Priverno, in Latium countryside, province of Latina, where Bernazza was born. Fair use
Priverno, in the Latium countryside near Latina. It is the country place where Dario Bernazza was born. Fair use

We talked about Country Philosopher before (in two earlier posts at least, 1 and 2). We said how he is free from doubt and how his argumentations, often categorical and at times naïve, are however not deprived of interest and of this ancient fascination so hard to explain.

In the following passage, freely summarized and which will hopefully better clarify this point to our readers, Dario Bernazza – his real name – tells us how there is like a balance in our life.

When liabilities exceed the assets, our life is a failure. When the contrary occurs, our life is successful and happy. Simple. Categorical. This is Bernazza.

Let us try to understand.

[Dario Bernazza, Vivere alla massima espressione, Editrice Partenone – Luciano Bernazza & C – Roma 1989, pp. 12-22]

Life Liabilities

Life is such that we cannot avoid its offensive – bitterness and sufferings of all kinds. These are life’s liabilities.

Which are these liabilities?

Since our childhood we are exposed to numerous internal and external enemies.

“Among the internal enemies: ignorance, dishonesty, little respect for truth, selfishness, conceit, inclination to excess, worship of money, lechery, anger, sloth, unproductive envy, hate, lack of authentic affections, ennui, loneliness, excessive shyness, superficiality, lack of ambition, incorrect reasoning, intolerance, wrong pastimes, disregard for other people’s rights, wrong solutions, tendency to join the herd, undue submission, acquiescence towards the avoidable, pessimism, optimism … .”

External enemies: to be born in a foolish family, lack of (or wrong) education, inadequate school teaching, bad company, incapability or dishonesty of politicians ruling us, difficulties of any kind, job-related worries and fatigue, lack of money, unfavorable unexpected events, diseases, all flaws and errors by others, wrong clichés, perverse temptations, evildoers of any kind … .”

This is only a partial list of our dreadful, obstinate, sometimes alluring, enemies – argues Dario Bernazza. They are responsible for our sufferings, namely our life liabilities.

Life assets

In order to make our life advantageous it is necessary to oppose some adequate assets to those liabilities. It is obvious, says Bernazza.

But which can these assets be?

“They consists, naturally, in the sum of every pleasant moment, of every satisfaction and success that we are capable of attaining during our whole existence. If such sum is greater than that determined by our life offenses, or liabilities, it is ok. If it is instead lower, then it would be preferable not to have come into this world.

We must in fact be brave enough to honour truth – says Bernazza. Who can in fact say it is preferable to start a firm whose liabilities exceed the assets, instead of not starting it altogether? Only a fool can say that.”


Another image of Priverno. Fair use

[From which we infer that Bernazza is a non believer]

We must also consider – CP argues – that while these liabilities are spontaneously inflicted on us by life without any mercy, the assets are not given us as a gift, but we must earn them day by day, bit by bit.

And the only way to earn them is that of giving the best solution to the major problems of our life. If we can do this, we divert or soften life liabilities, or sometimes we can even eliminate some of them.

Bernazza then identifies 20 major problems we must necessarily solve in the best possible way in order to minimize life liabilities and live a fruitful life (or advantageous, as he says).

We will talk about that in a future post.


Capitoline She-Wolf. Rome, Musei Capitolini. Public domain
Italian version

15 thoughts on “Assets and Liabilities in Life

  1. I agree with the idea of Assets and Liabilities but it’s not quite as simple as a balance sheet for a company. The Assets, in the case outlined, are not of fixed value. They have no monetary value. The value is subjective and it is this subjectiveness (i.e. how we decide to value the assets) that makes the difference.

    People who have great hardship can be happier than those who [seem to] have an easy life. It is only due to a persons view of their Assets that makes the Assets appear of greater significance (and value) than their Liabilities.

    And this is also true, to some extent, of the Liabilities.


  2. @Andy
    I agree with you, it’s not quite as simple as a balance sheet. Bernazza applies a sort of quantitative analysis to things that imply quality and values, which are subjective. Moral goods and natural goods are different.

    The thing is, I do not find this argumentation on assets and liabilities totally useless, hard to say why, plus this naïve faith in the power of rationality I find fascinating and it reminds me of the first reasoned discourses of the ancient philosophers. This is why I called him a “bizarre example of cultural isolation”, a living fossil.


  3. @Andy
    Not that I think there is a direct link between CP and the ancient thinkers … though some connection must have occurred. I think, in a country like ours, where humanities have always represented a revered tradition, [obsolete] ways of thinking have survived which can be criticized but retain some fascination, at least to me.
    Or maybe it is just Alzheimer approaching. Always possible …


  4. @MoR,

    Fascination is one thing. I am fascinated by the Creationists and what they believe in but find it incredible and, even, in my opinion, dangerous.

    And, from what I’ve read on your blog, I don’t wholly disagree with CP.

    However, I had a Grandfather whom I greatly admired. A kindly man who, seemingly to many in the world (OK, my father, anyway), achieved little. For him, life was about being content. He was, in my eyes, a great man and if, in spite of my possible Alzheimers too :-), I can achieve the same level of contentment as he did, then I have achieved everything.


  5. It seems many people (children and adults) got the similar problems in their life. According to the above post, I found that i also got many internal and external enemies lol. I know it’s not easy to solve those problems because they keep existing! Meanwhile, I am wondering how to solve them in the best possible way in order to minimize life liabilities and live a fruitful life as you said in the above. I am looking forward to read your next post!


  6. @Andy
    I would not compare Bernazza to the Creationists, which are really dangerous in my view. Bernazza can be useless, or obsolete (I still have to make up my mind) but he is not misleading like them.

    I like the way your father and Grandfather are. I am similar and to be content is also my aim. I have never been very ambitious (something Bernazza wouldn’t condone). I want to lead a simple life especially from now on, and – as you say in your blog – reading a good book with a nice glass of wine (or beer, why not), relaxing and having good conversations with friends is all I ask. Not much, or a lot, depending on the (subjective) point of view… 😉

    PS (written 18 days later)
    Maybe I gave a wrong idea of Bernazza’s conceptions. He is not pushing towards success, career and the like, and, being an ancient-like, so to say, philosopher, he’s not far from a to-be-content type of lifestyle.

    Dear Snow, yes, we have many enemies that can impede us from being ‘content’. I only hope my next post on CP will not disappoint you. What can a man like him say to a woman from China? I do not really know. It will be interesting to know …

    All the best
    from the West


  7. The trick, for me, has been to enjoy life in spite of my liabilities. Good food, noticing the beautiful, a few laughs, a light heart. Acceptance of the human condition and thankfulness for the imperfect beings that we are. Human. Yes, acceptance is calming. Life can be sad, but there is true beauty in this sadness as well. I’m looking forward to your next post 🙂


  8. @Maryann
    I am happy you commented on my blog, Maryann. Yes, a light heart, laughs, noticing the beautiful, acceptance of the human condition, which is not perfect. This sounds a sunny attitude, a very Mediterranean one. I also find that there can be beauty in sadness. This sounds a bit more … romantic and Northern, as far as I can tell, but it is beautiful as well.


  9. I learned a lot about life in the past month… its still too heavy.

    Just to let you know, you can find me on my new blog. 🙂


  10. @Ashish
    Hello!!!! Welcome back …. I am sorry for what you are telling me … it is like a rule: the most sensitive and intelligent sometimes have these ups and downs. Try to pull yourself together, dear young man …I have a lot of affection for you, if this can help… and not only me … but I do not see any blog. It only says “this domain name expired on 03/30/08 and is pending renewal or deletion” … 😦
    Hope you don’t like to play hide and seek with the mummy 🙂


  11. Yes the domain of my old blog expired and as it wasn’t under my name, I can’t renew it. I have a new blog at . A month from blogging showed me why I loved it. 🙂


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