For to judge aright, one should esteem men because they are generous, not because they have the power to be generous; and, in like manner, should admire those who know how to govern a kingdom, not those who, without knowing how, actually govern one.
Niccolo Machiavelli, from the Dedication to The Discourses
From Niccolo Machiavelli’s letter to the magnificent Lorenzo de Medici in presenting his The Prince:
Nor I hope will it be considered presumptuous for a man of low and humble status to dare discuss and lay down the law about how princes should rule; because, just as men who are sketching the landscape put themselves down in the plain to study the nature of mountains and the highlands, and to study the low-lying land they put themselves high on the mountains, so, to comprehend fully the nature of the people, one must be a prince, and to comprehend fully the nature of princes one must be an ordinary citizen.
So, one might ask, how might we imagine today a new mirror of princes, and so open our minds to more encouraging ways of the governed and governing living with each other well?