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George SantayanaThose who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

—  George Santayana, 1863-1952, Spanish-American philosopher

Robert BenchleyWe are constantly being surprised that people did things well before we were born.

—  Robert Benchley, 1889-1945, American columnist

Thomas EdwardsThe past is the only dead thing that smells sweet.

—  Thomas Edwards, 1878-1914, British poet & essayist

Golda MeirOne cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present.

—  Golda Meir, 1898-1978, Israeli Prime Minister

Lyndon JohnsonWe can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it.

—  Lyndon Johnson, 1908-1973, American President [1963-1969]

Mignon McLaughlinThe total history of almost anyone would shock almost everyone.

—  Mignon McLaughlin, 1913-1983, American magazine editor

Blaise PascalIf we examine our thoughts, we shall find them always occupied with the past and the future.

—  Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662, French thinker

Oscar WildeI like men who have a future and women who have a past.

—  Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900, Irish writer

John WoodenDon’t let yesterday take up too much of today.

—  John Wooden, 1910-2010, American basketball coach

Lao-TzuIf you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.

—  Lao-Tzu, 6th cent. BC, Chinese philosopher

Winston ChurchillThe farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.

—  Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, British Prime Minister, Nobel 1953

Wolfgang GoetheWe all of us live upon the past, and through the past we are destroyed.

—  Wolfgang Goethe, 1749-1832, German poet & philosopher

Baruch SpinozaIf you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.

—  Baruch Spinoza, 1632-1677, Dutch philosopher

Ambrose BierceGod alone knows the future, but only an historian can alter the past.

—  Ambrose Bierce, 1842–1914, American writer

Jean-Paul SartreThe past is the luxury of proprietors.

—  Jean-Paul Sartre, 1905-1980, French philosopher

William ShakespeareTrue is it that we have seen better days.

—  William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, English poet & playwright ‐ As You Like It

Oscar WildeNo man is rich enough to buy back his own past.

—  Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900, Irish writer

Oscar WildeThe only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

—  Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900, Irish writer

CiceroTo be ignorant of the past is to be forever a child.

—  Cicero, 106-43 BC, Roman orator & statesman

SenecaBut life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.

—  Seneca, 4 AD-65 AD, Roman philosopher

Fernando PessoaMy past is everything I failed to be.

—  Fernando Pessoa, 1888-1935, Portuguese poet & writer

Will DurantIt is a mistake to think that the past is dead. Nothing that has ever happened is quite without influence at this moment.

—  Will Durant, 1885-1981, American historian & philosopher

Will DurantThe past is not dead. Indeed, it is often not even past.

—  Will Durant, 1885-1981, American historian & philosopher

Lou HoltzIf what you did yesterday seems big, you haven't done anything today.

—  Lou Holtz, 1937-, American football coach

Eugene O’NeillThere is no present or future, only the past, happening over and over again -now.

—  Eugene O’Neill, 1888-1953, American playwright, Nobel 1936

Eugene O’NeillThe past is the present, isn't it? It's the future, too. We all try to lie out of that but life won't let us.

—  Eugene O’Neill, 1888-1953, American playwright, Nobel 1936

Quotes in Verse

Wallace StevensOur bloom is gone. We are the fruit thereof.

—  Wallace Stevens, 1879-1955, American poet

T. S. EliotFor last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.

—  T. S. Eliot, 1888-1965, British poet, Nobel 1948

Funny Quotes

George BurnsWhen I was a boy the Dead Sea was only sick.

—  George Burns, 1896-1996, American comedian

Ancient Greek

AgathonOf this alone, even god is deprived, the power of making things that are past never to have been.

Μόνου γαρ αυτού και θεός στερίσκεται, αγένητα ποιείν άσσ᾽ αν ᾖ πεπραγμένα.

—  Agathon, 450-400 BC, Ancient Greek tragic poet


American proverbLet bygones be bygones.

—  American proverb


Movie Quotes

The Lion KingOh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.

—  from the film The Lion King

The Lion KingIt’s times like this my buddy Timon here says: you got to put your behind in your past.

—  from the film The Lion King


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2017: Manolis Papathanassiou