Shortly before his death in 1527, Niccolò Machiavelli told his friends of a dream he had recently had, which had gone down in history of “Machiavelli’s Dream.”
He first saw a group of miserable men in rags. He asked them who they were, and they replied, “We are the saintly and the blessed; we are on our way to heaven.” He next saw a group of solemn men, noble and serious, speaking of important matters. Amongst them, Machiavelli saw the great thinkers, philosophers, and political scientists of the past, those who had in their era done what Machiavelli had done in his: Plato, Plutarch, Tacitus, and others. He asked them who they were, and they replied, “We are the damned of hell.”
After telling the story of his dream, Machiavelli told his friends that, of the two destinations, he would be infinitely happier in hell with the philosophers than in heaven, bored, with the saints.