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Thread: To be feared

  1. #11
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    Both love and fear have useful roles. Fear keeps people in check, as does love but from different angles. A leader must have a certain amount of control to lead - and the best leader will know how to manipulate these two to the best advantage to maintain control. One could argue that the ideal leader has what's best for the country at heart for his/her agenda, in which case, at some point knowing when to give up control might come into play. This isn't really what Machiavelli's book is about, however.

    As Oberon also brings up indifference as well as hate, as extensions of love/fear, it begs to reason that the definition of these terms is important to your interpretation. While I wholeheartedly agree with his assessment in terms of physical altercations/primal reactions I am not so sure that it pans out in other scenarios, like national government. Too many variables.

    I don't think that hate is the opposite of love. I would lean more towards apathy/control. Hatred is too focused on the object and too intense of an emotion to be the opposite of love. Dangerous, yes, but not necessarily the worst enemy. I think of hatred as dysfunctional love, apathy as being without hope and/or indifferent. In personal relationships control would be the opposite of love. As control is necessary to the ruler of a country I think we are mixing metaphors.

    I don't believe that Machiavelli was really referring to 'love' per say, but leaning more towards affection, respect, etc. The reason it is 'safer to be feared than loved' is due to the intensity of the reaction when love gets distorted.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    I don't subscribe to Machiavelli's point of view, and here is why...

    If you've ever been in a fight, or known people who had been in some physical fights, then consider who is more dangerous: The angry opponent, or the frightened opponent? The enemy who is angry wants revenge; the enemy who is frightened wants to survive. Survival is a stronger imperative, and therefore the scared man will punch you in the throat or kick you in the groin, gouge at your eyes, bite your fingers, reach for a weapon of any kind available, or do whatever he must to take you down. Consideration of your health and the ramifications of your injury are secondary at best, if they figure at all.

    Now extend this to the body politic. The populace that loves you, or which is indifferent to you, will adopt at worst a live-and-let-live attitude. The frightened populace... those who fear you... have reason to hate you, and will take you out if they can.

    Just my thoughts.

    -da mouse
    Machiavelli addresses this by stating how a leader should be feared but at the same time avoid being hated. Love does nothing in the long term for a leader, as we have so blatantly seen with Obama. Obama would do well to be a more intimidating political figure rather than one who tries to gain everyone's love which is impossible, and in the end, only makes more people hate you when you make promises to various groups, and fail to keep those promises. It's messy.

    And since I have a fair bit of experience with REAL fights, I'd also have to say that it is much much preferable to have your opponent fear you. An opponent who is scared is more easily controlled, and more importantly, more easily warded off before the situation even comes to blows. An angered person, otoh, just wants to do you harm in order to satisfy their emotions. The fearful one wants to get away from you to bring their emotions back into equilibrium. In all the fights I've been in and almost been in, those who hated me didn't hesitate to ramp it up. Those who feared me never even hit me and instead ran away.

    Most love wanes with time, while fear can continue on indefinitely. Fear plays upon the imagination, the dreading of things that may do you harm or negatively affect you in some way. A boogy man can go on to scare a population for as long as idea/image is present, so long as it does not become overly exposed so as to allow the object of fear to exit the world of frightful imagination. The wizard behind the curtain....

  3. #13
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    If you're talking about a despotism or relations with an already antagonistic regime (in the realm of foreign policy), then Machiavelli's advice to the Prince holds. Otherwise, different dynamics are in play. Its worth noting that Machiavelli himself was a republican, not a proponent of absolutism. Also, Realism predicts that weaker nations, given reasonable opportunity, will seek to ally with other weaker nations against a feared behemoth, while the 'Democratic Peace' phenomenon demonstrates that 'love' (i.e. lack of fear) is a more practical tool for democratic alliances.

    Is anybody else a total nerd who was immediately reminded of Lolth the Spider Queen and Dark Elves?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blown Ghost View Post
    Interesting, I thought her avatar had more of a "you want a piece of me?" vibe to it!
    I'm a 5'3" asian girl. I guess I'm not very fear-inducing.

  5. #15
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    There's much to be said about Machiavelli's insight into the underbelly of humankind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Its worth noting that Machiavelli himself was a republican, not a proponent of absolutism.
    Machiavelli's actual views are expressed in a few obscure texts otherwise known as "Everything else he ever wrote". Apparently The Prince is really just a political satire.

    In other words, he successfully trolled all of us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Walalaaa View Post
    Machiavelli's actual views are expressed in a few obscure texts otherwise known as "Everything else he ever wrote". Apparently The Prince is really just a political satire.

    In other words, he successfully trolled all of us.
    I don't believe anyone really thought he was REALLY advising anyone with his writings. The Prince seemed more like his own philosophical and political musings. Either way, his words carry a great deal of truth and wisdom.

  8. #18
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    Why do you have experience with real fights? Honestly, whenever I think about concepts such as intimidation, fear, fighting, etc, I think about stupidity and apes.
    [YOUTUBE="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDYyv-iLmRY"]Risen in one of his many fights[/YOUTUBE]
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walalaaa View Post
    Machiavelli's actual views are expressed in a few obscure texts otherwise known as "Everything else he ever wrote". Apparently The Prince is really just a political satire.

    In other words, he successfully trolled all of us.
    Some wonder if it's a political satire since it appeared to conflict with his other works, some believed it to be philosophy and finally some believe it to be a political handbook.

    I think there are some insightful thoughts and concepts expressed, as it relates to the darker side of humanity.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
    Why do you have experience with real fights? Honestly, whenever I think about concepts such as intimidation, fear, fighting, etc, I think about stupidity and apes.
    [YOUTUBE="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDYyv-iLmRY"]Risen in one of his many fights[/YOUTUBE]
    A very much culturally relativistic argument for how power should be obtained and exercised, but a good one for the society you and I live in (in general). Violence has always had its place, and it still does no matter how evolved you believe yourself to be. The intelligent among us simply need to know when to use violence, and most importantly, when not to. The drones of society follow the hive rules that mandate violence is wrong and not conducive to the collective order, and they follow this rule even to their own destruction. Their role endowed purpose is to support the collective, not their individual survival or well being. But the lowly criminals, sociopaths, and the highly intelligent power brokers of society know one thing: self preservation and empowerment is prime, by whatever means necessary. However, the latter group knows there is a time and place for everything, and are not so foolish as to go too far outside of the societal machinery to get their way. They work within the system to assert themselves above the drone workers as pseudo-queens of the hive, and reap the rewards.

    My point is, violence is valid, when used intelligently, and when the need is high. Not seeing that is symptomatic of being heavily chained within the box roles of society. It's a dangerous role to be in these days, one that is destined to keep you a slave. One must be an independent thinker to survive, being able to think rationally from both within the confines of the box, and outside of it. See the rules as they are, see what you want/need, and see how to best manipulate the rules to suit your wants/needs.

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