When I was fresh out of college and starting my writing career at a magazine in New York, I will never forget a particularly lovely spring afternoon in which the editor of the magazine invited me for lunch to discuss my latest article. I thought it was a good piece I had written and was expecting some praise. Instead, he proceeded to dissect the article, explain why it was so bad, why I would never be a writer, and what other careers I should think about.
This of course shocked me. But instead of thinking of myself, I couldn’t help study the man who was saying this. He was downing one gin and tonic after another, in the middle of the afternoon. The following image came to me, one I remember to this day as vividly as ever: this man was like a house that looked okay from the outside, but on the inside, all of the beams and supports were rotting and termite infested…from alcohol, from his own sad life. I also had the feeling that maybe some twenty years earlier another editor had given him the same ugly talk, and it worked, and so instead of being a writer, he turned into a dried-up editor, full of regrets. His way was not to help others avoid the same mistake, but to do the opposite.( What does that tell us...Collapse )I want this to be the ultimate forum for revealing and discussing in depth the dark side of our culture and our relationships, not to revel in it, but to help all of us deal with the inevitable power games we encounter. We don’t talk about vengeance or violence here, but strategy, because defeating our opponents with intelligence is the ultimate victory in life. Our guiding spirit is Sun-tzu, not Attila the Hun.http://powerseductionandwar.com/
(Robert Greene is the author of the books The 48 Laws of Power
, The Art of Seduction
and The 33 Strategies of War
It would be easy to shake your head and dismiss Greene as another power and dominance craving sociopath. But don't make that mistake. Greene's stated intention is not to glorify or enable such people. Rather, he wants to expose them. To explain their tactics. And ultimately, to allow us to escape their grasp by understanding them better than they understand themselves. When we play their games, we come under their power. But if we understand and recognize the strategies of the manipulators, we break their power.
We must be careful, as Neitzche said, not to become monsters ourselves when we hunt monsters. But willful ignorance in the ways of monsters does not make us stronger against them. Knowledge is our best and strongest defense. (I'm already looking forward to reading The Art of Seduction with an eye towards understanding the tactics of a few folks I've known who showed themselves to be masterful manipulators of people and relationships.)"Know thy enemy, know thyself - find nothing to fear in 100 battles." -Sun Tzu