself a materialist; but I leave the study and also the worship of matter to others, and my later writings have been devoted to discovering the natural categories of my spontaneous thought, and restating my opinions in those honest terms. It is essentially a literary labour, a form of art; and I do not attempt to drive other people to think as I do. Let them be their own poets.

Cory's Birth of Reason at 134 (Three American Philosophers) [#257 1968]

From The Birth of Reason & Other Essays

My first philosophical enthusiasm was for Catholic theology; I admired, and still admire, that magnificent construction and the spiritual discipline it can inspire; but I soon learned to admire also Hellenistic and Indian wisdom. All religions and moralities seem to me forms of paganism; only that in ages of ripe experience or of decadence they become penitential and subjective.

Cory's Birth of Reason at 134 (Three American Philosophers) [#741 1968]

From The Birth of Reason & Other Essays

If a man, dozing, brushes away a fly from his bald head, he need not have formed a clear image of that fly; yet his action shows an exact apprehension in his organism of an intrusion at that place. In more general terms, a living creature, beneath and before all imagination, is affected by the contact or even by the movement of objects, and has a propensity to react upon them.

Cory's Birth of Reason at 137 (Mind Liberating and Deceptive) [#445 1968]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

[C]auses can never be truly found, however, so long as appearances are not first reduced to the terms of substance, and the mechanism of this substance is not disclosed. For this reason only the exact physical and mathematical sciences can make any solid progress: in others, the superficial plane of the enquiry forbids all thorough understanding of the actual methods of change. In Darwinism, for instance, natural history seemed to take a great step forward: and so, indeed, it did, in that it conceived the possibility of reducing the superficial fact of diverse species, and the adaptation of their organs to one another and to the environment, to the mechanical influence of selection by death. Nevertheless, as the exact method of this selection was not traced, so as to become calculable mathematically, and as the exact origin of variations also remained unexplored, the positive gain and even the scientific tendency of Darwinism could come to be doubted: and it has not prevented a relapse into vitalism in some half-scientific quarters. The argument has even been heard that the "sciences of life" required a different method, because the mechanical method had not succeeded in dealing with them. These "sciences of life," however, are only the vague impressions and dreams of people unable to understand what occurs in nature: astronomy was once a ""science of life," of that of the beasts of the Zodiac, or of the divine children of Heaven. Natural history, psychology, and all other fields where observation remains superficial, can be distributed only into impressionistic units and described in rhetorical terms, so long as the substantial movement and inner connection of their objects is not discovered. If that should occur, however, the sciences of life would really begin to exist, because the mechanism of life would begin to be clear. Such understanding of nature everywhere on the material plane, with its universal order and consecutiveness, would not destroy, of course, the appearances from which human investigation must start. Astronomical appearances endure, and so vital appearances always will; but if they were understood they would cease to be confused with powers or causes, and to the great gain of the spirit, they would be recognised as that coinage of the brain which fancy is very cunning in; and as the ghosts disappeared, poetry would come into its own.

Lachs' Physical Order at 31-32 (Causation) [#360 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

To attribute one phenomenon to the influence of another phenomenon is superstition, or, when defended by philosophers, empiricism.

Lachs' Physical Order at 37 (Causation) [#199 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

But let me say this in passing: in considering existence, as in considering anything else, we need to distinguish the essence from the fact. The essence of existence, though indefinable like all simple essences, is familiar, being an object of continual intuition; but the fact of existence is an object of belief—a belief which is indeed inevitable in life, yet may be questioned by the determined sceptic and is actually denied by some mystics and logicians. . . .

Nature [for example] is defined by the forms and laws which it manifests and renders true. We may say that such forms and laws exist, because we find them illustrated in existence. In truth it is only the event that exists, bearing the name of the essence found in it. The difference between the two is manifest when we ask: Am I describing a fact by its given universal character, or am I noting this universal given character itself? The latter is the absolute datum; the fact is an object of intent and endeavour, a particular that I believe would exist whether it yields any datum to me or not.

Lachs' Physical Order at 91-92 (What are Data?) [#542 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

The whole distinction between sense-data, percepts, and concepts is psychological and historical.

Lachs' Physical Order at 98 (Essences Not Abstractions) [#714 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

[L]iving beings possess, or may develop, feeling and imagination; in which lies the essence of mind, and the ultimate good of existence.

Lachs' Physical Order at 101 (Two Idolatries) [#517 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

The notion of types or Platonic Ideas being the reality behind things is not now prevalent in physics, and never should have been so. It is an interpretation of discourse, not of nature; it belongs to moral philosophy, not natural science, since it clarifies the goals and meanings of human life, but never discloses the causes or origins of anything.

Lachs' Physical Order at 114 (Notions of Substance) [#188 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

The notion of types or Platonic Ideas being the reality behind things is not now prevalent in physics, and never should have been so. It is an interpretation of discourse, not of nature; it belongs to moral philosophy, not to natural science, since it clarifies the goals and meanings of human life, but never discloses the causes or origin of anything. Displaced and treated as natural powers, Platonic Ideas at once turn into metaphysical substances; they are undiscoverable and incongruous with material things, the real substance of which is simply what is to be found inside them. Nevertheless in discourse, in art, and in morals, the Platonic method is and must remain the sole method of reason. They are the essences, fixed by intent or hinted at by growth and inspiration, in which the spirit might find its congenial objects, and the counters of its game. They are not substances behind things, nor fixed patterns in nature, nor forces, nor prescribed forms, outside which it would be deformity to fall; they are essences above things, to which things have chosen to aspire, or ideals with which we have chosen to compare them.

Lachs' Physical Order at 114 (Notions of Substance) [#641 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

The honest effort of this school [empirical critics of knowledge] is to stick to the obvious and to discard all dogmatism and fiction: it is the stout spirit of Protestantism applied to logic. The obvious, they think at first, is the facts—events and things in the world of practice . . . .

Lachs' Physical Order at 119 (Psychologism) [#757 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

Experience and knowledge are by no means composed of a multitude of clear intuitions associated or conjoined . . . . I first believe in the world, and as I pick my way about in it, I gradually distinguish its most notable contrasts, such as good and bad, far or near, light and dark, myself and things: and these constraints allow me to distinguish object from object in practice, without giving me the least power to say what each object is intrinsically. . . . Attention is a symptom of alarm, or at least of stimulation; it is initially fixed on objects of intent, asking what they are or what they will do: and when this practical question is settled, or ceases to interest, attention lapses altogether, and the essences which served as signals or as discriminating marks seldom become objects of attention on their own account.

Lachs' Physical Order at 120 (Psychologism) [#564 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

The permanence of substance is itself a perpetual accident, observable only ex post facto. Substance is the very frame or body of contingency.

Lachs' Physical Order at 120-121 (Psychologism) [#563 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

[T]he psychical, as I propose to use the word, in contrast with the psychological is a part of the realm of matter itself. The psychical may be, and is, substantial in respect to the mental, being a mode of substance and a habit of matter by which the mental is generated . . . .

Lachs' Physical Order at 130 (No Psychological Substance) [#565 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

On the other hand, this omnipresent vocation to live in the spirit, far from separating the spirit from our animal lives, rests on the fact that the spirit is incarnate in us . . . . In other words, the spirit is not a bodiless divine intellect or universal ego, but an intellectual expression of private moral predicaments and human passions . . . .

The profound saying of Aristotle, that spirit comes into us from beyond the gates need by no means be rejected; it need only be interpreted as the mythical expression of a moral truth. The deliverance of the spirit is here turned, in the Greek manner, into a fable concerning its origin.

Lachs' Physical Order at 134 (Pure Feeling—Pain) [#639 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

In other words, time is an intrinsic and measurable medium only in the realm of matter; in the realm of consciousness time is only a principle of perspective. The Kantian philosophy on this point, and in respect to consciousness, deserves to be taken to heart, consciousness being its chosen field; though it should be banished from our minds in considering those other and deeper realms which it ignored.

Lachs' Physical Order at 142 (Consciousness and Time) [#640 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

In other words, time is an intrinsic and measurable medium only in the realm of matter; in the realm of consciousness time is only a principle of perspective. The Kantian philosophy on this point, and in respect to consciousness, deserves to be taken to heart, consciousness being its chosen field; though it should be banished from our minds in considering those other and deeper realms which it ignored.

Lachs' Physical Order at 142 (Consciousness and Time) [#692 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

But nature is more than substance; it is a system of movements, forms, and transformations, which have their specific being in the realm of truth. This realm is non-natural in one respect; it is eternal.

Lachs' Physical Order at 157 (The Relations of Spirit to Time) [#342 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

That [ ] systems of philosophy differ from one another is no scandal; they ought to do so, like languages and works of art, provided the facts they report are genuine. The trouble with systems of philosophy is precisely that they pretend to be systems of the universe, not recognising their selective and judicial nature: if they would only abandon that grotesque pretension, and give out that they are works of meditative art and helps to wisdom, they might still show their faces in public; and it would not be hard for an honest historian to discriminate their genius from their errors.

Lachs' Physical Order at 175-176 (Substance) [#258 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

If spirit must be invoked to account for all these unaccountable facts [gravity, motion, time, change], spirit is evidently at the root of everything. But alas, if spirit be conceived as one more fact, its existence too is perfectly unaccountable; and its connection with other events or power to produce them is not only unaccountable but incapable of being represented in any image, spirit and nature not having any dimension in common. . . . The appeal to spirit therefore only multiplies the insoluble problems presented by events, if we aspire in any intellectual sense to account for them.

Lachs' Physical Order at 181-182 (Cosmic Animism) [#361 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

If such is the natural history of morals, it follows that there is a complete inversion of the order of nature in striving after or preaching any particular type of virtue as if it were divinely imposed upon all men alike, or even upon the cosmos at large . . . . In other words moralism, that takes moral sense for the foundation of religion and even of cosmology, is a radical error. Good and evil are relative to natures already existing and making specific demands . . . .

Lachs' Physical Order at 206 (Relativity of Morals) [#595 1969]

From Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana

Literature, like sensation, cannot help [being satisfied with those interesting aspects of the event, and ignoring their origin and dynamic context], and thereby creates a second poetic or dramatic world, very thin, but very manageable to the mind. It is only in science and philosophy that we are called upon to study the mechanisms of the substratum.

Lachs' Physical Order at 274 (Freedom) [#259 1969]


Total quotations: 732
Supressed quotations: 51
Pre-1925 quotations: 237
Post-1924 quotations: 444


This page organizes the quotations that appear in the body of the twenty-five web pages currently comprising A George Santayana Home Page. Quotations used in the editor's Introductions or in Professor's Thoughts are suppressed. Please report any typographical errors to the editor through the Comments feature of this web site.



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