Lessons Of History: Niccolo Machiavelli

I know some people live by the Bible or the Quran or the Torah or another religious book, but I’m an atheist and I don’t really believe in anything else either. Yet if I were to pick a book that has given my life direction, I’d say it’s “Il Principe” by Niccolo Machiavelli. I won’t compare it to a religious book; it has no rules, only wise advices one is free to take or not. I have read the whole book several times, and since tomorrow is the Big Day of my “Reintroduction Into Society” (AKA start of the academic year) I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes.

“Before all else, be armed.”

That means more than just that you have to carry a weapon with you (although I do take it literally as well, my switchblade is cleaned and ready for tomorrow), it also means that you have to be prepared to defend yourself at all times.

“He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.”

This is very important. You can hardly expect someone to respect you when you don’t demand it of them with your actions. Words only do so much. Respect is earned, not given.

“Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions.”

Perhaps a sad thing to realize, but true and very interesting when you know how to make use of it. People WANT to be deceived. For some reason I don’t even begin to grasp, more than 75 percent of humanity (or at least the part I’ve seen of it) is beyond naive and trusting. When played right, people can be led to believe anything at all, and all that without a lot of effort. The trick is to keep things simple…

“If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”

That speaks for itself I believe. My father always taught me this. Rule #1: Don’t Fight. Rule #2: If You Do Fight, Make Sure You Do Enough Damage. This is kind of a more elaborate way of saying that.

“Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times. “

This is the basis of Opportunism, or, in my philosophy, Survival. Adapt to the situation and make use of it in any way you can.

“It is necessary for him who lays out a state and arranges laws for it to presuppose that all men are evil and that they are always going to act according to the wickedness of their spirits whenever they have free scope.”

People will take advantage of you when they are given the chance. They are not to be blamed or loathed for this, after all we’re all only human. One simply has to keep this in mind whenever dealing with others.

“Since it is difficult to join them together, it is safer to be feared than to be loved when one of the two must be lacking.”

Love and fear are both forms of respect, and respect there has to be at all cost. Since one cannot be loved by everyone, one has to make sure he is feared by the others. I will most definitely make use of fear a lot the coming time… (Keeping in mind my Dear Therapist who is still terrified of me)

“War is just when it is necessary; arms are permissible when there is no hope except in arms.”

Yes, Machiavelli stated one must always be armed and thus vigilant for incoming attacks, but that doesn’t mean you’re in war all the time. Fighting all the time doesn’t bring much fortune. Choose your battles wisely.

And with that, I conclude my little quote analysis. All I can tell you is to read the book yourself, it is delightful and very instructive. Wish me luck for tomorrow, I will need it…

Chaos and Destruction,


About quantumphysica

My name is QuantumPhysica The Insane, but you can call me QP. I am insane, admitted to a mental hospital in Belgium, and waiting for a decent diagnosis at the moment. Once I was a physics student with goals in life and what more; now I'm simply the patient of Room 93. Ever wondered what life is like in the psychiatric ward? I'll tell you everything you ever wanted to know... I am... particularly twitchy of personality. But I also am genuinely interested in everything. There is nothing that doesn't interest me, really. Everything, from quantum computers to fashion and cars to traveling... I also give advice. On anything. No taboos whatsoever. And I make lists of things...
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4 Responses to Lessons Of History: Niccolo Machiavelli

  1. Lois says:

    Very interesting post, thanks! It constantly amazes me how modern he is, how current. You’ve chosen some interesting quotes, an made interesting comments. I understand from “Before all else, be armed” that you have to be prepared, armed with arguments and logic as well as in a physical sense.

    • Indeed that is also how I see it… He is incredibly modern; the first time I read the book I was surprised by it. even though he wrote the book as a manual for 18th century rulers, his advice is still valuable…

      • Lois says:

        I know! You can hardly believe it was written five hundred years ago, it seem so fresh, speaks so clearly to the modern world! 2013 might even be the anniversary of when it was written! To think he was alive when America was ‘discovered’ by Columbus!
        You’ve written a great post – I hope it gets lots of views!

      • thanks a lot!
        And yes, he was alive when America was discovered… A most intriguing era. The man was definitely visionary, and he had a fabulous insight in human nature…

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