Your World and Your Domain

The planet earth is not your world.  Your world is the sum of all things that can affect your life.Remember that the Machiavellian perspective is a self-centered one. You, after all, are the star of your own personal drama.  You are the center of all things. It is your experience of events that gives them meaning. You are the measure of all things. If something makes you happy, then it is a happy event. If something makes you sad, then it must be a sad event. There is no reason to pretend to yourself that you are humble or modest about the importance of your own feelings or your own position in your own life. You can pretend to be modest to others, but not to me and not to yourself. This does not mean that you should should indulge yourself in megalomania, imagining yourself to be godlike or uniquely special in some way that is invisible to others. Everyone else is also the star of his or her own drama. Everyone’s life is measured by his or her own feelings. And from your own perspective, you are the center of the world.

But what is the world? And how can each of us be the center of it?

Your world is not the planet earth. Lots of things happen on earth that will have no impact on your life, and those things are unimportant. Your world is composed of all the things that can influence your life. Inhabitants of your world might be your boss, your spouse, your children, the mayor of your city, the President of the United States, a novelist who writes the mystery stories you love so much, a favorite actor or actress, a favorite prostitute, your bookie, a librarian, your child’s teacher, the man you are sleeping with, and the man who picks up your garbage. Some of the people in your world are beyond your control. For example, you probably have little influence over the President or your favorite novelist. This is because you are not part of their world. There are other people that you can influence somewhat but cannot control: your boss, your minister, your state legislator, the president of a local university, etc. Because these people can potentially have a significant impact on your life, you must take their attitudes and actions into account in your plans. 

It could be that you don’t like the world you live in, in which case you have to find another one: another city, another employer, another spouse, another place with opportunities that your current one doesn’t have.

Some of the people in your world are under your control - or can be. These might include your children, your spouse, your subordinates, your neighbors. Who these people are will vary greatly depending on the circumstances of your life. If you are homeless, you probably have no influence over anyone except, perhaps, a few homeless acquaintances. If you are president of a large global corporation, then you can potentially control many people. The part of your world that you can control is your Domain. The people that you can control are the inhabitants of your Domain. 

 

Your Domain

When Machiavelli was writing The Prince, he was writing to one person - the ruler of Renaissance The land of Oz was ruled by a Princely wizard.Florence. I am writing to you, whoever you are. Your Domain is that part of your world which you can control and in which your happiness resides. Your domain can be anything or any combination of things: the state of which you are governor, your husband and children, your academic department, a group of prisoners who are incarcerated in the same prison, parishioners in the church which you minister, subordinate librarians working in the university library for you, other scientists working on the same project, whatever. It does not matter what your Domain consists of - if it provides you with the most meaningful possible existence. There is no reason to believe that being CEO of a corporation or a Senator is more satisfying or more meaningful than being a kindergarten teacher, a nurse, a football coach, or a chess champion. The brief section on human nature (above) reminds you that while all of us belong to the same species, our natures are very individualized. What pleases one of us may not be pleasing to another. One woman’s meat, it is said, is another woman’s poison. I personally love tofu but I hate the taste of cinnamon, and I would be puzzled by anyone who has a different reaction to those flavors unless I realized that we all have different biochemistries and different histories. This is true of everything in life. Some people love to drive fast on the freeway; others are cautious. Some people enjoy elaborate sex-play that takes up hours of a day; to others sex is a small pleasure or even an annoyance. Some people enjoy writing computer programs; others would rather sell real estate, still others prefer to keep house and raise kids. Some people - we all know one - find being idle the most pleasant of all lives; they prefer to watch daytime TV, smoke cigarettes, and read magazines all day. You should conquer or build the Domain that suites you and rule it in pursuit of your own happiness.

Visualize your domain as if it were a tiny city-state existing in a larger world composed of other city-states like yours. Some are much larger and more powerful - vast and very intimidating - compared to yours. Others are smaller, less powerful, less impressive than yours. Each is ruled by someone, by another Prince who is pursuing his or her own self-defined destiny.

Each Prince has his or her own Subjects: people who obey the Prince, cooperate with the the Prince, and assist the Prince in pursuit of the Prince’s goals. For most humans, being controlled by a Prince is the most satisfying destiny. These people somehow select someone to follow - either by chance or choice - and devote their lives to assisting the Prince in pursuit of his or her (the Prince’s) goals. Most people prefer to be told what is meaningful. Not me, you say. I prefer to be master of my own fate. Well, perhaps you do and perhaps you are deluding yourself. The churches, temples, synagogues, mosques and psychiatrists’ couches are full of people who want to be told how to live. The audiences of Oprah and Dr. Phil tune in for guidance. Philosophy students may look back to Plato or Kant for inspiration. Spiritualists comb through the writings of Swedenborg, Arthur Conan Doyle, or Edgar Cayce for illumination and enlightenment. A young corporate executive may look to her mentor. Many men find sports stars worthy of admiration and emulation. Most humans are followers, though they all say otherwise. They are deluding themselves, but that is the nature of followers. If this were not so, human societies would not work so well. 

The Prince of each domain provides the Subject’s life with meaning and significance, whether the Subject is a priest following the Pope or a wife preparing a dinner for her husband’s boss. Activity without meaning is drudgery for a human being. A wife may happily polish furniture to provide her husband with a beautiful home, but an undocumented maid polishing the same furniture for twenty bucks a day finds no pleasure in her work. 

Next, read the Machiavellian description of human happiness and find out if you are a Prince...

 

 

Machiavellianism

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Warning: Don’t buy my book unless you are willing to pay the price for success. To become a more successful person, you must become a stronger, more capable person. This is easier to say than to do, as we all know. My book contains no magical formulas or simplistic rules of life. It challenges you to meet life on its own terms and achieve your most cherished goals, whatever they may be.

 

  The Modern Prince is based on The Prince, a little book of advice written by Nicolo Machiavelli to the Prince of Renaissance Florence five hundred years ago. I have rewritten Machiavelli’s classic work for the modern reader. I used the same lively, readable style that you find in these web pages. Machiavelli’s ideas have been used by the movers and shakers of the world for five centuries.

  

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