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Machiavelli Continues

September 24, 2010

So on Thursday we talked about how Machiavelli is ruthless and cruel to everyone around him. He doesn’t seem to care about anyone; his only goal for writing this is for teaching others how to rule a kingdom. As we proceed on, I realize his teaching continues. However, I picked up a few useful points that is relevant to everyday life. In chapter eight, he states “Do all the harm you must at one and the same time, that way the full extent of it will not be noticed, and it will give least offense. One should do good, on the other hand, little by little, so people can fully appreciate it.” Even though this is mainly talking about how to rule as a leader, it is applicable to life. I am not saying that you should harm others, but as you probably know, when you get hurt, you remember it for a very long time. However, if someone has helped you in some way, you might forget it the next day. This is human nature. People tend to remember the wrongs others did to them more so than the rights. This is why Machiavelli told the leaders to do the good little by little, so the public will reminded the good deeds the rulers did. If you repeat your bad deeds, the peasants will revolt and over throw you. Another quote he said in chapter 10 was also resonated in me, it said “Anyone who becomes a ruler with the support of the populace ought to ensure he keeps their support.” This quote also reflected a true value in life. Fortune and family backgrounds may elevate you to a high status, but in order to keep that status, you have to work hard so others will obey you. If the leader was elected by the public in the first place then he would have a better chance keeping his leadership role. If he was chosen by a former leader or other elites, he would have to persuade the fellow citizen to obey him. So after reading this, I realized even though Machiavelli wrote this to assist leaders on ruling their territory, it has many life lessons as well. He may be seen as a ruthless man but he is an intelligent philosopher and writer.

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