Krymneth on Machiavelli on Livy

I made a resolution to raise the Castalia Library books higher on my book pile, and after a second swing through Awake in the Night Land, I picked as my second book to be Discourses on Livy by Machiavelli.

Now, I am not so bold as to think I can particularly improve on either of the two of them. But as I was reading, thoughts started pouring into my mind, mostly relating around comparing Machiavelli’s observations to the world of today. Human nature has not changed, but the scale of human organizations has.

Also, I view the world through a Christian lens, and I often wonder if the Powers and Principalities who yet rule this world themselves have learned over time. The Empire that Never Ended may have been around for a long time, but it seems certain the humans at least have been refining their game for a long time, and who knows if the spiritual sides have as well.

So, for my own benefit of thought and chewing carefully on the material, after getting to Chapter 7 (though these “chapters” are about two to three pages each), I decided to go back to the beginning, start writing down my observations on the observations on the observations.

If you’d like to follow along, Project Gutenberg has this book. It is a different translation, but I doubt that will matter much for my discussion since like Machiavelli I’ll be riffing on the original material rather than directly responding to it in a Fisk-like manner. For your convenience I will include that version, since it is public domain, as collapsible sections at the ends of my posts. Since I’m writing in many ways for myself, my commentary will tend to half assume, half not assume you’ve read it first. I will put some modest effort into ensuring that my commentary is not completely incomprehensible without reading Machiavelli, but I’m only going to contextualize my commentary, not summarize Machiavelli entirely.

I absolutely make no promise to do the whole book this way. For one thing I expect to be repeating myself badly by the end if I tried. For another, commitment becomes its own impediment sometimes. I am also finding myself slowing down my publishing due to excessive revising; I am trying to give myself permission to be much more off-the-cuff in these posts, to jump start my writing process again.

How To Tell Who Can Be Objectively Right About Life KoMoL Book 1, Prelude