Love and affection are also potentially destructive,


Love and affection are also potentially destructive, in that they blind
you to the often self-serving interests of those whom you least suspect of
playing a power game. You cannot repress anger or love, or avoid feeling
them, and you should not try. But you should be careful about how you express them, and most important, they should never influence your plans
and strategies in any way.
Related to mastering YOUf emotions is the ability to distance YOUfseif
from the present moment and think objectively about the past and future.
Like Janus, the double-faeed Roman deity and guardian of all gates and
doorways, you must be able to look in both direetions at onee, the better to
handle danger from wherever it comes. Such is the face you must create for
YOUfself-one face looking continuously to the future and the other to the
For the future, the motto is, "No days unalert." N othing should catch
you by surprise because you are constantly imagining problems before
they arise. Instead of spending your time dreaming of YOUf plan's happy
ending, you must work on calculating every possible permutation and pitfall that might emerge in it. 

The further you see, the more steps ahead you
plan, the more powerful you become.
The other face of Janus looks constantly to the past-though not to remember past hUftS or bear grudges. That would only curb YOUf power.
Half of the game is learning how to forget those events in the past that eat
away at you and doud YOUf reason. The real purpose of the backwardglancing eye is to educate YOUfseif eonstantly-you look at the past to learn
from those who came before you. (The many historical examples in this
book will greatly help that process.) Then, having looked to the past, you
look doser at hand, to YOUf own aetions and those of YOUf friends. This is
the most vital school you ean learn from, because it comes from personal
You begin by examining the mistakes you have made in the past, the
ones that have most grievously held you back. You analyze them in terms
of the 48 laws of power, and you extraet from them a lesson and an oath:

 "I shall never repeat such a mistake; I shall never fall into such a trap
again." If you can evaluate and observe yourself in this way, you can learn
to break the patterns of the past-an immensely valuable skill.
Power requires the ability to play with appearanees. To this end you
must learn to wear many masks and keep a bag full of deceptive tricks. Deception and masquerade should not be seen as ugly or immoral. All human
interaction requires deception on many levels, and in some ways what separates humans from animals is our ability to lie and deceive. In Greek
myths, in India's Mahabharata cyde, in the Middle Eastern epic of Gilgamesh, it is the privilege of the gods to use deceptive arts; a great man,
Odysseus for instance, was judged by his ability to riyal the craftiness of the
gods, stealing some of their divine power by matching them in wits and deception. 

Deeeption is a developed art of civilization and the most potent
weapon in the game of power.
You cannot succeed at deception unless you take a somewhat distanced approach to yourself-unless you can be many different people,
wearing the mask that the day and the moment require. With such a flexible approach to all appearances, induding your own, you lose a lot of the
inward heaviness that holds people down. Make your face as malleable as
the actor's, work to conceal your intentions from others, practice luring
people into traps. Playing with appearances and mastering arts of deception are among the aesthetic pleasures of life. They are also key components in the acquisition of power.
If deception is the most potent weapon in your arsenal, then patience
in all things is your crucial shield. Patience will protect you from making
moronic blunders. Like mastering your emotions, patience is a skill-it
does not come naturally. But nothing about power is natural; power is
more godlike than anything in the natural world. And patience is the
supreme virtue of the gods, who have nothing but time. Everything good
will happen-the grass will grow again, if you give it time and see several
steps into the future. Impatience, on the other hand, only makes you look
weak. It is a principal impediment to power.
Power is essentially amoral and one of the most important skills to acquire is the ability to see circumstances rather than good or evil. Power is a
game-this cannot be repeated too often-and in games you do not judge
your opponents by their intentions but by the effect of their actions. You
measure their strategy and their power by what you can see and feel. How
often are someone's intentions made the issue only to doud and deceive!
What does it matter if another player, your friend or riyal, intended good
things and had only your interests at heart, if the effects of his action lead to
so much ruin and confusion? It is only natural for people to cover up their
actions with all kinds of justifications, always assuming that they have acted
out of goodness. You must learn to inwardly laugh each time you hear this
and never get caught up in gauging someone's intentions and actions
through a set of moral judgments that are really an excuse far the accumulation of power.
It is a game. Your opponent sits opposite you. Both of you behave as
gentlemen or ladies,

 observing the rules of the game and taking nothing
personally. You play with a strategy and you observe your opponent's
moves with as much calmness as you can muster. In the end, you will appreciate the politeness of those you are playing with more than their good
and sweet intentions. Train your eye to follow the results of their moves,
the outward circumstances, and do not be distracted by anything else.
Half of your mastery of power comes from what you do not do, what
you do not allow yourself to get dragged into. For this skill you must learn
to judge all things by what they cost you. As Nietzsche wrote, 

"The value of
a thing sometimes lies not in what one attains with it, but in what one pays
for it-what it costsus." Perhaps you will attain your goal, and a worthy goal
at that, but at what price? Apply this standard to everything, induding
whether to collaborate with other people or come to their aid. In the end,
life is short, opportunities are few, and you have only so much energy to
draw on. And in this sense time is as important a consideration as any
other. Never waste valuable time, or mental peace of mind, on the affairs of
others-that is too high a price to pay.
Power is a social game. 

To leam and master it, you must develop the
ability to study and understand people. As the great seventeenth-century
thinker and courtier Baltasar Graciän wrote: "Many people spend time
studying the properties of animals or herbs; how much more important it
would be to study those of people, with whom we must live or die!" To be a
master player you must also be a master psychologist. You must recognize
motivations and see through the cloud of dust with which people surround
their actions. An understanding of people's hidden motives is the single
greatest piece of knowledge you can have in acquiring power. It opens up
endless possibilities of deception, seduction, and manipulation.
People are of infinite complexity and you can spend a lifetime watching them without ever fully understanding them. So it is all the more important, then, to begin your education now. In doing so you must also keep
( one principle in mind:

 Never discriminate as to whom you study and
i whom you trust. Never trust anyone completely and study everyone, including friends and loved ones.
Finally, you must leam always to take the indirect route to power. Disguise your cunning. Like a billiard ball that caroms several times before it
hits its target, your moves must be planned and developed in the least obvious way. By training yourself to be indirect, you can thrive in the modem
court, appearing the paragon of decency while being the consummate manipulator.

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