Support crystalwind.ca with your donation and help spread spirituality and positivity.

Blessings!

This article was posted by CrystalWind.ca

A+ A A-

Vindicating Machiavelli

Vindicating Machiavelli

Nicolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was born in Florence, Italy and was the third child and first son of attorney Bernardo di Niccolo Machiavelli and his wife Bartolomea di Stefano Nelli. 

He was born during the Renaissance on May 3d, 1469. The Machiavelli family is believed to be descended from the old Marquesses of Tuscany. He became an Italian Diplomat, author, philosopher and historian.

He is best known for his political treatise “The Prince” written around 1513 but not published until 1532, five years after his death. He has often been called the father of modern political, philosophy and political science.

For many, after his death Machiavelli’s name came to evoke unscrupulous acts of the sort he advised most famously in his work..“The Prince”. Some consider it to be a straightforward description of political reality. Others view The Prince as a manual, teaching would-be tyrants how they should seize and maintain power. Even in recent times, some scholars, such as Leo Strauss have restated the traditional opinion that Machiavelli was a “teacher of evil”; however, this is typically the common opinion of people who have read “The Prince” with an already preconceived idea of what it entails.  Those who are more of a philosophical mind, familiar with Machiavelli’s life, his other works, and the reality of the era in which he lived, would disagree and would consider Machiavelli’s writing a tool – perhaps not a pleasant one but a needed one when it comes to the reality of Politics, for which the book was written.  Only those who think Machiavelli’s advice in his book was written as a way for every aspect of life conclude him to be an evil man.  But life is never that simple, and politics certainly falls out of the basic boxes of black or white, which is why in this article, we shall look a bit more closely at what Nicolo Machiavelli tried to teach us with his book “The Prince”…

Machiavelli was a modern thinker in seeing the state as a separate independent entity that needed not subjugate itself to Religion – “that is the only path to impartiality.”  He has been attributed erroneously the phrase “The end justifies the means,” which was never spoken by him in a literal way but echoed some of his thoughts on the ends and mechanism of the State.

Machiavelli’s thoughts regarding his book “The Prince,” emerged at a time when the so-called national states were being formed. At that time, Italy was made up of different principalities that competed with each other to expand their power, which meant that compared to other neighboring countries, Italy was at a political disadvantage at an organizational level.  Neighboring countries became increasingly powerful while Italy became more divided. Given this circumstance, Machiavelli contributes to the unity of Italy in such a way that the political focus impacts the reflection on the nature and foundations of political society.  For that reason, and as a gift to Lorenzo de Medici, Machiavelli presents him with the book The Prince as an offering.  His only interest was to eliminate division within Italy and achieve a united and strong society – a respectful society of other nations but also a feared one to avoid other nations from trying to conquer or take advantage of Italy. 

Because of his impartial way of thinking regarding the State, and how this has impacted so many generations, he is considered the father of “modern” politics. 

“I have decided to enter a path that, since no one has yet traveled it, will cost me a lot of fatigue and difficulties but also the reward of those who benignly recognize the end to which my work is directed.”– Nicolo Machiavelli

In the book The Prince, many seem to miss the fact that Machiavelli makes it very clear that princes should balance virtue (good heart) with iron will if what they want is to guide their people towards expansion and maintain autonomy and control of all their affairs.   He makes it clear that it is imperative in order to maintain unison and sovereignty, for the leader in charge to respond to each particular circumstance with the necessary actions without any other consideration than to protect his people – this is where the phrase “the ends justify the means” has been concluded but also misunderstood.  Within Machiavelli’s teachings, one finds that for his time they challenge the traditional canons of the church and the boxed morals of right and wrong.  In recognizing the hypocrisy of such canons (which Machiavelli recognized were implemented to benefit the church above all), it is that Machiavelli chooses to teach leaders that the traditional view of right and wrong, or what is considered moral, have nothing to do with politics; however, he makes sure to state that what matters most is the pure motivation of the leader – pure not puritan.   As you can see thus far, when examining Machiavelli’s teachings as a whole and with a philosophical mind instead of focusing on specific words to support a rigid argument, we see a man whose motivation was never to abuse but to achieve balance and maintain independence.

Was Machiavelli good or bad?

Leo Strauss declared himself inclined toward the traditional view that Machiavelli was self-consciously a “teacher of evil” since, according to him, he counsels the princes to avoid values of mercy, temperance, forgiveness, and love, yet that is not at all what Machiavelli was teaching nor trying to accomplish.  He knew, based on his long experience within politics and life in general, that leaders who often are naïve to the dangers and manipulations played within Politics will either end up killed or used.  He was also aware that people who often seek to be known as “good” are often willing to commit even more damaging behaviors and actions towards those they feel have challenged them, for their ego is often fragile and based on reputation over character.   His quote “It is necessary for a prince wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong,” has often been twisted by Puritans who claimed Machiavelli was promoting the ruthless use of power; however, this could not be further from the truth.  Machiavelli echoed the teachings of the Hamurabi Code, The Bible and the Samurai, which could all be summarized by the phrase “it is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war” – preparation.  If one does not recognize the dark side of nature, of life, and of one’s own self, that person is more likely to commit atrocities that go beyond justice and discipline in a desire to run away from himself.  But the one who has seen, lived and recognizes the darkness around and within, is the one who can develop dominion over self and develop a strong healthy ego over a fragile false one; in doing so, he extracts the wisdom that is often found within the dark side of nature and learns to recognize danger and when a heavy response is needed.   Modern philosopher Jordan Peterson often expresses this sentiment when he says, “A good man is a very dangerous man who has that under voluntary control,” or the quote, “The teachings of a sinner are wiser than the naivete of a saint.”  Often, those who like to be seen as good act meek to claim the title of being “forgiving,” but if anything, life and history have taught us over and over that those meek people hold the most twisted souls. 

Machiavelli wrote The Prince to serve as a handbook for rulers. He claims explicitly throughout the work that he is not interested in talking about ideal republics or imaginary utopias, as many of his predecessors had done: “There is such a gap between how one lives and how one should live that he who neglects what is being done for what should be done will learn his destruction rather than his preservation.” – these are the words of a man who did not give up on idealism but who also could see reality for what is. 

There is a lot of debate between those determined to demonize Machiavelli – who claim he was teaching how to do evil in the world-  and those who understand he was simply presenting the worst of the political caste of the time.  Great thinkers such as Baruch Spinoza, Diderot and Rousseau have defended Machiavelli and urged people to extract the wisdom and leave behind the desire to get stuck on words without examining the context first. 

Of course, Machiavelli’s work is not perfect, to claim otherwise would be naïve- there is good and bad within Machiavellian leadership- this article is simply written with the desire to inspire people to leave their preconceived judgements to the side and enforce mental maturity before they even attempt to read “The Prince”, for such book is not recommended for anyone who cannot maintain mental discipline while reading it.   This means that people need to transcend the “evil” practices and strategies described by Machiavelli, while keeping in mind the context and learning from the ones that truly develop critical and strategic thinking.  For leaders, this means making sure they find and practice better and more effective ways to ensure that the organizations they lead survive and thrive in the long term, and not to keep power for just themselves.

This is a selection of a few quotes from The Prince which I think are but a few of the ones from which we can derive truth and wisdom….

  • “The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves”: this is call to develop critical and strategic thinking. From this standpoint, two ideas are fundamental: One is to understand the circumstances and the environment and to translate that understanding into useful information. Second, the ability to frame and conceptualize the information and turn it into an advantage.
  • “There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you”: seeing the positive side of this quote, people should create an environment of real lasting trust- this can only happen when one is willing to hear things which are in discord with what one already believes. One must be able to guide people not by telling them what to do, but by asking them questions that allow them to see their truth by themselves. And at the same time, one must be open to being coached by others; one must set the foundations to allow others to tell them what they think.  There must be a desire to expand vs a desire to be right and with it comes the maturity of learning to agree to disagree when needed.
  • “A man who is used to acting in one way never changes; he must come to ruin when the times, in changing, no longer are in harmony with his ways”: this is a basic call for curiosity, creativity and innovation.  Curiosity paired with the desire to grow is the most important trait to build a future that has a solid foundation and which serves the person’s essence.  Machiavelli’s quote is an invitation to be in constant learning mode, being curious and finding opportunities to change and innovate. What one does today, will not always be relevant tomorrow. The principles might remain valid, but the strategies and actions must change – it is learning to build resilience and adapt without confusing this with empty manipulations.  
  • “It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things”: once again, Machiavelli talking about change and innovation.  When it comes to a personal level, this quote reflects the monument will power that it takes to do things different than the norm, and to dare create one’s own path; for it is easier to follow the crowd than to dare be oneself. One requires to pretend and is build on reputation.  The other requires the discipline not to give in, not to sacrifice one’s creative fire in exchange for being accepted or normal and it is based not on reputation but on character.  When it comes to corporations, this quote means initiating a new order of things, a new way of doing things.  In order to ensure the best outcomes, it is always favorable to involve people since the very beginning of the change process. Not doing so will prevent the organization and its leaders from fully engaging people at all levels.

“Verily, all doth perceive thine outward guise, but few dost truly apprehend thy inner essence. A noble of high station should scarce be daunted by the opinions of the common folk, for ’tis more virtuous to be despised by them whilst remaining steadfast to thine own self, than to be adored by donning the mantle of their servile puppet.”   Andre Gide would later reflect this quote in his quote “Better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for who you are not”

The above quote emphasizes the importance of staying true to oneself, even in the face of criticism or disapproval from others. It suggests that a prince or any individual who values essence over acceptance should not be overly concerned with popular opinion, but rather focus on being authentic and staying true to his divine fire.

It suggests that it is more virtuous to be hated by others for remaining oneself, rather than trying to please everyone and becoming a mere likeable puppet. This emphasizes the value of unique essence to claim personal integrity and the willingness to stand despite being disliked by those who would rather not face themselves or confront the fragility of their so-called popularity and likeability.

It is worth noting that this quote aligns with the concept of authenticity and personal identity, which can be especially relevant for leaders or individuals in influential positions. By staying true to oneself, one can garner respect and admiration from those mentally mature and free in spirit, who truly understand and appreciate depth over superficial.

 

Sofia Falcone

Sofia Falcone
I passionately believe one person can make a difference. I write from my own experiences and interests. It is my greatest hope that by writing about my own challenges and hopes, others may feel inspired to believe more in their inner power and to fully embrace themselves.

Reprinted on crystalwind.ca with written permission from Sofia Falcone.

Source here

© 2024 crystalwind.ca. All rights reserved. We track all IP addresses with sniffer technology. Using a Proxy/VPN will not hide your IP address.

Pin It
CrystalWind.ca is free to use because of donations from people like you. Please help support us! 
Blessings!

Follow this blog

Featured Writers

crystal-wind-oracle-mobile-app
Cut Through The Illusions!
Available On
Apple  | Android | Amazon
NEW Expanded Version - 53 cards!

Spirit Animal Totem Of The Day!

CrystalWind.ca is free to use because of
donations from people like you.
Donate Now »

CrystalWind.ca Donation!

Unlock Your Light: Join Lightworkers Worldwide on CrystalWind.ca!

 

Follow Us!

 

Who is Online Now

We have 30824 guests and no members online

Featured This Month

Page:

The Ash Tree - February 18 - March 17

The Ash Tree - February 18 - March 17

Celtic Symbol : The Trident Or Sea - Horse Zodiac Degrees : 28º00` Aquarius... Read more

Birth Totem - Wolf

Birth Totem - Wolf

Birth Totem Wolf Birth dates: February 19 - March 20 Read more

Wolf Medicine

Wolf Medicine

Wolf is the pathfinder, the forerunner of new ideas who returns to the clan ... Read more

Ostara

Ostara

Easter gets its name from the Teutonic goddess of spring and the dawn, whose... Read more

Pisces Mythology

Pisces Mythology

The Mythology of Pisces By most accounts, the mythology of Pisces follows a... Read more

Candle Color Meanings

Candle Color Meanings

Candles, when combined with prayer and faith, can produce miracles. Read more

Sun in Pisces

Sun in Pisces

Sun in Pisces February 22 through March 20 An Overview of Sun Sign Characte... Read more

Aquamarine

Aquamarine

The Stone of Truth Aquamarine can provide a significant boost to the immune... Read more

How to Use a Pendulum

How to Use a Pendulum

Pendulums are one of the easiest and quickest ways to perform divination. Pe... Read more

Pisces

Pisces

PISCES Feb 19 - Mar 20 Spirit: Search for security Read more

Fluorite

Fluorite

The Focus And Study Stone Fluorite helps to assimilate ideas and informatio... Read more

Spirit of Gray Wolf

Spirit of Gray Wolf

Spirit of Gray Wolf Role: The Teacher Lesson: Adaptation to Change Elemen... Read more

Spring Equinox - Ostara

Spring Equinox - Ostara

Celebrated on the Spring Equinox, around March 20-21 each year. Ostara is a... Read more

Big Winds Moon

Big Winds Moon

Cougar -  Turquoise -  Plantain -  Blue and Green February ... Read more

Plantain

Plantain

Plantain Helps you feel grounded Gender: Feminine Planet: Venus Element: Ea... Read more

© 2008-2024 CrystalWind.ca. All rights reserved. Site Creation by CrystalWind.ca.
Web Hosting by Knownhost.com

 

 

X

Right Click

No right click