Notes Psychology

Law 10: Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and the Unlucky (The 48 Laws of Power)

Law 10: Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and the Unlucky

Lola Montez
Lola Montez

In his own time Simon Thomas was a great doctor. I remember that I happened to meet him one day at the home of a rich old consumptive: He told his patient when discussing ways to cure him that one means was to provide occasions for me to enjoy his company: He could then fix his eyes on the freshness of my countenance and his thoughts on the overflowing cheerfulness and vigor of my young manhood; by filling all his senses with the flower of my youth his condition might improve. He forgot to add that mine might get worse.

MONTAIGNE, 1533-1592

Marie Gilbert was born in Ireland and took the name Lola Montez. She claimed to be a flamenco dancer but when she was 27, her career was going nowhere. She decided to become a courtesan in Paris and found some success. She managed to ruin the lives of several men that she seduced, going to a different country each time her victim suffered from either public disgrace or bankruptcy. She ascended in status and wealth, as she ruined the lives of the powerful men she enchanted, and she managed to do so with her forceful personality and her cunning tricks.

Lola Montez was a damaged person, and the men that she attracted were willing to defy anyone in their path to try to help her. They were lost. Her lovers would find themselves embroiled with endless quarrels, and her troubles would soon spread to close friends and family.

Many things are said to be infectious. Sleepiness can be infectious, and yawning as well. In large-scale strategy when the enemy is agitated and shows an inclination to rush, do not mind in the least. Make a show of complete calmness, and the enemy will be taken by this and will become relaxed. You infect their spirit. You can infect them with a carefree, drunklike spirit, with boredom, or even weakness.


Greene doesn’t tell us to avoid people who happen to come from difficult circumstances, but to avoid the ones that are incurably happy and unstable. They are capable of infecting countless others with their misery. The people you decide to associate with will have a dramatic effect on your live, particularly if you choose badly. The infectious people Greene warns us about, are so because of the intense emotions and strong characters.

To avoid these people do not judge anyone by what they say, but on their effects on the world. Infectors often have a turbulent past and long line of broken relationships, have a way of affecting you like a virus, without you noticing. Don’t waste time trying to help. They are unlikely to change but you will be unhinged.

But the good side of infection also exists. There are cheerful people who attract happiness to themselves by their natural buoyancy and intelligence.

Regard no foolish man as cultured, though you may reckon a gifted man as wise; and esteem no ignorant abstainer a true ascetic. Do not consort with fools, especially those who consider themselves wise. And be not self-satisfied with your own ignorance. Let your intercourse be only with men of good repute: for it is by such assotiation that men themselves attain to good repute. Do you not observe how sesame-oil is mingled with roses or violets and how, when it has been for some time in association with roses or violets, it ceases to he sesame-oil and is called oil of roses or oil of violets?


Read The 48 Laws of Power

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.