Friday, October 3, 2008
Machiavelli (the prince): Favourite Excerpts
I found these excerpts which I copied into my Journal about 2 years ago when I re-read the Prince as an adult.
I want to share this with you. I won't write any introduction for these quotations because they are all random citings since scooped them up from different sections of the book. It is intriguing because centuries later, these quotes still have meaning and relevance in my 2008. Enjoy!
"The fact is that a man (woman)* who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous".
"You hurt yourself only when you give away what is your own. There is nothing so self-defeating as generosity: in the act of practicing it, you lose the ability to do so, and you become either poor and despised or, seeking to escape poverty, rapacious and hatred; and generosity results in your being both."
"...but because men (women)* are wretched creatures who would not keep their word to you, you need not keep your word to them. And no prince (princess)* ever lacked good excuses to colour his bad faith."
"But one must know how to colour one's actions and to be a great liar and deceiver. Men (Women)8 are so simple, and so much creatures of Circumstance, that the deceiver will always find someone ready to be deceived."
"...he (she)* should not deviate from what is good, if that is possible, but he (she)* should know how to do evil, if that is necessary."
"Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are."
Qualities a Prince (Princess)* should possess:
a man (woman)* of good faith,
a man (woman)* of integrity
a kind man (woman)*
a religious man (woman)*
*: the androcentric writing of 13th century literature make it necessary to include a feminine slant in his writing because there was some very serious stuff in this book about how it is often necessary for men to beat their wives, e.t.c, but I won't go into that right here.
If you've read the Prince what were your ideas on Machiavelli's prescriptions? If you haven't what do you think about these excerpts?