Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I enjoy most things Machiavellian. I appreciate that the world works in peculiar ways, but that there are a complex set of rules or laws that govern these peculiarities. Increasingly, I believe that we are best served to learn and exploit these rules.

One of the common themes that continues to emerge in reading such literature is that while people try desperately to practice deceit, they often betray themselves. By paying attention to actions, details and subtleties we can often catch people in their lies. The truth comes out not in a great declaration of integrity and valor but how an individual acts before, during and after such a statement.

I was reading my all-too-neglected Slovak language book . There's a page of modest flattery at the beginning of the book providing cultural and historical context about Slovakia.

In looking at my surroundings, I can't help but feel that the content of the book is much more revealing with regards to culture and history than any number of eloquent paragraphs strung together to convey that very information. I'll exemplify what I mean by sharing with you some lines of dialogue from Chapter 2 (translated into English of course. And let's ignore the fact that after 8 months here I'm still only on Chapter 2):

The conversation is between an old man (Kovac) sitting on his porch and his young neighbour
Evicka:I'm playing. And what are you doing, Mr. Kovac?
Kovac: I'm smoking and waiting for lunch.
Evicka: Where is Mrs. Kovacova?
Kovac: She's at home. She's cooking lunch, you know.

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