Life on earth as we know it is both sweet and bitter, secure and dangerous. All of us have witnessed wonderful acts of kindness and despicable acts of cruelty. Most of us wrestle with a desire to do good and a desire to be not so nice.
This duality seems impossible for us to escape. Our only option is to try to gradually improve ourselves while avoiding great harm. We need to survive and transcend, and these twin motivations -- which are dependent upon each other in this world -- must inform our best decisions on an individual and social level.
It is fairly easy to talk about ideals and how to achieve them. It is much more difficult to reconcile our ideals with the practical necessity of protecting oneself and those whom we love. Determining a balance between the ideal and the practical is a challenge in every aspect of life. And no where is this more apparent that in the realm of politics, a subject to which we now turn.
Part Three will discuss political theory from the point of view of the inner quality, examining first the ideas of Niccolo Machiavelli as he considered survival and transcendence in the European courts of the 16th century.