No one should be astonished if in the following discussion of completely new princedoms and of the prince and of government, I bring up the noblest examples. Because, since men almost always walk in the paths beaten by others and carry on their affairs by imitating even though it is not possible to keep wholly in the paths of others or to attain the ability of those you imitate prudent man will always choose to take paths beaten by great men and to imitate those who have been especially admirable, in order that if his ability does not reach theirs, at least it may offer some suggestion of it; and he will act like prudent archers, who, seeing that the mark they plan to hit is too far away and knowing what space can be covered by the power of their bows, take an aim much higher than their mark, not in order to reach with their arrows so great a height, but to be able, with the aid of so high an aim, to attain their purpose.
For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearance, as though they were realities and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are.
Topics: Appearance, Reality
There are three kinds of intelligence: one kind understands things for itself, the other appreciates what others can understand, the third understands neither for itself nor through others. This first kind is excellent, the second good, and the third kind useless.
Topics: Virtues, Intelligence
From this we learn that a wise prince sees to it that never, in order to attack someone, does he become the ally of a prince more powerful than himself, except when necessity forces him, as I said above. If you win, you are the powerful kings prisoner, and wise princes avoid as much as they can being in other mens power.
Because just as good morals, if they are to be maintained, have need of the laws, so the laws, if they are to be observed, have need of good morals.
It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.
Decide which is the line of conduct that presents the fewest drawbacks and then follow it out as being the best one, because one never finds anything perfectly pure and unmixed, or exempt from danger.
Topics: Risk, Danger, Decisions
Men sooner forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony.
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- Jeremy Bentham British Philosopher, Economist
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- Michel de Montaigne French Essayist
- Voltaire French Philosopher, Author