Mach 2.1: Modern Machiavellian-ism
What might Machiavelli write if he were alive today? How might his original ideas find a new, fuller expression if they were infused with the knowledge of the past five centuries? Answering those questions became my challenge and obsession in recent years. I found myself reading and re-reading The Prince and having imaginary conversations with his spirit. He was most obliging by appearing to me whenever I asked for yet another sťance.
Machiavellian-ism is not a topic you have felt much need to learn about. That is because you believe what you've been told. Don't believe the fake news that Machiavelli has been getting for five centuries. Machiavellian-ism doesn't have rules or commandments. It is a perspective, rather than a philosophy. It is a list of tactics rather than a strategy of life. It is relativism. What matters to you is all that matters. Machiavellianism says that all things in your life are relative to you. How you should behave in a situation depends totally on what you want to get out of that situation. The ends often justify the means, and only you can say whether one method is better than another in a particular situation. Just don't mention any of this to your boss or your mentor. There is no reason to trouble their little minds with these big thoughts. This web site is about modern Machiavellianism. It is an outgrowth of my charming and informative little book:
Mach 2.1: Promoting Better Living in the 21st Century Through Machiavellianism
by the brilliant and ever humble Midas Jones. (Paperback $9, Kindle Unlimited $0, Kindle $3.69)
“But,” I hear you thinking, “is Machiavellianism true or false? It Machiavellianism good or evil? I don't want to believe in a false or evil philosophy or doctrine or belief system or whatever!”
On Truth: It may seem like a contradiction, but a Modern Machiavellian should be more trustworthy and honest than the ordinary person. The Machiavellian realizes how valuable trust is and how fragile it is. If you lie to a person once - and are caught - then he or she will never trust you again. In most cases, the truth is best. As the great philosopher, Mark Twain, commented, “When in doubt, tell the truth.” On the other hand, our mentor Machiavelli observed that he had known many great and powerful people: kings, queens, popes, princes, princesses, generals, bishops, and so forth. He observed that all of them, at one time or another, lied, cheated, stole, or murdered to achieve success. If you want to be successful, he commented, then you must be prepared to lie, cheat, or steal to get what you want or keep what you've got. Otherwise, you may have to give up your dreams. (Five centuries ago, Machiavelli was much more casual about murder than we are today. My 21st century version of Machiavellianism excludes murder as an acceptable way of getting what you want. Sorry if that is disappointing to you.)
The public and private dialogs of our society are saturated with falsehoods and misinformation. Think about that as you browse what is below.
Is it better to lose honestly or win by cheating? How would you answer that question if asked by your child? The normal reply would be, “It is best to win by playing fair.” But, in many life situations, those are not your choices. The choices in life are often (1) lose if you play fair or (2) win if you cheat.
The old saying in pro-sports, I have heard, is “If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying!” Many of our most intense competitors cheat as a way of doing business. Large corporations (not all of them but most, I think) routinely use accounting flummery, deceptive marketing, bribery (both campaign contributions and outright bribes) to make the sale or get the contract. Professional athletes use banned substances all the time. In the highly competitive business of politics, the lie is just a way of doing business.
I am not a crook. ~ President Nixon
I did not sleep with that woman. ~ President Clinton
Cigarette smoking is no more addictive than coffee, tea, or Twinkies, ~ the tobacco industry.
History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren't there. ~ George Santayana
I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche.
Lying Primates: Possession of the capacity to lie among non-humans has been asserted during language studies. In one instance, a gorilla (Koko), when asked who tore a sink from the wall, pointed to one of her handlers and then laughed.
Deceptive body language, such as feints that mislead as to the intended direction of attack or flight, is observed in many species. A mother bird deceives when she pretends to have a broken wing to divert the attention of a perceived predator, including unwitting humans, from the eggs in her nest, as she draws the predator away from the location of the nest.
Priests lie about sleeping with parishioners and altar boys.
Students lie to professors about why their homework is not ready.
Citizens lie to policemen, judges and juries about why they are speeding.
Lawyers lie to judges and juries about their client's innocence.
Corporations lie incessantly to their customers, stockholders, and government officials.
Horse Meat: Four major supermarket chains operating in Britain are withdrawing a number of beef products after horse DNA was found in frozen burgers sold in the UK and Ireland by Aldi, Iceland, Lidl and Tesco.(2013)
So, if Machiavellianism isn’t about lying, cheating, stealing, and murdering, then what is it about?