20.7.17

Three Misinterpreted Books that were taught in school


Books or novels convey different thoughts and meanings. Some present the truth, some quasi-truth, while some hold mix connotations of facts and fallacy. However, no matter how the books/novels are packaged and published, they always bear the real thoughts and ideas of the authors. They are written based on the authors' way of thinking, which corresponds to their condition, mindset and situation. Some are written based on someone's teachings and principles. But what if a book is being understood and taught contrary to what the authors convey? Surely, people would think about it differently and misinterpret the meaning of its conception. A good example of this is a book whose author has been dead without pointing out the real meaning of his/her work. I have read an article from Cracked.com regarding six books that everyone, even an English teacher, got wrong. Here, I am posting three books that were "erroneously conceived and taught" in school: Machiavelli's The Prince, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche.


3. Machiavelli's "The Prince"

If you've ever heard a politician or other powerful person referred to as "Machiavellian," you can guess it's not a compliment. That's thanks to a shifty-looking Italian diplomat named Machiavelli.

The reason for this is Machiavelli's The Prince, one of the most notorious political treatises ever written, designed as an instruction manual for the Florentine dictator Lorenzo de' Medici to help him be more of a bastard. Completely disregarding moral concerns in politics, the book serves as a levelheaded discourse on the best way to assert and maintain power, noting that it's better to be feared than loved, and that dishonesty pays off in the long run as long as you lie about how dishonest you are.

What it's really about:


Actually, Machiavelli was totally just trolling. Far from being the spiritual patriarch of the Gambino crime family, he was a renowned proponent of free republics, as noted in a few obscure texts called everything else he ever wrote. The reason The Prince endured the ages while the rest of his philosophy gathered dust in the back of an old library warehouse is chiefly 1) it's really short, and 2) it angries up the blood. By far the best way to get a book on the best-seller list is to write something that pisses everyone off, but the drawback is that it steamrolls the message of any work that's only meant to be understood in context.

The context in this case is that the Medici family to whom he dedicated his love letter is the same group who personally broke Machiavelli's arms for being such a staunch advocate for free government. He worked for the Florentine Republic before the Medicis marched in, mowed down the government and mercilessly tortured him, and then he sat down and wrote The Prince from his shack in exile, assumedly with some really bendy handwriting (on account of the arms).



2. Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"

Anybody who grew up in the 1960s (and still remembers anything about it) can tell you what Lewis Carroll's classic children's book was really all about: A girl takes a "trip" down the rabbit hole and finds herself in a surreal world where animals start talking to her.

Alice in Wonderland is the Fear and Loathing of fairy tales. It became one of the most important allegories of the 60s counterculture, with scenes that accurately correspond to the sensation of every mind-altering substance known to man.

What it's really about:

Lewis Carroll was the pen name of the very conservative Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Anglican deacon and professor of mathematics. He wrote Alice in the 1860s, a time when the most radical thing taking place on college campuses was complex math. While that sounds innocent enough, Carroll thought it would lead straight to Satan. Yes, the book that launched a million acid trips was written by the biggest square in the universe for the nerdiest reason imaginable.

The Rev. Dodgson thought the new mathematics was completely absurd, like something you'd dream up if you were on drugs.

So he decided to write a book about a world that followed the laws of abstract mathematics, purely to point out the batshit lunacy of it. Things keep changing size and proportion before Alice's eyes, not because she's tripping on bad acid, but because the world is based on stupid postmodern algebra with shit like imaginary numbers that don't even make any sense god dammit. "Alice" was the sensible Euclidian mathematician trying desperately to keep herself sane and tempered, while "Wonderland" was really Christ Church College at Oxford, where Dodgson worked, and its inhabitants were just as barking mad as he thought his colleagues really were.

1.Friedrich Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra"

Friedrich Nietzsche is probably the most-recognized name in philosophy behind Socrates and Aristotle. But his notoriety with the layman is mainly due to the people he inspired -- Ted Bundy, Mussolini and Hitler. His seminal work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, is about as cheery as anything Nietzsche ever penned. It popularized the quote "God is dead" and illustrates Nietzsche's disdain for the concept of traditional morality and his prediction that some kind of master race would soon drag itself out of the slime and rule the world.
He refers to the rightful owner of the world as the "superman" and the "splendid blond beast," and anyone with a passing interest in modern history knows exactly where that line of thinking is going. Hitler, who might otherwise have faded out of history as just another square-mustached college dropout, picked up a copy of Zarathustra and was inspired to do a little more with his life. Some years later he distributed copies to his soldiers and went about arranging a big-budget live stage adaptation known as "the Holocaust."

What it's really about:

If Nietzsche wasn't too busy being dead, he would probably have had a few words with Hitler about the fuehrer's liberal interpretation of his work, due mainly to the fact that Nietzsche hung around with entirely the wrong crowd. His sister, Elisabeth, and good friend, composer Richard Wagner, were both as Nazi as the goose-step.
After Nietzsche died, Elisabeth inherited the rights to his works and went about diligently re-editing them with a "kill all the Jews" subtext. It didn't help that Nietzsche's thought-baton was then picked up by the philosopher Martin Heidegger -- you guessed it: Nazi.
Nietzsche actually hated anti-Semites, having refused to attend his sister's wedding because she was marrying a Nazi, and even wrote that "anti-Semites should be shot."

And as for the "superman" thing, rather than referring to some genetically pure German dictator, Nietzsche was just making a generic statement about people who believe in the subjectivity of morals and seek to find their own values in the world -- a concept wholly incompatible with just following the whim of some guy with a hate-boner for some specific race. Interpreting Zarathustra's message as a call to raise an army and purge the world of undesirables is something akin to believing that Animal Farm was really a warning about farm animals taking over the world.

To read all six, visit this site www.cracked.com.