View Full Version : "A Prudent Man Should Always Follow in the Path Trodden by Great Men"

Friday, January 8th, 2010, 05:36 PM
Machiavelli said "a prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent, so that if he does not attain to their greatness, at any rate he will get some tinge of it,"

Do you agree or disagree with his statement? I disagree


Saturday, January 9th, 2010, 02:59 PM
Machiavelli's statement has to be seen in the historical context he lived in. These were very violent surroundings. His statement is true for the homo politicus, the ambitious man who wants to survive in such surroundings and to attain as much power as possible. Clever like snakes (Machiavelli himself took the fox as an example), gentle like doves. However, for every man oriented more towards science or art, such way of life is obviously a nightmare, because if the man following such concept does not attain the greatness of his models, he will not have produced anything original and thus will not be remembered. On the contrary: It is far more probable that he will be entirely forgotten, if not laughed at, by posterity.

Summa summarum: It is a sad wisdom Machiavelli presents here, but a necessary one if you are born into violent surroundings, where murder and intrigue is daily business.

Saturday, January 9th, 2010, 03:27 PM
I disagree with his statement because individuals are excluded from his theories. But individuality is an illusion... an everyday concept which means nothing.

Hauke Haien
Saturday, January 9th, 2010, 08:10 PM
The purpose behind imitating great men is not merely to recreate their superficial procedures or the illusory appearance that seemingly defines them, it is meant to approach the spirit from which these things emanate in hope of creating new phenomena from it.

When the Úlfhéðnar put on a wolf pelt they did not do so in order to behave like wolves or to pretend to be like wolves, they did it because they are wolves. When a Holsatian puts on the costume of his peasant ancestor, it is not meant to be a silly and outdated tradition, it signifies that his ancestor's soul lives on in new flesh.

This, I think, is the relationship between doing things and being someone. It is not possible to abstract a quality and adopt it directly, it has to be inspirited.

Thursday, March 17th, 2011, 03:57 PM
I certainly agree with Machiavelli's assertion;- a version of the 'on the shoulders of giants' dictum.
All great men build on the achievements of their predecessors.

Secondly it relates to the view that one can only effectively re-write the rules if one knows the rules in the first place.

Due to the cyclical nature of existence, there are [I]always precursors, and the wise man must be aware of them and must also have studied them closely.

This invokes the third axiom;- only those who are acutely aware of their own history are not doomed to repeat it [unless they should wish to do so].

We are our ancestors and our ancestors are we;- we have no choice but to walk in their footsteps. Better to do this in awareness than in ignorance.

Friday, March 18th, 2011, 12:18 PM
This has to do with leaning by role-model. It can help one achieve success by avoiding mistakes and giving deeper insight into the matter (history tends to repeat), but it's not mandatory as it can be too much schemed and kills individuality and creativeness that often is necessary for great deeds.

Sunday, March 20th, 2011, 02:04 AM
I say there is no need to imitate great men before you in that one only needs to become a great man in their own image by that of their own self creativity.

Huginn ok Muninn
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011, 08:23 AM
This may have been more straightforward in Machiavelli's day, because cultures were more homogeneous and greatness was easier to define. How many today, though, are told that people like Churchill and FDR were the greatest men of their age? Certainly to naysay this notion would bring a lot of criticism. The problem is, that which is great has been defined for us by an alien race which is mostly bent upon our destruction. To be "great" in their eyes is to be their champion, usually in action against our own.

Thursday, March 24th, 2011, 03:53 PM
Let us attend to the quote more carefully.
He actually makes a distinction;

1) following in the path of great men, and
2) imitating those who are most excellent.

In 1) he is suggesting that one should attempt to become great.
History offers us many examples of great men of our own race who were for our own race.
Therefore we should follow that path of trying to become great by being of and for our own race.
Only by achieving greatness can great things be achieved.

In 2) he is saying that we should imitate those who have excellent qualities. Such excellent people may not be great in the sense of being famous - just as many great men may not always have excellent qualities.
So here we can look to models who have excellent qualities, such as loyalty to the race, courage in fighting for the race and so forth.
Surely these qualities must be imitated.

These two points combined make a good school for any person who wants to do something positive for his own race.

"a prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent, so that if he does not attain to their greatness, at any rate he will get some tinge of it,"

Thursday, March 24th, 2011, 06:00 PM
A wise man who sits alone with much thoughts, reading the multifaceted books of great men and learning by studying how they got to the aspired positions of greatness. And through a personel replication of walking their paths and with intense isolation away from the herd mentality grow and develop unknown like a tree unpolluted, undefiled. By the law of reciprocal imagery they embue themselves with the same power. As this power imprints upon there unconsciousness and its birth springs from there.
Great men are teachers look and learn well from them.
Do not follow the herd, genius will not be found there.
Surround yourself with scientists, naturalists, astronomy teachers and highly intellectual men. A tree grows strong when the soil is of good quality.