Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Iron Fist Of Machiavelli

I should say that Machiavelli is a genius. Machiavelli said that it is better for the prince to be feared by his people than to be loved, pointing out that man is selfish and deceitful and would only be loyal to his master because he doesn't want to be harmed or punished. Why does he think so negatively with man's nature? Furthermore, if we live in fear with our master, aren't we susceptible into hating him and acting against him?

The idea, "he'd rather be feared than loved", is a good one I think because if the ruler is feared in that way, it is unlikely for his people to disobey the laws. Furthermore, a ruler who is loved by the people must be tolerant of law breakers. What i'm tryin to ponder on right now is: are humans really selfish by nature? When are they selfish and when are they not?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Saints Plus Machiavelli

Unlike Socrates, Plato, Aquinas and St. Augustine, Machiavelli seems to be playing the bad cop here. Machiavelli's book “The Prince” is a good read because it lets us see the idea of a 'perfect' ruler in both points of view: the good and the bad.

When you think about it, Machiavelli's ideas really do make sense, they are practical and logical, but the only thing is that it cannot be applied to every state in general and it is 'bad'. He thinks that this prince who has these qualities knows how to be not good, a good feigner and dissembler, one more likely to be feared than loved.

If everybody in a community is good, then be good, but what if you're the only one being good and you totally know that it may cost you your life, will you still live up to your kindness and be ready to die? Maybe for some, it is possible. This may be really rude to hear but people can err. So it's like a pratical way to also learn and be 'bad' if it is necessary.

I'm now wondering, if all these thinkers that I mentioned had the opportunity to be together and discuss their ideas, what should the outcome be? Most especially St Augustine and Aquinas as opposed to Machiavelli. Chaotic, isn't it?