One of the most difficult things about being human is learning to live in a way that simultaneously benefits ourselves and others. Often, personal conflicts of interest cause us to make decisions that advance our own wellbeing to the detriment of those around us. Since childhood, parents and teachers have encouraged us to live selflessly. This is apparent in the commonly used phrase, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” But is it necessary to always put others’ best interests before our own? And if we always put others first, can we ever achieve our own personal goals and aspirations? According to Machiavelli and Montaigne, self-interest is not only an acceptable principle to live by, but also one that is necessary in order for us to prosper. While Machiavelli’s The Prince explores the pursuits of leaders to acquire and maintain power, Montaigne instead focuses on the life of the common man in The Essays. Despite their dissimilar focuses, both authors agree that in order to be successful, we must live in a way that will best serve our own interests. Often, this requires an individual to be flexible in order to navigate and adapt to the frequently changing circumstances of life.
In The Prince, Machiavelli emphasizes the importance of separating politics from ethics. This means discarding everyday virtues, such as clemency and generosity, and instead adopting those that are beneficial to a leader, such as courage, prudence, temperance, and justice. According to Machiavelli, if you are in a position of authority, the rules which you must follow change drastically, as the focus is no longer on being a good person, but rather, a good leader. Consequently, the ultimate goal of an authority fi...
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...ltimately allowing us to become the person we aspire to become. This does not mean that we should put others down in order to achieve our goals, but rather that we should not hesitate in capitalizing on the opportunities we are given and using them for our own benefit. As humans, it is a part of our nature to want to grow in hopes of becoming the best possible version of ourselves. By achieving personal success, we not only advance our own lives, but we enable those around us to prosper as well. “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” We all have the power to become great leaders. However, we must overcome the fear of failure in order to reach our full potential and become the people we are meant to be. As St. Catherine of Sienna so poignantly says, “Be who you are meant to be and you will set the world on fire.”
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- One of the most difficult things about being human is learning to live in a way that simultaneously benefits ourselves and others. Often, personal conflicts of interest cause us to make decisions that advance our own wellbeing to the detriment of those around us. Since childhood, parents and teachers have encouraged us to live selflessly. This is apparent in the commonly used phrase, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” But is it necessary to always put others’ best interests before our own.... [tags: Virtue, Political philosophy, Ethics, Morality]
1918 words (5.5 pages)
- Historical Background Having spent his childhood most peacefully, Niccolo Machiavelli, the great Italian philosopher witnessed Italy’s state of decadence and intense political conflict in his adulthood. The then Italy was not a unified country rather, it was an accumulation of city-states, each with its own court and ruler, each of them attempting to addition control over the others. Italy was not only a place of domestic intrigue but also a battleground for the force-ravenous French, the Spanish, the Germans and the Catholic Church under the power of the popes.... [tags: Niccolo Machiavelli, Medici, politics, Italy]
1762 words (5 pages)
- Living in a tumultuous era, filled with political and religious conflicts, warring city-states, and a continent ruled by a government who used the church to control and conquer, an exiled Machiavelli wrote the book The Prince to give politicians a basis on how to rule a nation and as a way to continue to make a statement in Florence’s politics. The book itself was unlike the regular “mirrors for princes”, in a sense that instead of telling the prince how to be morally sound it told him how to be effective as a ruler.... [tags: Novel Analysis, Russia, Stalin]
1049 words (3 pages)
- Machiavelli’s The Prince has been widely interpreted as representative of political behavior that is violent and deceitful. As such, the term Machiavellian has to come to be associated with deviousness, ruthlessness, and power politics. The issue of whether or not Machiavelli can be considered a Machiavellian himself is difficult to resolve because of the complexity of the arguments he puts forth in both The Prince and Discourses. While the claims made in the former are more focused on the individual, namely the “prince,” those posited in the latter describe phenomena on a broader spectrum, having to do with human nature and society at large.... [tags: sociopolitical analysis]
680 words (1.9 pages)
- Niccolo Machiavelli’s “The Prince” attempts to explain the necessary tactics and required knowledge a ruler must attain in order to gain and maintain a successful reign. The novel serves as an abstract manual, addressing the definition of a good/bad ruler by placing emphasis on the required military organization, the character a ruler must posses, and the success that could be attained if a ruler should follow the guide. The scope in which the book is written is that of a scholarly observant. Machiavelli places his findings and observations of history, as well as the needs of the people so the information may serve the prince as a tool, that once implemented will create and maintain a power... [tags: Literary Analysis, Niccolo Machiavelli]
1522 words (4.3 pages)
- Written around 1513, Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince is arguably one of the most famous treatises on politics in history. Dedicated to Lorenzo de ’Medici, ruler of Florence at the time, The Prince was not published until five years after Machiavelli’s death in 1532. It contains Machiavelli’s well-known analysis of politics: all politics is characteristically defined as the struggle of acquiring and maintaining power. Within his analysis, Machiavelli (1513) writes “One who adapts his policy to the times prospers” (p.... [tags: The Prince, Machiavelli]
1400 words (4 pages)
- When examining the totalitarian government of 1984 by George Orwell, a direct connection can be drawn to the motives and ideals associated with Niccoló Machiavelli’s The Prince. Machiavelli’s support of the political necessity as a means to remain in power resonate with the government whose aim is to “extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought” as a way to ensure complete political orthodoxy within the country (193). Specifically, Machiavellian thought plays an important part in 1984 as its ideas on reputation, revolution, avoiding hatred, and the use of fear to control a populace are used by INGSOC in order to maintain complete control throughout the story.... [tags: Literary Analysis]
1924 words (5.5 pages)
- Machiavelli’s “The Prince” brought up some controversial characteristics on what a Machiavellian ruler is. The characteristic that was most stressed was that “A prince must have no other objective, no other thought, nor take up any profession but that of war.”(Machiavelli 37). With a main focus on the art of war a ruler can protect the state he governs from attacks against him and his state. Machiavelli offers us an analogy to prove the importance of war. He speaks of two men: one armed and one unarmed.... [tags: Literary Analysis, Analytical Essay]
1071 words (3.1 pages)
- Niccolò Machiavelli thoroughly discusses the importance of religion in the formation and maintenance of political authority in his famous works, The Prince and The Discourses. In his writing on religion, he states that religion is beneficiary in the formation of political authority and political leaders must support and endorse religion in order to maintain power. However, Machiavelli also critiques corrupt religious institutions that become involved in politics and in turn, cause corruption in the citizenry and divisions among the state.... [tags: Machiavelli Prince Religion Religious Essays]
2286 words (6.5 pages)
- Machiavelli's The Prince: Politics, War, and Human Nature "[I]t is necessary for a prince to know well how to use the beast and the man." (Machiavelli, The Prince, p. 69). In this swift blow, Niccolò Machiavelli seems to strike down many visions of morality put up on pedestals by thinkers before his time. He doesn't turn to God or to some sort of common good for his political morality. Instead, he turns to the individual?more specifically, self-preservation in a position of power.... [tags: Machiavelli Prince Essays Papers]
1327 words (3.8 pages)