MACH-IV: Results and Justifications

The MACH-IV is a test on how close you are to Machiavelli’s philosophy.

You can take it here.

1) Never tell anyone the real reason you did something unless it is useful to do so.

5 – The ideal is, of course, to be able to get to the situation with as many people as possible in which it is indeed useful to tell them the real reason – in shorter and more concise terms, to make more friends. But you don’t make more friends by spilling your guts out on the spot. (Assperger’s, autistics, and abnormally unintelligent people would be the example here.) You do it by doing things which appeal to them, and they do the same by acting in ways which appeal to you. Eventually, the situation becomes that the optimal course of action is to tell people the real reason why you are doing something, because that becomes the most clarified means of communication and leads to the most effective courses of action.

2) The best way to handle people is to tell them what they want to hear.

3 – I prefer seeing it in the light of “what would get them to do what you want most efficiently”. Supposedly, girls want to hear that they’re pretty. But just telling a girl they’re pretty without any kind of background, relation, or foreplay will just disgust her. I can kind of see how I can agree with the statement, but I dislike the wording. I prefer it if all I saw was discussed relative to my own thoughts and actions.

3) One should take action only when sure it is morally right.

5 – I don’t see anything to add here.

4) Most people are basically good and kind.

4 – Vaguely.

5) It is safest to assume that all people have a vicious streak and it will come out when they are given a chance.

5 – As has been the assumption throughout all of all I have written, action sets are based on incentives. Make no incentive, and no action will be taken.

6) Honesty is the best policy in all cases.

5To be dishonest is to corrupt yourself.

7) There is no excuse for lying to someone else.

5 – Approximated by #6. At the most fundamental level it wouldn’t particularly matter if you lie to other people, but to do that necessarily breaks your own thought structure. At higher levels, benevolence and compassion become principles, and since it is necessary to be honest to other people for your own sake anyways, it is not inaccurate to also say “there is no excuse for lying to someone else”.

8) Generally speaking, people won’t work hard unless they’re forced to do so.

5 – Same as #5.

9) All in all, it is better to be humble and honest than to be important and dishonest.

5 – There lacks a specific post I can refer you to for this one. This is one of those things that I talk around, as a nexus/focus, rather than talk directly about.

10) When you ask someone to do something for you, it is best to give the real reasons for wanting it rather than giving reasons which carry more weight.

5 – See #1.

11) Most people who get ahead in the world lead clean, moral lives.

5 – See #9

12) Anyone who completely trusts anyone else is asking for trouble.

4 – Approximated by #5, but is not completely true because you can decide to trust someone after having known them for many years and thus trust your judgement of them to do what is in your interest in any given situation without giving it further thought. This frees up extra mental capacity for other tasks, which if the complete trust is indeed transferred, then the person in question obviously thinks that the chance of trouble from that trusted person is lower than trouble that would otherwise happen in the unattended areas.

13) The biggest difference between most criminals and other people is that the criminals are stupid enough to get caught.


“Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason? Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason”

– Ovid

14) Most people are brave.

4 – I believe this is becoming increasingly less true. Bravery requires people to accept costs for their actions – “responsibility” is the approximate conventional term.

Fewer and fewer people are accepting their costs and instead complaining what they got is unfair, in one way or another.

15) It is wise to flatter important people.

5 – This should be obviously true. However, flattery does not mean mindless and baseless grovelling. Just as spiteful insults shape you into a spiteful person, so does mindless prostrating turn you into a mindless person. Flatter, but with honesty and with respect to both you and the other party. This is not too difficult, as there are many things you observe, and many things you could choose to say to someone at any given point in time. “Flattery” is simply the course of action where you pick out the things to say which you think will make them feel good about themselves.

16) It is possible to be good in all respects.

5 – I assume this to be true, for it is what I am to become.

17) P.T. Barnum was wrong when he said that there’s a sucker born every minute.

1 – While it is clearly not true that people are literally born to be idiots, it is an approximation I make. Meeting people is essentially the same as having them come into existence, and a lot of them believe what I think are very mistaken things. Not that I don’t take them seriously. I just think they’re stupid.

18) It is hard to get ahead without cutting corners here and there.

5 – Optimally, your model of reality allows you to think and act like this in fewer instances as you improve it, while the model itself also becomes more consistent with reality. But yes, cutting corners always makes things easier. It simply also lowers the quality of the result and your rate of gaining experience.

19) People suffering from incurable diseases should have the choice of being put painlessly to death.


“If that old lady is an important person to you, how can you leave her to die?”

“To be honest… I do not believe it matters much… whether that woman lives or dies.”


“Life is not always better than death. It is not that simple. Living and being made to survive are very different things.”

– Takeru Shirogane to Meiya Mitsurugi, Muv-Luv Unlimited

20) Most people forget more easily the death of their parents than the loss of their property.

4 – Most people don’t see the value in the experience with their parents. They do, however, see the value in their property. Thus with significant enough chaos – in this case, the passing of time -, the obvious one will be remembered and the obvious one will be forgotten.

>>> >>> >>>

In the possible range of 20-100, my total is 90.

Out of the people I have asked, most are under 60, 1 above 60, 2 above 70, nobody above 80.

I haven’t read Machiavelli before, but I agree with him a lot so I’ll probably be commenting or quoting from The Prince eventually. From what I have skimmed, it appears to be similar to The Art Of War – namely, that though it is about princes and how they should act in order to achieve order in their princedoms, with a little effort it can be translated into the optimal courses of action for any person to have orderly and desirable interactions with other people. Several of the things I have read there, I have already “translated” into mental models and courses of proper action here.

So even if I don’t end up quoting or making direct parallels, I’m probably going to be talking on things as if Machiavelli himself was commenting on them.


4 thoughts on “MACH-IV: Results and Justifications

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