“If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
2.) The Maxims
3.) Relevant Reading / In Closing
Rather than my usual dense and lengthy prose, I treat you to the insights of a Machiavellian. Originally written as reminders for myself rather than as an essay for the consumption of my readers, they can be likened to the Machiavellian’s equivalent of Marcus Aurelius’ meditations. Enjoy.
2.) The Maxims:
1. – Any and all weaknesses can be used against you, and in conflict, will be. As such, weaponise your weaknesses by making them known; hide them in plain sight. Wear your weaknesses like armour, flaunt them, and you deprive your opponents the use of ammunition that would otherwise discredit you.
2. – If weakness is speculated, deny it. If weakness is known, spin it. If it is directly observed, dismiss it. Should it look profitable, leverage it for status in the victimhood hierarchy.
3. – Justification can only exist in respectful exchanges. When you are disliked, justifications are deemed excuses, your guilt, pre-determined.
4. – Do not defend against your attackers, attack them; justification is a Machiavellian fallacy. Do not justify, stipulate. [More Here]
5. – People are like stocks, acquire assets, avoid/drop liabilities and ignore market rumours; acquire insider information wherever possible.
6. – The only difference between the toxic and the unlucky is the unlucky bring you down inadvertently, avoid both.
7. – Attacks reveal intent, defence reveals priority. You don’t defend the unimportant. You don’t attack allies unless it’s a decoy, this simple concept can be extrapolated to any situation.
8. – The battle of the sexes is the only war where crushing the opposition isn’t victory. No, a man must avoid checkmate and stalemate, by continuously putting his woman in check. This and only this is victory for the union.
9. – Everything is war in a different set of clothing. Love, business, politics, wherever there are competing interests there is a battlefield, and wherever there is a battlefield, there is war.
10. – When things fall apart, be ready for total war.
11. – Don’t insult the king in the throne room. If you must insult him, do so only amongst those you are confident share a mutual disdain. Lèse-majesté is dangerous, in this context a king is anyone you rely on socially, politically, economically etc.
12. – Lust of all kinds begets deceit, desire is good until it isn’t.
13. – Machiavellianism is the art of wielding power, how it’s wielded is determined by the wielder’s morality or lack thereof. Don’t blame the strategy, blame the soul of its employer. [Read more here.]
14. – Machiavellianism does not determine one’s morals, one’s morals determine the use of Machiavellianism. He who believes he is too moral for Machiavellianism is no more moral than he is an idiot.
15. – When people don’t like you, their questions are attacks. Sometimes these attacks are disguised as concerns, other times they are blatant. Whenever you’re asked a question, gauge the legitimacy of the question. Insincere questions must be met with insincere answers, if any answer at all.
16. – Do not trust those who overwhelm you with questions. They may simply be very curious, but it is more likely they are searching for dents in your armour. The line between curiosity and interrogation is thin, and people do not wear uniforms.
17. – Doubling down on your position or ignoring the challenge usually trumps an apology.
18. – Ignore your ignorer. To ignore your ignorer is to enter a war of most silent attrition. Who will speak first when silence is golden? Whoever speaks first loses. Whoever speaks first admits they need the other more, no matter what plausible deniability they may retroactively invoke to disguise the fact.
19. – Ignoring is a non-response response; no response is a neutral response. Lots of neutral responses hint at a negative underlying sentiment, for people who like you struggle to ignore you.
20. – Where bullying fails, charm succeeds and where charm fails, bullying succeeds. One should substitute in hard power when soft power fails and vice versa.
21. – People are enticed by the allure of circumvention, operating outside the rules carries its own thrill. People feel good when they get away with things.
22. – The trick to dealing with psychopaths lies in possessing a full awareness of the conditionality of the transaction, for they are scant in sentiment.
23. – Not knowing what a psychopath wants from you is equivalent to operating within a perpetually detonating flashbang. If you cannot discern what they want, cease dealings.
24. – Being charming is the result of happiness or success, not of virtue. It is amusing that people oft fail to make this distinction, they conflate charm with virtue. As a matter of prudence, the more charming, the more dangerous.
25. – Whether you realise it or not, the powerful are always testing, always evaluating. They yield milligrams of respect only to those who consistently pass their evaluations; a fluke of success will not earn you their respect, it’ll get you a glance.
26. – Real victims suffer in silence, posers pretending to be victims do so to gain money and status. Be wary of “loud victims” they are almost always playacting.
27. – People don’t want to be betrayed, but most will betray if it suits them to; the standard of morality people demand of others is higher than that which they demand of themselves. The coldest psychopath will demand the deepest altruism and the most devout loyalty, beware cultishness then.
28. – Interpretation is always perverted to suit the agenda of the interpreter, whoever controls the flow of interpretation dominates.
29. – Trust the average woman as much as you trust your government, occasionally there’s a good candidate, most aren’t worth your vote.
30. – Strong personalities hate the weak and distrust the strong. A man who considers himself a king rarely wants to share the room with another.
31. – Never hesitate to work on your verbal dexterity, vocabulary and comprehension. Debate lots with people who don’t matter. Strong articulation is a form of soft power.
32. – There’s a lot of freedom in stupidity, playing dumb is oft profitable.
33. – Too much perception can niggle a person’s paranoia, perceptiveness is threatening to those aware of their ill-nature. In suspicious company, appear less perceptive.
34. – Appraise a rule by its worth. Do not defy a rule for the sake of defiance. Some rules protect the ruled, others protect rulers – distinguish.
35. – We’re all players in a game. You’re a player or a piece on the board, you move or you’re moved. You play the game, or the game plays you.
36. – You can’t not play the game. You don’t beat the game by denying the game; death’s the only escape from the game. Until then, play well to live well.
37. – Beware the encroacher, an individual characterised by ubiquitous and uninvited insertion of their person into your social affairs. Out of a need to be noticed in the desire for social elevation, whilst his status is inferior he will extend his hand with a smile. Once he moves past you, he will forget you, his intentions for you are not sincere, you are merely a piece in his ascent to success.
38. – The encroacher targets your popularity in an attempt to siphon it through association.
39. – The encroacher gives themselves away by either A: absence of pleasantry B: lacing their pleasantry with subtle and sporadic undermining. Do not be an encroacher, the quickest way to garner the favour of the powerful is to befriend them, not to irritate them with persistent public exhibitions of your self-ordained superiority.
40. – Charm trumps more aggressive manipulations when dealing with the perceptive. The perceptive like being charmed, their awareness of the seduction does not negate its effect.
41. – Always appeal to incentive, never to mercy.
42. – Too much perception is threatening, even intimidating, people distrust you when they realise you are as perceptive as you are, even if you mean them no ill will. When people know you have the potential to destroy them, like nuclear material, they quarantine you.
43. – Legitimate concern is rare, more often than not displayed concern is a means to an end, a foot in the door to seize the moral high ground.
44. – Anything you say can be twisted to make you look bad, and it will be, because that’s power. It’s how hearts and minds are won, politicians and the mass media do it for a living – neither is starving.
45. – If you have a firm grip on Machiavellianism, it will be difficult for women to exploit you. On the flip, they’ll be harder to love too.
46. – Narcissism is antifragile in the sense it makes no distinction between love & hate, only attention and inattention.
47. – The secretiveness of privacy drives people mad, even if there is nothing to hide, the reluctance to reveal creates suspicion. To ensure the safety of a secret, the existence of the secret must be kept secret. As soon as somebody becomes aware of a secret they know not the nature of, they will be compelled to unearth it at any cost, thus threatening the secret.
48. – The difference between an interview and an interrogation is merely a matter of perception, all interviews are a collection of shit tests.
49. – When you are being interrogated and don’t realise it, the topic will rapidly change in order to determine what you’re most uncomfortable with. This topic will then be focused on, I call this vulnerability reconnaissance.
50. – You nearly always learn more about somebody in an informal setting than you would a formal one. Paranoia and thus mental defences are greater in formal settings, to truly get to know somebody you must mingle informally. Of course, as much as this opens them up, it opens you up too.
51. – Advice that wasn’t asked for is rarely appreciated, let alone followed. Don’t give advice that isn’t asked for, don’t advise everybody who asks for your insight, only advise those you think worthy. An “I don’t know” will keep things civil without forcing you to waste time.
52. – When you advise people you reveal more about yourself than you perhaps realise, after all, your advice reflects the core of who you are, it reveals the why and how rather than merely the what. What’s are easy to change, why’s and how’s aren’t, they’re more identifying.
53. – If you want someone to implement your ideas, it’s better to make them think your idea is theirs. Plant the seed, give them credit for your thinking, and they’ll believe their repetition of your idea makes it their creation.
54. – The quickest way to gain people’s trust is to help them.
55. – Liking animals and being religious creates an appearance of uprightness, people of ill-nature wear these appearances to disarm through disguise.
56. – People don’t dislike being tricked, they hate realising they were tricked. Tell lies that cannot or will not be investigated, compulsive lying is the purview of the histrionic fool.
57. – Beauty oft conceals bad intentions.
58. – Be magnanimous to friends, civil to strangers and ruthless to foes; furthermore, know who’s who.
3.) Relevant Reading / In Closing:
If you’re interested in consulting, click here. If you enjoyed these maxims, take a look at the following.
Machiavellian Maxims (Part 1)
Machiavellian Maxims (Part 2)
Machiavellian Maxims (Part 3)
Machiavellian Maxims (Part 4)
The Art of War
The Art of Worldly Wisdom
38 thoughts on “Machiavellian Maxims (Part 1)”
“The coldest psychopath will demand the deepest altruism and the most devout loyalty.”
If I notice this in my self does this still make me a psychopath?
If you are without altruism or loyalty of a magnitude similar to that which you demand, it suggests you are. But this is by no means a sure signifier in and of itself, for example, one can be extremely selfish without being a psychopath.
At times i find it hard to know when i give to much or to little working on the balance.
Self-Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era
Thinking about how its hard for me to determine if i give to much or to little…
Did some archery today doing things from ancient times keep me up to date with my DNA.
#51 I believe has an error. “Advise” instead of “advice”
Refresh the page, already caught it. Nevertheless, thank you.
Machiavellian thinking makes your mind a potent instrument, like a sharp knife. If we can handle to avoid the pitfalls of our so called “culture” we have good chances to succeed.
At some point, I know that being told everything is bad for you. It leaves one less able to figure things out, aggressively through action. All the while I applaud you for your genius. You’ve built quite a name for yourself by quality material, alongside temporary absences, and I admire your…balls. It takes a special pair to get the ball rolling, yet the world is designed to squeeze the life out of us.
Good luck and if you got the triple entendre, you probably won’t need any.
“It takes a special pair to get the ball rolling, yet the world is designed to squeeze the life out of us.”
I second that
Maxim 24 left me confused. The way I understood it is this: Charm can’t be built as through a practise, like game will teach you. Only through success or happiness?
I can’t really get my mind around that.
Charm is a natural byproduct of success and happiness regardless of whether you practice it as a skill or not; virtue has nothing to do with charm. The maxim likewise alludes there is a correlation between charm and manipulative ability, this is all it says. I don’t know why you would infer “charm cannot be self-taught” from that, that’s not even within the realm of what the maxim is referring to. I hope this clears things up.
Definately, thanks! And may you have a happy new year. Your work is much appreciated.
Your maxims regarding perception are particularly interesting and important. Would I be right in thinking of your use of that word to be more akin to observation? I feel like that would be a more appropriate word, at least that is what came to mind when reading it.
The sharing of your knowledge through this site is tantamount to previous religious prophets whom never had the true recognition and reverence they deserved till many years after their death.
The sub-Reddit announcement is something I very much look forward to and hope to be a part of. Wishing you the very best for 2016.
Perception as in, you can perceive the mental workings of others with very little information. People don’t like having their psyche read like a book, it makes them paranoid.
Yes, it’ll be good to get the dark triad community going. Happy New Year!
A good synonym for perceptive in these instances would be awareness. When you are truly aware of the sub-conscious motives driving another’s actions, you are a threat to that person because that information is threatening given its potential. Additionally, people don’t enjoy having their behaviors explained; it reminds them that they are nothing more than animals
New Year present…get in!
I’m honoured you enjoyed the literature so much you consider it a present. Happy New Year!
It hits home. happy New year to you too bruv!
Very insightful read on machiavellianism. Definitely helpful to those may understand machiavallianism but still lack the fundamental understanding of the philosophy to employ Machiavellian thinking in their daily lives. The level of clarity in which you dissect and understand social dynamics is remarkable which reveals an incredible understanding of human psychology. Glad I stumbled on this website
Hello, new reader here, and I must say I really like your work.
But I have a question regarding number 7.
“7. – Attacks reveal intent, defence reveals priority. You don’t defend the unimportant. You don’t attack allies unless it’s a decoy, this simple concept can be extrapolated to any situation.”
You state that “defence reveals priority”, and that “You don’t defend the unimportant”, which would mean that we should defend what we deem important ?
But would it not be better to purposefully defend something that is of no real significance to me, so that I fool the opossition into thinking they are hitting/attacking me where it hurts, and trick them into thinking they found a soft spot and where they should be focusing their efforts ?
I thought that too and I think indirectly that’s what is said /implied. If you stretch out the maxim and it’s potential uses further, one infers that you can “fake defend” to throw another off guard and not reveal what’s most important to you. As another maxim said , wear weaknesses on your sleeve. In this case, what’s most important to you is a weakness. “risk” not outwardly showing you defend it–fake defend something else– to ironically/paradoxically (right use of these words?) keep your true important “weakness” , safe.
Where my parents, teachers, and friends have only taught me to be a slave and demanded payment: you’ve taught me how to defend myself and given me the tools to take happiness from a lying, selfish world — asking nothing in return.
“Do not defend against your attackers, attack them; justification is a Machiavellian fallacy. Do not justify, stipulate.”
It has people who attack me(with sadistic humor) i attack they back like crazy, until they’re shaken for a moment, but always return. It has a boss who isn’t mine, but another sector, that fucking oldman is histrionic, a lesbian too. The other 95% recede, but there are some that are well sonofabitch.
Nice work. Have you addressed the tendancy of modern women asking for space,and how an alpha should respond. Thank you.
Number 48 is not necessarily true in informal settings.
“The difference between an interview and an interrogation is merely a matter of perception, all interviews are a collection of shit tests.”
Curiosity can generate informal interrogation about a persons dealings/work for the sake of net-understanding.
Resources you’d recommend for learning platonic charm?
I’m good at seducing women, but suck at getting the 99% of people I’m not sexually involved with to like me.
I’m extremely disagreeable.
This could explain why women are attracted to me, but others (co-workers, people on the street) don’t like me.
‘Superficial Charm’, getting people to like and trust you, is arguably the most important part of micro-machiavellianism.
If everyone likes you, you’re set.
If everyone dislikes you, you’re screwed.
Power is a dog that wants you to play tug of war. Let go, your end of the rag. Maybe the dog will chase its tail, bark and fuss and carry on. In the end it will drop the rag in your lap, lie quietly beside you and surrender all. You win, why? Because power is nothing without you. To know this is to win the game. To not know this is to forever play and never win. To know this and play still just for the sake of playing, with no intention to ever win, is not only to lose but to BE a loser. Do you know this? Woof.