"For over twenty-five centuries we’ve been bearing the weight of superb and heterogeneous civilizations, all from outside, none made by ourselves, none that we could call our own. This violence of landscape, this cruelty of climate, this continual tension in everything, and even these monuments of the past, magnificent yet incomprehensible because not built by us and yet standing round us like lovely mute ghosts; all those rulers who landed by main force from every direction who were at once obeyed, soon detested, and always misunderstood, their only expressions works of art we couldn't understand and taxes which we understood only too well and which they spent elsewhere: all these things have formed our character, which is thus conditioned by events outside our control as well as by a terrifying insularity of mind."
This quote by Italian writer and aristocrat Giuseppe Lampedusa is so eloquent it needs little elaboration. His description of this life we live being both “magnificent yet incomprehensible” is something we can all relate to, and the single image of the tumultuous, chaotic daily happenings existing as “lovely mute ghosts” makes this fleeting description of life even sweeter. Lampedusa’s beautiful prose proves his own point, that these moments of clarity in the noise exist both out in the world on the streets and inside our own human experience, in our minds. These are nice thoughts to mull over, and it is as if Lampedusa has been mulling on this for most of his own life.