Machiavellianism is often misunderstood.
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It’s one of the dark triad of narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy. It’s a key component that makes up the power of the Dark Triad Man.
For many people Machiavellianism conjures up images of a shadowy, robed and ringed figure behind the throne. The clever and seasoned counselor of the king. The man who plays baron against baron, prince against prince, who deploys his brilliance and his masked strategies to further the power of his lord and secure the objectives of the court.
But that’s the layperson’s definition, and while actually correct in the original context it’s not terribly useful to us here. We’re going to look at three important ways we’ll define, dissect and then deploy the concept of Machiavellianism.
Those definitions are those of the medical provider, the Dark Triad Man himself and the experience of targets of Machiavellianism.
But before we begin our research into Machiavellianism it’s a good idea to look at the original source material. Let’s get some objective context before we dive into more detailed examination of how the Dark Triad Man employs Machiavellianism. Here is the original source of the word “Machiavellianism” itself, from our Library of Ferocity:
Who wrote it: Niccolò Machiavelli, a Florentine diplomat immortalized by this seminal work.
Where to get it: Available on Amazon.
What it is: The foundation of political science and methodologies of princes in the dark world.
Why you need to master it: This is the original treatise on the management, maintenance and practical perpetuation of State power in the world of men and an absolutely irreplaceable perspective on the methodologies and imperatives of rulers. Not mastering this book is like not learning how to drive.
What the Dark Triad Man gets from it: Beyond the mere memorization, practice and mastery of the principles of Machiavellianism, a deep comprehension and appreciation of how the local ruler will treat you is critical to your survival, operation and success in the dark world. This book is about truth and reality and how power is exercised in accordance with them. And it teaches you the meaning of ruthlessness.
“Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life, and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And that prince who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.”
Background for Machiavellianism.
Niccolò Machiavelli was born in Florence, Italy on the third of May in 1469 A.D. His father Bernardo was an attorney. During his life, central and southern Europe was a stormy maelstrom of ambition and power, wars and principalities, ruthless striving for military dominance and wealth and all the wonderful things that military dominance and wealth bring.
Even the Popes commanded mercenary armies during this period and sought to conquer other city-states for thrones and glory.
Machiavelli was a diplomat, military leader, writer and many other things. His writings are considered important legacies for the Italian language. The Prince, his immortal primer for rulers, is his most famous legacy and the source of the term “Machiavellianism”. It made an enormous impact on European political thought and today is still used as the most accurate basis for the exercise and perpetuation of political power.
For therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists it’s a potentially disordered aspect of personality, a trait that can be casually strength-tested here. The mental health professional’s understanding of the term has to do with blaming and forgiveness, lies versus truth and the patient’s handling of alliances, promises and rules. It refers to skilled use of misleading and misdirection. Ultimately it’s about boundaries. In narcissism, it’s my boundaries not yours. With psychopathy it’s I don’t have boundaries.
For Machiavellianism, it becomes the question of where’s the most useful place to present the appearance of boundaries?
Needless to say, therapists and psychologists and psychiatrists consider “high Mach” scoring individuals to be potentially disordered, and for Machiavellianism in the extreme to be a maladaptive and disordered trait. There are a few reasons for this.
First is simple utility. The nature of therapy itself requires honesty and simplicity. Misdirecting and misleading is extremely frustrating for the medical provider since it prevents them from getting to the root of matters and also prevents, in return, the patient from accepting the benefits of the therapeutic approach. When you turn the power off an electrician has a harder time figuring out what’s going on with your system. When you randomize a fly-by-wire control stick, the pilot can’t fly worth shit. And with a high-Mach individual, the mental health provider is usually an exasperating step behind the manipulating patient. It’s annoying and is often ultimately a waste of their professional time. Most mental health professionals would rather invest their billable hours in patients that aren’t playing an eternal game of hide and seek.
Second is that Machiavellianism, carried to extremes without grand purpose (every reader in the mental health field just pricked their little trigger ears up at that word “grand”) and without a utilitarian framework often causes great damage in the lives of those who are involved with the Machiavellian individual. Manipulation for the sake of manipulation itself is gratuitous and unproductive.
The Dark Triad Man considers such gratuitous waste of time on overcomplicating narratives to be better spent on competent achievement. However, there are folks that don’t have that grand purpose or utilitarian framework. They engage in Machiavellian behavior compulsively, even when it damages their own interests.
We’re not going to discuss those individuals in depth here. They’re sick to the layperson. They’re disordered to the mental health professional.
To the Dark Triad Man they’re a colossal waste of time – because there is no utility to them behind the narrative.
A short note for the mental health professional reading this.
I can feel your excitement from here. Yes, I specified grand purpose above. And I just talked about discarding people who bear no utility.
I’m a Dark Triad Man. Did you expect me to leave narcissism and psychopathy out of this? Come back for separate treatments on those in additional posts. In the meantime whip up your herbal tea, grab your notepad, cross your legs and start enjoying yourself.
We’ll engage with some of your own vulnerabilities and utility at the end. Transference puppetry with mental health providers is healthy exercise for the Dark Triad Man.
Now let’s look at the Dark Triad Man and Machiavellianism.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to Machiavellianism is that it is both a Way and a tool.
Machiavellianism as a Way means that:
Engagement in boundary presentation occurs on a utilitarian gradient within each encounter.
That sounds complicated, doesn’t it? I’m brutally candid in these pages. I’m also going to use accurate language to express principles, because as your ruthless mentor for a dark world it’s my responsibility to make certain you understand the teaching.
Let’s break this down:
Engagement means interaction. I engage with you when I look into your eyes. I engage with you when I hold a door open for you. I engage with you whenever there is transaction between my ego and yours. I engage with you when our property interacts (such as armies or companies or vehicles). Engagement implies, typically, the conscious and willful decision for that interaction or transaction to take place. Machiavellianism ensures it takes place on the terms sought by the Dark Triad Man.
Boundaries are borders. Boundaries are separations. Boundaries are rules, definitions, delineations, the essential this-is-not-that conceptual framework that human beings engage in. Boundaries have to do with what’s mine and what’s yours. What is acceptable and what is not. What is truth and what is falsehood. Where you go and where you don’t. Boundaries are what provide shape. Boundaries are the jars that hold the wine, the subject that constrains the verb, the orders that channel the soldiers and the laws that most people obey. Psychopaths are absent boundaries in many ways, and thus it is with extraordinary competence that Machiavellianism is employed by the Dark Triad Man.
Presentations are appearances. “Present” is a medical term, as in “the patient presented with symptoms”. This is clinical language, and clinical language strives to be both exact and impartial. This is usefully in keeping with the assessments and frames of Machiavellianism. Things are presented, and they may be true or untrue. Something presents, and it has appearance. Presentment is the form, reality the substance. Presentation is the action of delivering a presentment.
Are all presentations, ultimately illusions? Yes, of course.
Unless you have attained the mind and eyes of God, in which case you’re past illusions and know that nothing exists. But that’s for separate reading as part of The Nine Laws that are the grave and grim commandments of the Dark Triad Man.
Utilitarian is useful. Utility is useability. Utilitarian means that there is value contained within it, from applicability or from outcome or from ease of handling or from impact. If a thing has no utility it is useless. If it is useless, the Dark Triad Man does not employ it or engage with it. As Shinmen Musashi no Kami Fujiwara no Genshin wrote, “do nothing which is of no use”.
Gradients are pretty easy. Here’s a gradient:
Why is this term used? Well, let’s ask a question about the gradient displayed above:
What is the greyest point on that gradient?
Interesting, isn’t it? The question is simple. There’s instantaneously no doubt in your mind that there is a greyest point, but also instantaneously you know it’s impossible to define. That’s misdirection and misleading wrapped up in a Mobius strip of Machiavellianism.
And your mind stops on it, unavoidably, as Takuan wrote in The Unfettered Mind.
That’s an example of bouncing ball, interval, enthrallment, zoom and several other principles employed by the Dark Triad Man.
They create the Void in which the cut is made and the adversary slain.
I’ll be covering all that in later posts. Back to our gradient.
I would never ask which is black or white, unless I wanted you thinking in binary. After all, “black and white thinking isn’t healthy” so most will assume reality to be a shade of grey. It is. All things are gradients. And black and white exist on that gradient. We’ll talk more about gradients in a separate post too, as they are a useful construct for understanding singularities.
Encounter has a very powerful meaning, a sacred spiritual depth. It isn’t the casual meaning you use when you encounter an acquaintance in the grocery store or a violent predator in an alley. Encounter is what takes place when one thing touches another, when one mind or one body or one heart or one realm makes its manifestation apparent to another. Any time there is engagement, there is encounter. Not all encounters necessitate engagement.
On a higher level of understanding and application of The Nine Laws of the Dark Triad Man, this becomes somewhat blurred and the master embodies the reality that not only is there no difference between encounter and engagement, but that both are illusions that require belief in the false notion that there’s any output of division by zero. But that’s for later on in your education.
Right now we are going to take the principle and we’re going to put our dissection back together.
What is the Way of Machiavellianism?
Engagement in boundary presentation occurs on a utilitarian gradient within each encounter.
Let’s take the pins out of the body parts and sew it back up, now that we’ve fondled through the organs and have a better than rudimentary understanding of how the animal functions as a system:
The Dark Triad Man interacts within displays of truth and falsehood as spectrums of usefulness in the moment indicate.
The ninja of ancient Japan had a simpler term for it. They referred to it as kyojitsu tenkan ho, which further extrapolates to kyojutsu. A brief explanation is useful here as well:
Kyo 虚 is invalidity, vacancy void, futile, fruitless, unavailing, hollow
Jitsu 実 meaning truth but with the strong sentiment of “real” and “actual”
Ten 転 for roll, tumble and turn
Kan 換 meaning to convert, to replace, to transform
Ho 法 is law, or principle
If you don’t have Japanese character encoding in your browser, that’s okay. Read the English, that’s what’s important. I’m not teaching you to be a ninja. That’s a brutal discipline of decades, not something you obtain from a blog.
Lots and lots and lots of non-serious students of ninjutsu make the beginner’s mistake of hearing kyojitsu tenkan ho and thinking that it has to do with telling lies or falsehoods and tricking the enemy. Well, yes. That’s like saying you get a dog to keep you company and bite burglars, which does nothing to address the transformational, sacred experience of the loyalty and passion of The Dog. Which, by the way, is an important separate post. The Dog is an ally of the Dark Triad Man.
Back to the ninja and the meaning of kyojitsu tenkan ho. How does this relate to Machiavellianism?
Look at the deeper understanding of it:
Tumble and turn the real until it is hollow, the futile until it is actual, and within the change understand the universal Law.
That is Machiavellianism.
It is to exist within the place of non-existence.
It is where all Ways are made clear.
Machiavellianism as experienced by the target is binary.
It is either perceived, and penetrated, or it is not.
If it is perceived, much less penetrated, it is unsuccessful.
If it is unsuccessful, it is not Machiavellianism.
It is only crudity.
There are no exceptions.
The final note for the mental health professional.
I mentioned transference puppetry before. It’s hardly worth an explanation of that since if you’re any credit to your field you’ve already grasped my meaning and are smiling slightly inside, confident that you’re safely within the arc of the quintain.
It’s ever so adorable. The arena of the therapist is below the event horizon of his ego singularity.
The Dark Triad Man has usually sat across from Western mental health practitioners on numerous occasions. It’s typically a combination of frustration, amusement and irritation for both. Frustration that the other does not “get” it; amusement in the kyojitsu tenkan ho tumbling and rolling; and irritation at the eventually pointless lack of traction.
Amusement is fine, for a short while, but your Dark Triad Man is eventually going to go his own way, and either be phenomenally successful (his natural state of highest evolution) or miserably unhappy (if he denies his nature and attempts to bound it).
The very best way you can help a true manifestation of the dark triad is to point him here. A true Dark Triad Man will ultimately recognize his unique and limitless capacities and make good use of them once he accepts that life is an exciting trip down a rabbit hole, fiery sparks of glorious power cascading behind him along the way as he touches the walls here and there.
Unless you’re a true Dark Triad Man yourself, you’re not qualified to mentor him. You cannot go where he goes. You are a creature of theory, not an archetype manifested on the battlefield.
If you are truly formed from the dark triad and you up and employed yourself in the mental health field, then you’re not really a Dark Triad Man. You’re a dark tetrad, in business to play with souls like a malevolent child with dismembered flies, and you’re the type of evil entity who is properly dragged behind the nearest outbuilding and summarily shot for the betterment of mankind.
If your client is a female, don’t point them here. There’s typically a busy freeway or a remote cliff or other high impact, terminally inviting locale you can send your borderlines to, where the drama can be effected without interpersonal engagement.
That concludes our discussion of Machiavellianism.
I’ve taken care to discuss the principles, not the mechanics. That’s because I am your mentor, not your service worker.
“But how do you distract people from your real goal so that you can achieve it?”
Go get real goals, start achieving them, and you’ll learn the answer to the mechanics.
There are Ways, there are principles, there are methods and there are techniques.
The Way is Machiavellianism.
A principle is kyojitsu tenkan ho. There are many principles.
A method is gradience. There are ten thousand methods.
A technique is stopping the mind. There are infinite styles of technique.
Follow the Way. Master the principles. Employ the methods. Utilize the techniques.
That is the essence of the Dark Triad Man.
Remember who I am and what I offer. Don’t miss out.
I am Ivan Throne. I am the Dark Triad Man.
I offer ruthless mentoring for a dark world.
Thank you for reading.
It’s been a pleasure.
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