Memorable Sayings of Filippo Ottonieri

Filippo Ottonieri – some of whose memorable observations, partly heard from his own lips and partly related by others, I will commit to writing, was born and spent most of his life in Nubiana, in the province of Valdivento, where he also died a short time ago and where there is no record of anyone having ever been insulted by him, either in word or deed. He was commonly hated by his fellow citizens because he seemed to find little pleasure in many of the things which are greatly liked and sought by a majority of men...

He used to say that the most real pleasures in life are those produced by false imagining and that children find everything in nothing and men find nothing in everything.

It is certain that truth is not beautiful. Yet even truth may sometimes bring some pleasure; and, if, in human affairs, beauty is to be preferred to truth, whenever beauty is missing, truth is preferable to anything else. Now, in big cities you are removed from beauty, for no longer does beauty have a place in the lives of men. You are removed from truth as well because in big cities everything is fake or empty. There, so to speak, you see, hear, touch, breathe, nothing but deception – of the ugliest and most unpleasant kind. To fine and delicate spirits this is possibly the greatest misery in the world.

There are an infinite number of things in everyday life and in individual men that are extremely ridiculous, and yet they are very seldom laughed at.

About a stupid individual who had the pretension of knowing very well how to reason and who at every other word mentioned logic he said: "This is indeed man as the Greeks defined him, that is to say, a logical animal."
Operette Morali, by Giacomo Leopardi (translated by Giovanni Cecchetti)


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