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Day 42: Hero Or Nero?

“Our soul is sometimes a king, and sometimes a tyrant. A king, by attending to what is honorable, protects the good health of the body in its care and gives it no base or sordid command. But an uncontrolled, desire-fueled, over-indulged soul is turned from a king into that most feared and detested thing—a tyrant.”


This post asks for a history lesson. Nero was one of the most infamous emperors of Rome. He is best known for his debaucheries, political murders, persecution of Christians, and a passion for music that led to the probably apocryphal rumor that Nero “fiddled” while Rome burned during the great fire of 64 A.D.(source

Fun fact about Nero: he has Seneca, the great stoic philosopher as one of his main advisers. He helped him to form a competent government in the initial 5 years of his reign. Later, his influence declined over Nero as the power grew into his head. So, it proves you even if you have a great friend or advisor with you, it can’t prevent you from doom if you let power get into your head.

We hear about such people around us every day, politicians, leaders, CEOs. Once you have tasted power you want to remain in the power forever. Even if the desire to power is lead by some noble thoughts and idea, it can soon turn into tyrant if remains unchecked.

That’s the reason we have the concept of opposition in a democracy, a board of directors in a corporate, so that no one person has the absolute power.

Now, me leading an insignificant life, didn’t have much exposure to the feeling of having power. Whatever little power I might have felt is in bossing around my younger siblings or training my juniors. But I have always felt more sense of responsibility here rather than reveling myself in the power. To become a role model for them, to inspire them to lead a meaningful life, and to help them whenever they need it.

So, I guess it is up to us to determine whether we will use the power or be used by the evil effects of the power? Will you be a Hero or Nero?

Published inPhilosophy & IdeasStoicism

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