It is unknown to me how many believe that worldly events are so governed by fortune and by God, that men cannot by their prudence change them, and that on the contrary there is no remedy whatever, and for this they may judge it to be useless to toil much about them, but let things be ruled by chance. This opinion has been more believed in our day, from the great changes that have been seen, and are daily seen, beyond every human conjecture. [SOUNDS FUCKING FAMILIAR, DOESN'T IT?] When I think about them at times, I am partly inclined to share this opinion. Nevertheless, that our freewill may not be altogether extinguished, I think it may be true that fortune is the ruler of half our actions, but that she allows the other half or a little less to be governed by us. I would compare her to an impetuous river that, when turbulent, inundates the plains, ruins trees and buildings, removes earth from this side and places it on the other; every one flies before it, and everything yields to its fury without being able to oppose it. And yet when it is quiet, men can make provision against it by dams and banks, so that when it rises it will either go into a canal or its rush will not be so wild and dangerous. It happens similarly with fortune, which shows her power where no measures have been taken to resist her, and turns her fury where she knows that no dams or barriers have been made to hold her. But limiting myself more to particular cases, I would point out how one sees a certain prince today fortunate and tomorrow ruined, without seeing that he has changed in character. I believe this arises in the first place from the causes that we have already discussed at length; that is to say, because the prince who bases himself entirely on fortune is ruined when fortune varies. I also believe that he is happy whose mode of proceeding accords with the needs of the times, and similarly he is unfortunate whose mode of proceeding is opposed to the times. For one sees that in those things which lead them to the aim that each one has in view, namely, glory and riches, men proceed in various ways; one with circumspection, another with impetuosity, one by violence, another by cunning, one with patience, another with the reverse; and each by these diverse ways may arrive at his aim. One sees also two cautious men, one of whom succeeds in his designs, and the other not, and in the same way two men succeed equally by different methods, one being cautious, the other impetuous, which arises only from the nature of the times, which does or does not conform to their method of proceeding.HARDASS and perfectly accurate. Expressed in my peculiar language: When you've built enough dams and stored enough material and human capital, you're free to act more impetuously. When you tear down dams and grain elevators, when you operate on debt and JIT, the floods of fortune will always be in control, and you won't be free to improvise or think or create. Thinking of balances and bridges, it would be interesting to see a counterpoise book written as advice for peasants. Separate out the same variables and graph the same transfer functions for the opposite side of the balance. When the prince is generous with the peasants, how should the peasants behave to maximize the generosity and encourage the prince? When the prince is murderous, how should the peasants minimize the damage and discourage the prince? Machiavelli sometimes describes how the peasants typically respond to the ruler's behavior, but he's not on our side.
The current icon shows Polistra using a Personal Equation Machine.