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Machiavellianism is “the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct”. The term is derived from the Italian Renaissance diplomat and writer Niccolo Machiavelli, who wrote “II Principe” (The Prince) in which he denies the relevance of morality in political affairs and holds that craft and deceit are justified in pursuing and maintaining political power. Machiavelli believed that ‘ends justify means’. Machiavellianism is also a term that some social and personality psychologists use to describe a person’s tendency to deceive and manipulate other people for their personal gain. Therefore, Machiavellianism has no moral principles. It prefers pragmatic approaches and, if required, uses dishonesty, deceit and violence to achieve the goals. 

Francis Bacon is often been considered an advocate of Machiavellianism for his excessive pragmatism. He even overlooks the moral issues to consider the practical benefit. In “Of Studies” some of his ideas are like that of Machiavelli. His classification of books is unscrupulously practical : “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” To him it is only practical gain that one should read. Otherwise it would be wastage of time. Again, he suggests to read according to one’s own need : “Nay there is no stond or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies.” That is, studies cure mental defects and accordingly a man should read to cure his disease. If a man cannot concentrate, he should read mathematics. Again, the study of scholastic philosophy can remove the confusion of thought. 

Bacon does not support studies without any benefit. According to him, it is a sign idleness to spend too much time on studies only to decorate one’s speech or to depend entirely on studies for one’s judgment. Studies should be used in practical field to achieve worldly advantages. So, Bacon’s analysis of studies is based on practical utility rather than idealistic morality and for this reason his philosophy of life is called Machiavellianism. 


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