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Letter to Francesco Vettori and The Prince - Essay Example

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For thinkers and their followers, for leaders and their subjects, for writers and their audience, it is inevitable that their thoughts, dictates and literature can be respectively interpreted in a variety of forms, and represent truth in disparate ways. This reading into thoughts, events, acts and expressions to discern and determine the nature of truth can take various forms…
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Letter to Francesco Vettori and The Prince
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Download file to see previous pages Alternatively, we can choose to act, and discover our own truth behind the layers of apparent realities.
Different approaches to reading into events in our lives have been described down the ages, one of the most dramatic being that of Machiavelli, who suggested an alternative concept of truth, in terms of a philosophy of power, an "effective truth". According to him, reality was much opposed to the idealistic Greek and Christian concepts, and it was not primarily moral or ethical , but political, to be manipulated in order to gain power. He recommends in the fifteenth chapter of The Prince:
And many have imagined for themselves republics and principalities that no one has ever seen or known to be in reality. Because how one ought to live is so far removed from how one lives that he who lets go of what is done for that which one ought to do sooner learns ruin than his own preservation: because a man who might want to make a show of goodness in all things necessarily comes to ruin among so many who are not good. Because of this it is necessary for a prince, wanting to maintain himself, to learn how to be able to be not good and to use this and not use it according to necessity. (Machiavelli,1513)
Not only does Machiavelli feel that manipulation and distortion of facts is not just a part of reality, he also claims that one who truly worships power as the only truth can bend his destiny to his designs, and fate herself would comply. He clarifies this in Chapter 25 of The Prince:
Nevertheless, not to extinguish our free will, I hold it to be true that Fortune is the arbiter of one-half of our actions, but that she still leaves us to direct the other half, or perhaps a little
less....So it happens with fortune, who shows her power where valor has not prepared to resist her, and thither she turns her forces where she knows that barriers and defenses have not been raised to constrain her.(Machiavelli, 1513)
In stark contrast is Jorge Luis Borges, for whom the reality of destiny is inescapably omnipotent, and the only way to deal with it is to fashion alternate realities, understand it in terms of myth, an opinion for which he has often been criticized :
Borges takes away the "real" weight of history, situating it in a mythic horizon, negating it. When he places the whole episode (and, we might say, the whole period) in a place outside of the concrete and the factic, outside of the historical, he deprives it of all concrete importance, of every possibility of influencing reality, of forming part of the historical process.... Once again, Borges negates reality. ( Borello, 1991)
Despite creating commentaries on books that did not exist, historical events that never took place, and practicing literary forgery, his concept of reality was very much accepting, in creating myths he sought not to negate reality but to pause its triumphal march so as to grasp it better.
Our destiny (unlike the hell of Swedenborg or the hell of Tibetan mythology) is not frightening because it is unreal: it is frightening because it is irreversible and ironclad. Time is the substance of which I am made. Time is a river that sweeps me away, but I am the river; it is a tiger that tears me apart, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire. The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges. ( Borges, 1946) ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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