Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Really? Human nature being what it is, isn't it hopeless to expect that we can do better regardless of whether we remember anything or not? And what if what we remember leads us to false analogies and misunderstandings?
I prefer: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it without a sense of ironic futility."
Or how about this: "Those who cannot condemn the past repeat it in order to remember it."
I was rummaging around for a better Santayana quote, and I found the following: "All history is wrong and has to be rewritten."
It's an expression of Santayana's skepticism. He goes on to say, "The conditions of expression and even of memory dragoon the facts and put a false front on diffuse experience. What is interesting is brought forward as if it had been central... Kings and generals are endowed with motives appropriate to what the historian values in their actions; plans are imputed to them prophetic of their actual achievements, while the thoughts that really preoccupied them remain buried in oblivion. " (from the Life of Reason)
This is another way of saying: as far as history is concerned, we get it all wrong.
(The Grump was named and first published by Ren Weschler in his magazine, Omnivore.)