Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Nietzsche and Machiavelli

  1. #1
    Senior Member Cuchulain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 @ 12:38 AM
    Ethnicity
    Hiberno-Norman
    Subrace
    UP/Atlanto Med
    Country
    United States United States
    State
    Illinois Illinois
    Gender
    Age
    36
    Family
    Single adult
    Occupation
    B-School, Demolition
    Politics
    I do what I can
    Posts
    601
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post

    Nietzsche and Machiavelli

    Do you find a common theme in their ideas? A philosophical compatibility if you will.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 @ 11:44 PM
    Ethnicity
    German
    Subrace
    Europid
    Country
    United States United States
    State
    Washington Washington
    Location
    Yelm
    Gender
    Age
    37
    Family
    Single adult
    Politics
    Polity capitated per constituent
    Religion
    a priori dialectic thelema/odal
    Posts
    285
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post
    Though I'm not versed in Machiavelli, I'd say he put more stress on a more vulgar individualism: lying, even to the point of only telling the truth when it benefits you directly and not otherwise.

    I don't think of Nietzsche's philosophy as Machiavellian at all in that regard. Nietzsche had a quote something along the lines of: "A lawyer is not an artist enough to make the beautiful horribleness of the crime work in its favor", nothing more honest than the will to have a society which does things like that. Revaluating values is a drive to make a society where people can be more healthily honest about things which are now forbidden, Machiavelli would be more content living in the world as it is today as long as he could take advantage of it and he'd not care for the ignorance of others; it'd be to his advantage, I believe Nietzsche saw the injustice of others having to endure such a society as something unbearable to him; he still things 'might is right' but in an honorable, to your face, kind of way. I may have misconstrued Machiavelli's philosophy though, I only know him secondarily.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cuchulain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 @ 12:38 AM
    Ethnicity
    Hiberno-Norman
    Subrace
    UP/Atlanto Med
    Country
    United States United States
    State
    Illinois Illinois
    Gender
    Age
    36
    Family
    Single adult
    Occupation
    B-School, Demolition
    Politics
    I do what I can
    Posts
    601
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Nagelfar View Post
    Though I'm not versed in Machiavelli, I'd say he put more stress on a more vulgar individualism: lying, even to the point of only telling the truth when it benefits you directly and not otherwise.

    I don't think of Nietzsche's philosophy as Machiavellian at all in that regard. Nietzsche had a quote something along the lines of: "A lawyer is not an artist enough to make the beautiful horribleness of the crime work in its favor", nothing more honest than the will to have a society which does things like that. Revaluating values is a drive to make a society where people can be more healthily honest about things which are now forbidden, Machiavelli would be more content living in the world as it is today as long as he could take advantage of it and he'd not care for the ignorance of others; it'd be to his advantage, I believe Nietzsche saw the injustice of others having to endure such a society as something unbearable to him; he still things 'might is right' but in an honorable, to your face, kind of way. I may have misconstrued Machiavelli's philosophy though, I only know him secondarily.
    Machiavelli is somewhat misrepresented IMO as advocating manipulation for purely self interested means. His ideas certainly can be put to such use, however I think they could also be used in a noble, ends justify the means sort of way. He doesn't seem to advocate either approach- his ideas are ideas, not ideals. To me, he was simply a realist. He recognized that any man who wishes to have power whether he uses it for his own selfish purposes or for the greater good, is going to have to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty. Even if your not into being a devious bastard, you'd better be able to do it when necessary, or someone who is will come along and topple you.

    Both Nietszche's Ubermensch and Machiavelli's Prince are more than mere men, and both must transcend the common man's notions of morality in order to be so. Both philosophers see moral standards as voluntary limitations self-imposed by the weak.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Last Online
    Monday, July 16th, 2012 @ 02:14 AM
    Ethnicity
    CeltoGermanic
    Country
    Vinland Vinland
    State
    Alabama Alabama
    Gender
    Age
    38
    Family
    Married, happily
    Occupation
    Tree Wizard
    Religion
    Wotanist
    Posts
    431
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cuchulain View Post
    Do you find a common theme in their ideas? A philosophical compatibility if you will.
    Maybe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cuchulain View Post
    Both Nietszche's Ubermensch and Machiavelli's Prince are more than mere men, and both must transcend the common man's notions of morality in order to be so.
    And just how are common man's notions of morality transcended..?

    Nietzsche critiqued the groundworks of subjectivity, stating that the subject was a "grammatical fiction"; "there is no doer behind the doing".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subject_(philosophy)
    An understanding of this may show some similarities between the two..

    It is only by means of forgetfulness that man can ever reach the point of fancying himself to possess a "truth" of the grade just indicated. If he will not be satisfied with truth in the form of tautology, that is to say, if he will not be content with empty husks, then he will always exchange truths for illusions. What is a word? It is the copy in sound of a nerve stimulus. But the further inference from the nerve stimulus to a cause outside of us is already the result of a false and unjustifiable application of the principle of sufficient reason. If truth alone had been the deciding factor in the genesis of language, and if the standpoint of certainty had been decisive for designations, then how could we still dare to say "the stone is hard," as if "hard" were something otherwise familiar to us, and not merely a totally subjective stimulation! We separate things according to gender, designating the tree as masculine and the plant as feminine. What arbitrary assignments! How far this oversteps the canons of certainty! We speak of a "snake": this designation touches only upon its ability to twist itself and could therefore also fit a worm. What arbitrary differentiations! What one-sided preferences, first for this, then for that property of a thing! The various languages placed side by side show that with words it is never a question of truth, never a question of adequate expression; otherwise, there would not be so many languages. The "thing in itself" (which is precisely what the pure truth, apart from any of its consequences, would be) is likewise something quite incomprehensible to the creator of language and something not in the least worth striving for. This creator only designates the relations of things to men, and for expressing these relations he lays hold of the boldest metaphors. To begin with, a nerve stimulus is transferred into an image: first metaphor. The image, in turn, is imitated in a sound: second metaphor. And each time there is a complete overleaping of one sphere, right into the middle of an entirely new and different one. One can imagine a man who is totally deaf and has never had a sensation of sound and music. Perhaps such a person will gaze with astonishment at Chladni's sound figures; perhaps he will discover their causes in the vibrations of the string and will now swear that he must know what men mean by "sound." It is this way with all of us concerning language; we believe that we know something about the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things--metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities. In the same way that the sound appears as a sand figure, so the mysterious X of the thing in itself first appears as a nerve stimulus, then as an image, and finally as a sound. Thus the genesis of language does not proceed logically in any case, and all the material within and with which the man of truth, the scientist, and the philosopher later work and build, if not derived from never-never land, is a least not derived from the essence of things.

    In particular, let us further consider the formation of concepts. Every word instantly becomes a concept precisely insofar as it is not supposed to serve as a reminder of the unique and entirely individual original experience to which it owes its origin; but rather, a word becomes a concept insofar as it simultaneously has to fit countless more or less similar cases--which means, purely and simply, cases which are never equal and thus altogether unequal. Every concept arises from the equation of unequal things. Just as it is certain that one leaf is never totally the same as another, so it is certain that the concept "leaf" is formed by arbitrarily discarding these individual differences and by forgetting the distinguishing aspects. This awakens the idea that, in addition to the leaves, there exists in nature the "leaf": the original model according to which all the leaves were perhaps woven, sketched, measured, colored, curled, and painted--but by incompetent hands, so that no specimen has turned out to be a correct, trustworthy, and faithful likeness of the original model. We call a person "honest," and then we ask "why has he behaved so honestly today?" Our usual answer is, "on account of his honesty." Honesty! This in turn means that the leaf is the cause of the leaves. We know nothing whatsoever about an essential quality called "honesty"; but we do know of countless individualized and consequently unequal actions which we equate by omitting the aspects in which they are unequal and which we now designate as "honest" actions. Finally we formulate from them a qualities occulta which has the name "honesty." We obtain the concept, as we do the form, by overlooking what is individual and actual; whereas nature is acquainted with no forms and no concepts, and likewise with no species, but only with an X which remains inaccessible and undefinable for us. For even our contrast between individual and species is something anthropomorphic and does not originate in the essence of things; although we should not presume to claim that this contrast does not correspond o the essence of things: that would of course be a dogmatic assertion and, as such, would be just as indemonstrable as its opposite.

    What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and; anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding. Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions- they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force, coins which have lost their embossing and are now considered as metal and no longer as coins.

    We still do not yet know where the drive for truth comes from. For so far we have heard only of the duty which society imposes in order to exist: to be truthful means to employ the usual metaphors. Thus, to express it morally, this is the duty to lie according to a fixed convention, to lie with the herd and in a manner binding upon everyone. Now man of course forgets that this is the way things stand for him. Thus he lies in the manner indicated, unconsciously and in accordance with habits which are centuries' old; and precisely by means of this unconsciousness and forgetfulness he arrives at his sense of truth. From the sense that one is obliged to designate one thing as "red," another as "cold," and a third as "mute," there arises a moral impulse in regard to truth. The venerability, reliability, and utility of truth is something which a person demonstrates for himself from the contrast with the liar, whom no one trusts and everyone excludes. As a "rational" being, he now places his behavior under the control of abstractions. He will no longer tolerate being carried away by sudden impressions, by intuitions. First he universalizes all these impressions into less colorful, cooler concepts, so that he can entrust the guidance of his life and conduct to them. Everything which distinguishes man from the animals depends upon this ability to volatilize perceptual metaphors in a schema, and thus to dissolve an image into a concept. For something is possible in the realm of these schemata which could never be achieved with the vivid first impressions: the construction of a pyramidal order according to castes and degrees, the creation of a new world of laws, privileges, subordinations, and clearly marked boundaries-a new world, one which now confronts that other vivid world of first impressions as more solid, more universal, better known, and more human than the immediately perceived world, and thus as the regulative and imperative world. Whereas each perceptual metaphor is individual and without equals and is therefore able to elude all classification, the great edifice of concepts displays the rigid regularity of a Roman columbarium and exhales in logic that strength and coolness which is characteristic of mathematics. Anyone who has felt this cool breath [of logic] will hardly believe that even the concept-which is as bony, foursquare, and transposable as a die-is nevertheless merely the residue of a metaphor, and that the illusion which is involved in the artistic transference of a nerve stimulus into images is, if not the mother, then the grandmother of every single concept. But in this conceptual crap game "truth" means using every die in the designated manner, counting its spots accurately, fashioning the right categories, and never violating the order of caste and class rank. Just as the Romans and Etruscans cut up the heavens with rigid mathematical lines and confined a god within each of the spaces thereby delimited, as within a templum, so every people has a similarly mathematically divided conceptual heaven above themselves and henceforth thinks that truth demands that each conceptual god be sought only within his own sphere. Here one may certainly admire man as a mighty genius of construction, who succeeds in piling an infinitely complicated dome of concepts upon an unstable foundation, and, as it were, on running water. Of course, in order to be supported by such a foundation, his construction must be like one constructed of spiders' webs: delicate enough to be carried along by the waves, strong enough not to be blown apart by every wind. As a genius of construction man raises himself far above the bee in the following way: whereas the bee builds with wax that he gathers from nature, man builds with the far more delicate conceptual material which he first has to manufacture from himself. In this he is greatly to be admired, but not on account of his drive for truth or for pure knowledge of things. When someone hides something behind a bush and looks for it again in the same place and finds it there as well, there is not much to praise in such seeking and finding. Yet this is how matters stand regarding seeking and finding "truth" within the realm of reason. If I make up the definition of a mammal, and then, after inspecting a camel, declare "look, a mammal' I have indeed brought a truth to light in this way, but it is a truth of limited value. That is to say, it is a thoroughly anthropomorphic truth which contains not a single point which would be "true in itself" or really and universally valid apart from man. At bottom, what the investigator of such truths is seeking is only the metamorphosis of the world into man. He strives to understand the world as something analogous to man, and at best he achieves by his struggles the feeling of assimilation. Similar to the way in which astrologers considered the stars to be in man 's service and connected with his happiness and sorrow, such an investigator considers the entire universe in connection with man: the entire universe as the infinitely fractured echo of one original sound-man; the entire universe as the infinitely multiplied copy of one original picture-man. His method is to treat man as the measure of all things, but in doing so he again proceeds from the error of believing that he hasthese things [which he intends to measure] immediately before him as mere objects. He forgets that the original perceptual metaphors are metaphors and takes them to be the things themselves.

    Only by forgetting this primitive world of metaphor can one live with any repose, security, and consistency: only by means of the petrification and coagulation of a mass of images which originally streamed from the primal faculty of human imagination like a fiery liquid, only in the invincible faith that this sun, this window, this table is a truth in itself, in short, only by forgetting that he himself is an artistically creating subject, does man live with any repose, security, and consistency. If but for an instant he could escape from the prison walls of this faith, his"self consciousness" would be immediately destroyed. It is even a difficult thing for him to admit to himself that the insect or the bird perceives an entirely different world from the one that man does, and that the question of which of these perceptions of the world is the more correct one is quite meaningless, for this would have to have been decided previously in accordance with the criterion of the correct perception, which means, in accordance with a criterion which is not available. But in any case it seems to me that "the correct perception"-which would mean "the adequate expression of an object in the subject"-is a contradictory impossibility. For between two absolutely different spheres, as between subject and object, there is no causality, no correctness, and no expression; there is, at most, an aesthetic relation: I mean, a suggestive transference, a stammering translation into a completely foreign tongue-for which I there is required, in any case, a freely inventive intermediate sphere and mediating force. "Appearance" is a word that contains many temptations, which is why I avoid it as much as possible. For it is not true that the essence of things "appears" in the empirical world. A painter without hands who wished to express in song the picture before his mind would, by means of this substitution of spheres, still reveal more about the essence of things than does the empirical world. Even the relationship of a nerve stimulus to the generated image is not a necessary one. But when the same image has been generated millions of times and has been handed down for many generations and finally appears on the same occasion every time for all mankind, then it acquires at last the same meaning for men it would have if it were the sole necessary image and if the relationship of the original nerve stimulus to the generated image were a strictly causal one. In the same manner, an eternally repeated dream would certainly be felt and judged to be reality. But the hardening and congealing of a metaphor guarantees absolutely nothing concerning its necessity and exclusive justification.
    -- from On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense
    Later,
    -Lyfing

  5. #5
    Senior Member Cuchulain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 @ 12:38 AM
    Ethnicity
    Hiberno-Norman
    Subrace
    UP/Atlanto Med
    Country
    United States United States
    State
    Illinois Illinois
    Gender
    Age
    36
    Family
    Single adult
    Occupation
    B-School, Demolition
    Politics
    I do what I can
    Posts
    601
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lyfing View Post
    And just how are common man's notions of morality transcended..?
    The inherent arrogance of leadership combined with the pragmatism necessary to maintain such a role.

  6. #6
    Senior Member MockTurtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Last Online
    Saturday, April 28th, 2012 @ 05:33 AM
    Ethnicity
    Anglo-American
    Ancestry
    Northwestern Europe
    Country
    United States United States
    State
    Washington Washington
    Location
    Pacific NW
    Gender
    Age
    33
    Occupation
    Student
    Politics
    Racialist Free Enterprise
    Religion
    Atheism
    Posts
    462
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Cuchulain View Post
    Do you find a common theme in their ideas? A philosophical compatibility if you will.
    In the realm of politics, I would say definitely 'yes'. Machiavelli was almost exclusively a political philosopher, after all, so that's the only area in which commonality of any sort can really be found.

    The main reason I would say 'yes' isn't so much because they reached precisely the same conclusions, but mostly due to their attitudes towards power in human relations. Both of them seem to have believed that power was the real standard underpinning the whole of civilization, regardless of whatever else might exist on the surface. For instance, I think both Machiavelli and Nietzsche saw religion in a very similar way -- that is, both of them saw it as being a tool to gain power over a body of people, although it tries to dress itself up in universal altruism and innocent rhetoric. I can't remember the exact quotation, but I know that Nietzsche once remarked that Machiavelli achieved 'perfection' in the art of politics.

    I would be careful before trying to take the apparent similarities for more than they a really worth though. It's vital to keep in mind that Nietzsche's attitude to power wasn't just limited to a 'political context' -- for him, the 'will to power' was quite literally a 'theory of everything', a basic desire that extends to everything in the universe. Machiavelli is very concerned with trying to work out the various techniques and steps that are needed in the political arena; for Nietzsche, the 'political arena' was just one more example of the 'will to power' in action. And, furthermore, Nietzsche generally disliked 'politics' altogether because he didn't think that most politicians were very honorable in their motives. So, I'd say there's definitely some similarities, but they only go so far...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cuchulain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 @ 12:38 AM
    Ethnicity
    Hiberno-Norman
    Subrace
    UP/Atlanto Med
    Country
    United States United States
    State
    Illinois Illinois
    Gender
    Age
    36
    Family
    Single adult
    Occupation
    B-School, Demolition
    Politics
    I do what I can
    Posts
    601
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post
    Quote Originally Posted by MockTurtle View Post
    In the realm of politics, I would say definitely 'yes'. Machiavelli was almost exclusively a political philosopher, after all, so that's the only area in which commonality of any sort can really be found.

    The main reason I would say 'yes' isn't so much because they reached precisely the same conclusions, but mostly due to their attitudes towards power in human relations. Both of them seem to have believed that power was the real standard underpinning the whole of civilization, regardless of whatever else might exist on the surface. For instance, I think both Machiavelli and Nietzsche saw religion in a very similar way -- that is, both of them saw it as being a tool to gain power over a body of people, although it tries to dress itself up in universal altruism and innocent rhetoric. I can't remember the exact quotation, but I know that Nietzsche once remarked that Machiavelli achieved 'perfection' in the art of politics.

    I would be careful before trying to take the apparent similarities for more than they a really worth though. It's vital to keep in mind that Nietzsche's attitude to power wasn't just limited to a 'political context' -- for him, the 'will to power' was quite literally a 'theory of everything', a basic desire that extends to everything in the universe. Machiavelli is very concerned with trying to work out the various techniques and steps that are needed in the political arena; for Nietzsche, the 'political arena' was just one more example of the 'will to power' in action. And, furthermore, Nietzsche generally disliked 'politics' altogether because he didn't think that most politicians were very honorable in their motives. So, I'd say there's definitely some similarities, but they only go so far...
    I think though, that among the most fruitful rewards of comprehending either man's work is the ability to apply their ideas to other realms than those which the directly discussed, by perceiving analogies between things they discuss in their books and thinks which we as readers observe in our own worlds. For instance, many of Machiavelli's ideas about politics in the sixteenth century apply just as well to the contemporary corporate world. He was somewhat of a social psychologist, in addition to a political pundit.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 @ 11:44 PM
    Ethnicity
    German
    Subrace
    Europid
    Country
    United States United States
    State
    Washington Washington
    Location
    Yelm
    Gender
    Age
    37
    Family
    Single adult
    Politics
    Polity capitated per constituent
    Religion
    a priori dialectic thelema/odal
    Posts
    285
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lyfing View Post
    Nietzsche critiqued the groundworks of subjectivity, stating that the subject was a "grammatical fiction"; "there is no doer behind the doing".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subject_(philosophy)
    An understanding of this may show some similarities between the two..
    Interesting as the opposite seems to be the starting point of many a subjectivist philosopher who see a "doer" behind "doing" as objectifying that there is a 'doer' and therefore is objectivity, not subjectivity.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Last Online
    Monday, July 16th, 2012 @ 02:14 AM
    Ethnicity
    CeltoGermanic
    Country
    Vinland Vinland
    State
    Alabama Alabama
    Gender
    Age
    38
    Family
    Married, happily
    Occupation
    Tree Wizard
    Religion
    Wotanist
    Posts
    431
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Nagelfar View Post
    Interesting as the opposite seems to be the starting point of many a subjectivist philosopher who see a "doer" behind "doing" as objectifying that there is a 'doer' and therefore is objectivity, not subjectivity.
    Maybe as a consequence of there being no subject for Nietzsche things like the will to power perpetually returning became, become, and is becoming eternally because of the emphasis of the verb, to be ( Dasein )..??

    Later,
    -Lyfing

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 6
    Last Post: Saturday, June 14th, 2008, 01:50 PM
  2. Machiavelli: 'The Prince' and Other Strategic Books
    By Moody in forum Self-Defense & the Art of War
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: Tuesday, November 21st, 2006, 06:51 PM
  3. Classify Niccolo Machiavelli
    By Glynd Eastŵd in forum Anthropological Taxonomy
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: Monday, September 18th, 2006, 09:47 PM
  4. Replies: 13
    Last Post: Friday, November 21st, 2003, 12:44 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •