West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church

The Weight of History

October 12, 2014


by Reverend

Wayne Arnason

Two famous quotes are often muddled. It was Edmund Burke (1729-1797) who said "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it." George Santayana said some-thing a little different than this. In his book, The Life of Reason (1906) he wrote: "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." We find Santayana’s words more provocative, and paradoxically, more hopeful.

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