Giacomo Leopardi

29 Jun 1798 // 14 Jun 1837
Poet / Philosopher

Secrets Are Never Kept

One of the serious errors into which people fall every day is to believe that a secret of theirs is being kept. And not only the secret which they reveal in confidence, but even that which without their wish, or even against it, someone discovers or otherwise gets to know, and which they had rather were kept hidden. What I am saying is that you are mistaken every time when, aware that some business of yours is clearly known to someone else, you fail to be convinced that it is common knowledge, whatever harm or shame this may bring you.Having regard to their own best interests, people make a great effort not to reveal private things, but in what concerns other people no one stays silent.
If you wish to verify this, look into yourself, and see how often you are restrained from revealing something you know by the displeasure or harm or shame which this might bring to someone eles. I mean revealing it, if not to many people, at least to this or that friend, which comes to the same thing. In society there is nothing more needed than gossip, the main way of passing time, which is one of the first necessities of life. And no subject of gossip is more striking than one that arouses curiosity and banishes boredom , as new and secret things do. Therefore take this for a definitive rule: whatever you do not wish to be known to have done, not only do not tell it, but do not do it. And whatever you cannot undo, or make as though it has never been, be sure that it is known, even if you do not notice.

Giacomo Leopardi, in 'Thoughts'


On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."