You Can’t Be Naive

If you’ve ever listened to an interview with the great author Robert Greene, you’ve heard him get asked about the ruthless and Machiavellian messages of his books. He didn’t write them because he believes the world needs more master manipulators. He didn’t write them to be used as a playbook in one’s quest for power and control. He didn’t even really write them for people in positions of power.

No, the books were born out of Robert’s own rude awakening to the ways of the world. “I’m naturally quite naive,” Robert often says. “I violated many of the laws of power and human nature years before I wrote books on power and human nature. If I had more awareness earlier on, it would have saved me a lot of grief and a lot of drama in my life.” The books are intended to save us from that grief and the drama that comes from refusing to see the world as it is. As Robert writes in his newest book, The Daily Laws: 366 Meditations on Power, Seduction, Mastery, Strategy, and Human Nature (also available on Amazon):

With such acceptance, it is not that we love it and want to go out in the world and play all these nasty games. It is that we understand they exist. If, occasionally, we have to use the laws in playing offense or defense, we’re okay with that, within reason. Most often it is the case that other people are practicing them on us, and it is better to understand what they’re up to than to live in the dream world of our angelic nature. And so we understand the laws of power. We understand what people are up to, so they can’t easily hurt us…Armed with such an attitude and with such knowledge we are prepared to go to battle in the game of life. Instead of being blindsided by the manipulators, we have calmness, power, and the freedom that comes with awareness of the laws.

It’s important for everyone to be armed with this knowledge and awareness. But it’s crucial for us as parents. We have so much at stake. We have so much depending on us. We have more people who get affected by the drama of losing a job or the grief of being blindsided by this or that toxic type. 

We can’t afford to be naive. We can’t be naive about the political and social games played in the school system, the college admissions process, the work world, etc. We have to be defended against the unseen forces operating in the world. We have to be armed with the knowledge of these laws.  

P.S. Robert’s new book, The Daily Laws—the distillation of all the lessons in his many books—is available in every format everywhere books are sold! We can’t recommend it enough. Each page gives you a meditation that is followed with a “Daily Law”—a prescription or prompt for you to put the lesson into practice that day. It will arm you with the knowledge you need to be a great parent. You can pick up a copy at Ryan’s bookshop The Painted Porch. Support indie retail if you can!

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