This week one of the pieces we covered was Machiavelli’s the Prince. His writings were incredibly popular for his time. What makes his work intriguing is that despite the rose colored glasses many choose to look through his instruction can still be seen in our culture today.
No we don’t cut up the lesser of two evils so people will like us, although one could speculate that the media certainly did that to Romney on Obama’s behalf. The naivety that people choose to view the world with has to be one of the more amazing aspects of our culture. If you are drenched in reality you're viewed as a pessimist who is a gloom and doomer.
Niccolo Machiavelli lived in the brutal world of 1469-1527 yet his writings are still worth reading today. Whether you agree or disagree with what he says if you look you can see some of his writings on power in practice today. Although the literal sword of brutality is gone, it is still cut throat the higher you climb.
We live in a world where we try to pretend brutality doesn't exist anymore when in fact it does. Every time we hear about a case of road rage, or someone plowing down grandma in the supermarket for going to slow.We see first hand that belief "The Ends Justifies The Means."
As a country we have grown so soft in our approach towards punishment of crimes we risk becoming victims ourselves. Every pedophile we let off the hook, every murder we parole. How do you project to the world that you're a force to be reckoned with when you can't deal with your own issues at home?
When did it become OK to leave the blinders on rather than dealing with life head on like our ancestors. When did we lay down and die giving up on ourselves as a people? Looking for handouts or entitlements from our government or others?
I often wonder if we ever woke up and decided to change our approach would it make a difference at this point in our history? Or has the damage already been done? Every generation steps further and further away from those values that make us human and connected to each other as a people. There is more I /Me in this world then at any other time, so in truth we aren't too far from Machiavelli, or his teachings. We have become a culture of what's in it for me, and what do I get out its.
I came away from his reading feeling that despite the manipulation, and treachery of his time he came across perhaps as a little more civilized and honest then we are today in our own “enlightened” culture.
|The consulate in Libya|