Was Machiavelli really saying evil is necessary for good?

Masterclass: Was Machiavelli really saying evil is necessary for good?

10 June 2021 13:00 -


Was Machiavelli really saying evil is necessary for good? Using and abusing power today, a leadership discussion
  • Was Machiavelli really saying evil is necessary for good? Using and abusing power today, a leadership discussion
  • About our Masterclass series
  • About our Virtual Outreach
  • Terms and Conditions
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Was Machiavelli really saying evil is necessary for good? Using and abusing power today, a leadership discussion

We find few places to talk frankly about our personal experiences of holding and using power. But Niccolo Machiavelli gives us permission to talk openly. His scandalous writing explores the mysteriousness of our personalities and how they interact with random events, in defiance of psychological models. We’re successful one moment and then failing the next, for no apparent reason.  

He implies, shamefully by today’s ethics, that evil is necessary for good to flourish. But, this is to misread him. He is a serious moralist, and consequentialist, wanting the best possible outcome for his people. Notoriety has coloured his reputation. In this session we re-visit Machiavelli, to discover he wasn’t the sneering coward of Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder after all, but a strategic mind. In fact, he wasn’t Machiavellian. 

We’re not quite sure how he achieved his position, but at the age of 28, Niccolo Machiavelli found himself in significant power, representing the much fought over city state of Florence. He moved between the King of France, the pope, the Holy Roman Emperor. And with little backing from Florence’s mercenary-only forces, who tended to disappear on a whim. His boss offered little vision and changed his mind mid-negotiation. He’d spend days waiting for an audience. At times with insufficient funds to feed or clothe himself. He’d every reason to despair his new role.  

Then he met Cesare Borgia. Epic, seductive, cruel, murderous. The opposite of his ever-hesitant boss. Borgia, was, in a word, Machiavellian. The label associated with ruthless leadership. What caught the long-suffering Niccolo’s eye was Cesare’s decisive calculation, thought and analysis. Once out of power Niccolo’s conclusions were outrageous.  Noting that life is often mercilessly cruel, and holding power is a brutal and brutalising experience. Uncomfortable reading for today’s humanistic social democracies like Britain; and he asks do our idealistic images of the world do more harm. 

Should we despise Machiavelli for his honest reflections, or rather engage with our own struggle to steer through messy reality less naively? Do we shroud executive leadership in mystery? Join the discussion for a journey into power. Bring your own stories and insights for discussion.  

Book your place now:

Our Virtual Masterclasses

We're delivering our Masterclasses virtually at the moment, to continue allowing you access to our amazing sessions delivered by expert academics. Throughout the sessions we will aim to meet individual needs, allow space for reflection and include time for conversations to share experiences and knowledge within the 'virtual' room.

Our virtual Masterclasses are approximately an hour long, but may run longer if we have a lot of questions.

If you are a teacher or tutor and would like for your whole class to get involved, drop us an email at outreach@cumbria.ac.uk and we'll see how we can help you. Bespoke events may be possible for schools and colleges, at times that suit you, dependent on academic availability.

 

Why Attend a Masterclass?

Our masterclasses are designed to give future students like you a flavour of what it is really like to study at university and hand you all that's needed to successfully step into a degree to kick-start your career.

At our masterclasses, you'll:

  • Take part in real research
  • Gain an excellent example to give your personal statement the edge
  • Enrich your current studies and explore beyond the boundaries of your current knowledge
  • Sample a subject that ignites your interest and make sure it’s the correct course for you
  • Get a unique chance to push your passion further
  • Receive a reduced offer on application to related courses at UoC

Spaces are limited, so if you’re considering a future working in business and leadership, book now.

Our Virtual Outreach

During the unprecedented times of social distancing, our team remain on hand to support you. Over the coming weeks, we are ensuring there is something for everyone, whether you’re a future student, teacher or adviser. We’ve got you.

All our virtual outreach activities on offer have been developed to inform and motivate participants, and link to the Gatsby Benchmarks for Good Career Guidance. This report was redefined and published in January 2018. Laying out eight benchmarks, the report outlined good practice within careers guidance and an expectation that all secondary schools have a careers plan.

Our online Masterclasses meet benchmarks 4 & 7 (Linking curriculum learning to careers & Encounters with further and higher education).

To see what else we're offering online, head on over to www.cumbria.ac.uk/webinars for the rest of our virtual outreach delivery.

If you are a teacher or tutor and would like for your whole class to get involved, drop us an email at outreach@cumbria.ac.uk and we'll see how we can help you. Bespoke events may be possible for schools and colleges, at times that suit you, dependent on academic availability.

Masterclass award

Attendees at these masterclasses will receive a reduction of up to 16 points on offers for future applications to related University of Cumbria courses. Click below for full Terms and Conditions.

Terms and conditions