„Santayana's aphorism must be reversed: too often it is those who can remember the past who are condemned to repeat it.“

—  Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., The Bitter Heritage: Vietnam and American Democracy (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966) p. 91
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„Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.“

—  George Santayana, The Life of Reason: Five Volumes in One
Context: 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. This famous statement has produced many paraphrases and variants: Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes. Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it. Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them. Those who do not know history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them. There is a similar quote by Edmund Burke (in Revolution in France) that often leads to misattribution: "People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors."

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„I've got news for Mr. Santayana: we're doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That's what it is to be alive.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut American writer 1922 - 2007
p. 91, referring to George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

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„The lessons of the most traumatic past must be learned and continually relearned, not only to prevent such a tragedy from repeating itself, but also to honor, as one nation, those who made our freedom possible, and to remember that freedom is certainly never free“

—  Sung-Yoon Lee Korea and East Asia scholar, professor
Context: For many South Koreans today, the Korean War is little more than a tragedy of the past or a tale in abstraction. For others, it is a trauma best forgotten. But on Memorial Day, the South Koreans, as a nation, must not forget the suffering and sacrifice in their national historical experience. The lessons of the most traumatic past must be learned and continually relearned, not only to prevent such a tragedy from repeating itself, but also to honor, as one nation, those who made our freedom possible, and to remember that freedom is certainly never free.

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