What is in name…

Machiavellianism

     Machiavellianism is a term used in the study of human psychology. It refers to a human personality trait which characterises a person focused on his own interest. Such persons will manipulate, deceive,and exploit others to achieve their goals.

This term, along with narcissism and psychopathy are collectively called the dark triad. This word is derived from a reference to the infamous person, Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 -1527 , Italy), a philosopher in The Renaissance. He advocated that strong rulers should be harsh with their subjects and enemies. According to him, one can be brutal and immoral to achieve the ends. For a Machiavellian,the means does not matter and the effectiveness is more important than morality.Two pshycologists, Richard Christie and Florence L. Geis popularized this term in their works on analysis of human behaviour. They theorised, based on their extensive study in human behaviour, that Machiavellians lie and deceive and lack principles and values; they are cynical of morality, with low levels of empathy. Their social interactions are hollow and pretentious.

They don’t trust human goodness and prioritise power over love . Such malevolent persons are a threat to civilized society. Machiavellianism is a distinct and distorted personality trait. Political leaders with machiavellian traits are those who committed horrendous genocides in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Shakespeare in his drama Henry VI depicts Richard III as a Machiavellian; Richard III declares,
“I can add colours to the chameleon, change shapes with Proteus for advantages, and set the murderous Machiavel to school.”

R.Gopalan

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