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400 year old behaviour still exists today

Filed under: General — Julie @ 10:57 pm Tue 23rd May 2006

It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who could profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who could profit by the new order. This lukewarmness arises partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favour, and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have an actual experience of it.

Niccola Machiavelli, The Prince

The above was written 400 years ago. It seems just as relevant today as it was back then. Below are some other interesting quotes.

Generally speaking, the younger and more highly educated people are, the more likely they are to change

Resistance is often a reaction to the methods of instituting change rather than change itself.

Many people fear the unknown and the uncertainty accompanying change. They also fear losing their jobs, losing respect or status and failure.

When logic vies with emotion it rarely stands a chance.

Romney & Steinbart


  1. Dear Julie,
    Good stuff. Now if you read James Burnham ” the Machiavellians” you will start to see the political world in terms of Lions and foxes (or weasels).

    Burnham: Everyone knows that a certain amount of human conduct is non-logical. Pareto’s stress is on the enormous scope of the non-logical–his book lists many thousands of examples, and each of these could suggest a thousand more of the same kind. Other writers on the nature of society have recognized the existence of non-logical conduct; some have even admitted that, quantitatively, it exceeds the logical; but almost all have in the end held that somehow the margin of logical conduct is what is decisive for the development of government and society. Pareto not only shows that non-logical conduct is predominant; his crucial point is that the conduct which has a bearing on social and political structure, on what he calls the “social equilibrium,” is above all the arena of the non-logical. What happens to society, whether it progresses or decays, is free or despotic, happy or miserable, poor or prosperous, is only to the slightest degree influenced by the deliberate, rational purposes held by human beings.

    Pareto: A society does best when there is a predominance of lions among the population as a whole and a healthy element of foxes in the leadership. The leadership must allow for new blood to avoid degeneration. In war more lions again rise to positions of power, and as surely as the war disappears so do the majority of lions. Lions being ready to use force, relying on it rather than their brains to solve their problems. They are conservative, patriotic, loyal, to tradition and solidly tied to supra-individual groups like family, the church and or nation. They are concerned for the future and posterity. In economic affairs they are cautious, saving and orthodox. They dislike the new, and praise character and duty rather than wits. Foxes being ones that live by their wits. They put their reliance on fraud, deceit, and shrewdness. They do not have strong attachment to family, church, nation, and tradition (though they may exploit these attachments in others).

    Comment by Intrepid — Wed 24th May 2006 @ 10:05 pm

  2. Dear Julie,
    So are women generally more fox or lion? Is not the fox trait truly an effeminate trait? Are we not now suffering from too many foxes in politics, since possibly we may have killed off too many lions in the wars? Much food for thought.. no?

    Comment by Intrepid — Wed 24th May 2006 @ 10:11 pm

  3. Intrepid,
    As a woman I sometimes fear myself the power that I possess. We are the foxes.
    There is no doubt. But we can do alot of good with our skills, if we choose.
    Unfortunately without boundaries we are very destructive.

    I can see that there are too many foxes in politics. How sad. But of course the consequenses on families makes ‘sad’ inappropriate.

    We can only as a society hand the power back to the lions. I don’t see the lions physically fighting the foxes as war allows.
    I don’t know if you follow our politics but we have a National party that lost the last election. A male leads this party and he openly tells how he will change the rules for DPB, and charities receiving so much money. He sounds to want the power back to lions. Anyhow, I and (from my knowledge) many others did not vote for him because he is an unknown politition. But I can assure you that I and many others will vote for him next term as he seems competent.

    I will get that book from the library as it sounds very interesting.

    Comment by julie — Wed 24th May 2006 @ 10:57 pm

  4. Dear Julie,
    It’s good you can see the traits as they are. I’m not for a bringing back of Lion men rule, for history shows this can be distructive in a short term way, as history shows us fox-like leadership can be even more distructive in the long term way (and lead to a state’s total collapse). Balance is best, but it isn’t so easy as 50/50. Honorable women must, at the personal level, come to a agreement with their husband before marriage. If one party wishes to change this agreement they need to come forth with their changes and then see what the other party feels about those changes. These are very individual in nature.
    Yet at the state level it is a whole different animal. For women like yourself to win skeptical men to compromise means to stop rationalizing ones fears like breathing. How can a sex that rationalizes running away from all fears be counted on in any kind of fight including this one?

    How can a less fear based man tell between a women who is running out of fear and one running out of clear thought? When all running is called noble, and standing your ground is called stubborn, we have reached a total denial of what a good character is.

    Comment by Intrepid — Thu 25th May 2006 @ 1:08 am

  5. Hi Intrepid,

    That is deep stuff.
    You are right though for lions cannot rule alone. I think of it like a party or a gathering where people drink. If you have all males the outing can get out of control. This even happens at all male schools and i’m sure in the armed forces.
    Having the female sex around does make the lions behave. That is not a control thing it just happens that way.
    Women have the power to keep the peace so to speak.
    But women also have the power to use their sexuality as a tease and manipulate with it. And personally I think alot of men fear that.
    In my eyes, strong leadership has to come from well-educated lions and foxes and yes of course unfearful.
    We do have both lions and foxes in NZ who do not fear, both Maori and white New Zealanders who are educated from life experiences as well as up to and beyond master degrees.
    You say, ‘stop rationalizing ones fears.’ For me personally, I find myself less fearful when I hear the other person’s side. I assume we are talking about fear of the other sexes possible action.
    And by ‘hear’ I mean actually listen.
    The foxes are not listening to the lion’s and the lion’s are not listening to the foxes. The fear is strong as there is no trust and thus no compromise.

    Comment by julie — Thu 25th May 2006 @ 7:01 am

  6. You failed Mr Burton to acknowledge that you only quoted part responsibility of the courts to the child; the court has failed to uphold my rights as a parent, three hours is not reasonable,
    after four judges and seven years of applications, this is not a visit to the zoo or a movie Mr Burton, it is peoples lives.

    I have a right to my child without question that bestowes more than a three hour visitation under supervision, your letter did not address this matter.
    By only referring to the best interests of the child, you have neglected the right of myself as a father to which your courts have created unecessary interference as opposed to solutions in relation to my child and myself. Why should the “FhoneY CourT” exist if it is too slow, put it out of it’s misery to be kind to every one. Adolf Hitler caused much pain and misery too, like
    the jew’s; estranged parents denied their rights will continue to appear on the door’s of their persecutor’s like ghost’s from the grave, we will not go away until the Justice Department and their ilk deliver rights to the parent as referred to under The Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 (article 3)

    Your reference to the parenting order rules is of no value as the parenting order does not uphold my rights as a parent when allocated only three hours under a a supervised basis. That is not acceptable and is not in accordance with my rights as a parent, the parenting order is only window dressing as my refusal to accept it, is without punishment, no fine, no jail. The parenting order is not in the best interests of the child when you are only prepared to penalise one of the two parents for the neglect of its costlly nature and purpose.
    I refuse to acknowledge the parenting order, no fine or jail for me, yipppeeeee!!!! Another family court law for one, how terribly unusual…
    Not so, in the “FhoneY CourT”, the disharmony is growing Mr Burton, find a soution, not a better solution, you havn’t even tried to endorse BOTH parenrs rights, shame Mr Burton, Shame, knock, knock…

    Comment by cwb — Thu 25th May 2006 @ 1:07 pm

  7. Hi cwb,

    I think you placed you comment in the wrong post.

    Comment by julie — Thu 25th May 2006 @ 1:17 pm

  8. nope, we need change, sure the laundry might be a bit dirty, but all in the name of progress, 400 years on…
    thanks for the support

    Comment by cwb — Thu 25th May 2006 @ 1:21 pm

  9. fox’s and lions…. hmmm, is this a chinese astrology post, maybe i am on the wrong site…

    Comment by cwb — Thu 25th May 2006 @ 1:22 pm

  10. my burton is a leader, go figure…

    Comment by cwb — Thu 25th May 2006 @ 1:23 pm

  11. cbw,
    you need to visit the post ‘there must be a better way’ We are having great discussion on what you have commented. Seems some of us are not into our work today.

    Comment by julie — Thu 25th May 2006 @ 1:28 pm

  12. thank you julie,

    Comment by cwb — Thu 25th May 2006 @ 1:37 pm

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