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a Santayana saying
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Ok, this is not an idiom netheir a proverb, but a quotation (語錄, 语录 - yu3lu4) or saying (名言 - ming2yan2) by the thinker George Santayana.
(Note: this quotation has many variants. I do not know which is the original one.)

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


那些忘記歷史的人注定會重複歷史.

那些忘记历史的人注定会重复历史。

na4xie1 wang4ji4 li4shi3 de ren2 zhu4ding4 hui4 chong2fu4 li4shi3

Or:

忘記過去的人注定要重蹈覆轍.

忘记过去的人注定要重蹈覆辙。

wang4ji4 guo4qu4 de ren2 zhu4ding4 yao4 chong2dao3fu4zhe2

Posted on: 2013/12/2 2:41
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Re: a Santayana saying
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2nd version is better.

Posted on: 2013/12/2 11:51
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Re: a Santayana saying
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Yes, I agree. Actually the first one is a translation of a variant, namely "Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it" - which is a misquote.
(This saying has been misquoted so many times that I find this saying very witty: "Those who misquote George Santayana are condemned to paraphrase him."

As for 重蹈覆辙: if I understand this idiom well, it expresses something negative. But, in my opinion, the original saying does not state what you are condemned to repeat is wrong or 不舒服。 It would be interesting to ask someone (who does not know the original) to translate the Mandarin one to English. I think it'd run more or less like this:
Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.

Sorry for writing so much, I had a strong coffee...


Posted on: 2013/12/2 23:29
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Re: a Santayana saying
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重蹈覆辙 means repeating the same mistake, so it kind of make sense.

I do not know the original saying as well, but the quote itself is pretty negative. "Condemned" is a strong word.

Posted on: 2013/12/3 11:24
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Re: a Santayana saying
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Yes, thinking it over ...yes, it is a strong one. I should check the context of the saying. - It is obvious that people interprete it as the Mandarin version runs. That is why it (a misquoted version too) reads on a wall at the Auschwitz concenration camp.
The original one is "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."




Quote:

Yunqing wrote:
重蹈覆辙 means repeating the same mistake, so it kind of make sense.

I do not know the original saying as well, but the quote itself is pretty negative. "Condemned" is a strong word.

Posted on: 2013/12/3 21:07
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Re: a Santayana saying
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重蹈覆辙
repeating bad history
repeating error(s)

The saying:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Cited from:
The Life of Reason - Reason in Common Sense, (Scribner's) 1905, page 284

Posted on: 2013/12/6 15:55
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Re: a Santayana saying
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Hi "deadserpent",


Thanks for the help! Now, this is really interesting. I went throught the chapter and I state that both interpretations is correct.
In the article in which the sentece appears he writes of evolution, thus it can be interpreted as simply a "technical" question - it runs like this "(...) and when experience is not retained, as among saveges, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remeber the past are condemend to repeat it.(...) This is the condition of children and barbarians,(...)" - in other words, this in not an ethical question, it is not about reapeting foul deeds or something but any deed - because it is a "pre-moral world".
But some pages back he says: "(...) as we shall see, there is actually a similar foundation in all human and even in all animal natures, which supports a rudimentary morality common to all,(...)": in this case the translation with 重蹈覆辙 is correct, it is about moral and we have to learn our history for avoiding to make the same evil deeds.

(A note: easy to see that the two train of thoughts make the whole text inconsistent. Apart from this Santayana is a good guy, he-he.)

Thanks for your kind help again!



Quote:

deadserpent wrote:
重蹈覆辙
repeating bad history
repeating error(s)

The saying:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Cited from:
The Life of Reason - Reason in Common Sense, (Scribner's) 1905, page 284

Posted on: 2013/12/7 0:33
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