Napleon's Words of Wisdom


Julia Kuliamina

Once Napoleon Bonaparte said, that the heart of a statesman must be in his head. I can't but agree with the words of the emperor of France and I'll try my best to support them.

History knows a lot of events, when many statesmen followed their hearts and all their practices led to some miserable results. For instance, let's consider the reign of Ivan the Terrible. Mentally unbalanced and neurotic monk executed his subjects one after another because of his permanent fear of treachery or plot against him. That is why he unleashed the war on his own people, which drastically weakened the position of the country and resulted in the heaviest economical crisis and the defeat of Russia in the Livonian war. We can also remember some commanders-in-chief, whose orders to the army were based on their poorly argued suggestions and resulted in a great number losses and victims.

In everyday life people very often make decisions following the dictates of their hearts. For example, if you have an opportunity to help your best friend with finding a job, you will provide him with it regardless of your friend's intellectual abilities or little operational experience, and you won't think about any benefit for yourself. But if this protege does not live up to your expectations and turns up to be a bad employee, it is you and your reputation that will suffer, along with the company which employed the bad employee. Though it might be an annoying situation, the scale of harm done is not too large. But if a statesman makes his decisions in such a way, it will lead to huge troubles, even the crisis in the country…

In the light of what's been said, we can draw the conclusion that a statesman has to be able to thoroughly analyze the situation in his state, to clearly see the goals of his actions and to try to predict their consequences. This is the meaning of Napoleon's idea that the heart of a statesman must be in his head.

Kuliamina Julia, 103




I absolutely agree with the statement. And I think it s enough to say a few words to prove it. Very many people are inclined to make decisions according to their heart. Here is a very simple example: A man asks you to lend him a sum of money. If he is your good friend, your will give him the money immediately. But if it is the man, whom you can hardly bare, probably you will refuse. These two actions are committed according to your heart. But if you acted in alliance with your brain, most likely you would lend the money to the fellow because he might help you in the future to repay your kindness in full measure. Actually, that would be the most rational action. At any rate, if any harm is done in this situation, you could be the only possible casualty. And now imagine a decision, made according to one s heart, but on the whole country scale. How many people could suffer? A dreadful question that must have no answer. That's why the heart of a statesman must be in his head.

Roman Sharapov, group 103, 2002-2003




Ladies and gentlemen it is a great honour and pleasure for me to present my speech to you today. I hope you won't feel bored after just several minutes listening to me.

Please imagine the following situation: you come to a bookstore and want to buy some books on history. You come up to a bookshelf and see several different volumes with the title The History Of The 17th Century By Peter The Great or The History Of The 19th Century By Nicholas I. Which of them will you choose? What will your decision criteria be?

Of course it is difficult to say what history is. Generally speaking, it is a branch of science, which studies the past. Searching through history books we can learn a lot about our ancestors. History has always aroused great interest as people have always been interested in their past. But some people are especially concerned about their reputation and try to protect it by "taking good care" of historical accounts of their deeds.

For example, there is an opinion that some Russian monarchs who ruled in the 18th century created the history of their reign themselves to emphasize their "glorious" exploits. They are even said to have forged some law codes and documents. Of course, this idea does not sound too convincing, and it is up to the posterity to decide if it is true or false. On the one hand, it's awful not to know the truth about your origins or face false facts about your past. On the other hand, some pupils, university entrants or students won't object to the abridged edition of history books. Still we have no choice but to believe that our history is our past, and not the version of the past events that people have decided to agree upon.

Semenikhina Dasha, group 103, 2002-2003




A great French philosopher Voltaire once said to a man he was arguing with: "I fully disagree with your point of view, but I would die for the sake of your liberty to express it freely..."

Doesn't this statement make you smile or feel critical? "Why the hell should I protect the rights of a man who has actually nothing to do with me?" - You would certainly think, wouldn't you?

Now let's consider another example. There is a trade union strike aimed at increasing the workers' wages. All the workers of the country will take part as the situation involves their interests, and their participation doesn't seem either funny or strange, does it?

Of course, there are many other occasions when people have to choose between their interests and their rights. For instance, a prostitute, whose rights are abused savagely, will still do her job in case she is paid much money. We are more eager to fight for our personal interests than for our "abstract" rights. In other words, everyone will fight for his own hand. No matter how the interests and rights may agree or disagree, we are most likely to consider our interests more important. No one knows when and how this trend originated. Some historians suppose that it appeared along with the state, others claim that it is eternal, but nonetheless it has persisted for the last couple of millenniums. Naturally there appear some clever chaps who use their knowledge of human nature, of a man's personal interests for their own sake and for both the good and the bad of other people. No doubt Napoleon Bonaparte was one of those chaps.

Krekhaleva Lubov, group 103, 2002-2003

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