Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

“The rules of fair play do not apply in love and war”

My title is a quote from a 1578 novel by John Lyly (c.1553-1606). He is not alone; others made the same observation, like Miguel de Cervantes in his novel Don Quixote (1605). The modern phrase, “All is fair in love and war”, appeared in Francis Edward Smedley’s novel Frank Fairleigh (1850).

Why are ethics and morality less (or not) important in Love and in War? Apparently, winning supersedes all other considerations. Losing is not an option. As ABBA argued in 1980: The winner takes it all.

Nevertheless, war crimes (or atrocities) are penalized in international treaties, first established at the Hague conventions of 1899 and 1907, The Nuremberg trials (1945-1946) are an example.

I suppose, it’s fair to state that the loser – in any war – will be held accountable for war crimes. In general, the winner will get away with war crimes.

Why does winning and/or losing supersede the rules of fair play but only in love and war?

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (1469-1529) described the above dilemma in his book The Prince (1532):

“He claimed that his experience and reading of history showed him that politics have always been played with deception, treachery, and crime. He also notably said that a ruler who is establishing a kingdom or a republic, and is criticized for his deeds, including violence, should be excused when the intention and the result is beneficial to him.” (Wiki)

Hence, Machiavelli is often labelled as a “teacher of evil”. To me, this feels like shooting the messenger.

My concept of Love, Knowledge & Power may provide a more fundamental answer: winning and losing (in this very context) are both related to Love and/or Power. Both are clear destinations.

However, Knowledge is about learning and teaching and is a road without a clear destination.

The aforementioned suggests that this is ultimately about one of my most fundamental concepts: Needs, Wants & Beliefs. If you need it, you want it, you believe in it, and then you get it – at whatever cost.

Feel the Need in Me (1972) by the Detroit Emeralds
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-album, Wiki-song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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