“Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned” I suppose there is no other greater display of the dark side of man than those words depicted in this phrase. Think of it, the Emperor of the most powerful empire ever to exist upon the Earth, watched carelessly as his empire crumbled to the ground. To make matters worse, he decides this would be a good time to hone his music skills (or perhaps to delight in the image of the carnage with some soothing notes of the violin?). I think it is safe to assume that most people are like me. When they picture this event in mind, they more than likely see Nero frolicking about in a graceful manner as he slides the bow across the strings. I picture his facial expressions with an arrogant smirk of evil delight. To my knowledge, this is just an allegory to depict the Roman Emperor Nero in the image he was best known for, and that being evil. I don’t think the facts are true, and I’m not even sure Nero was the emperor while Rome burned (upon further thought, I’m almost certain it was him, he later blamed the Christians, but not that it matters either way.) However it stacks up, this is one of the most classic phrases found in the English Language through literature. To me, and I would say many of my English speaking peers, it ranks right up there with the likes of “I think, therefore I am” or “Ask not what Your Country can do for you, but ask but ask ‘what can I do for My Country”. I think it is agreeable that the phrase “Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned” is in a way a beautiful thing. What other phrase can you think of that can describe the horrors of mankind more eloquently? I can’t think of any. With all this being said, I would like to draw attention to another aspect of this phrase. I’m not talking about the words or any meaning found in it, but the one who coined it. Let us suppose for an instant that the author did in fact witness the event he described. Let’s imagine for a moment that upon realizing that Rome was engulfed in flames he makes a dash to safety. During his flight from terror, he sees Nero’s balcony and witnesses the emperor playing his fiddle. Upon reflecting upon the phrase and the beauty of it, isn’t it logical that the author was awestruck by it? I mean it’s obvious he felt moved to coin it, or report it. Have you ever been in wonder of something that is startling? I have, and I can say that upon reflecting on it, it was as if nothing else in the world mattered. I’m sure anyone who is reading this can relate what ever the situation, whether it be a thing of beauty or horror. This is where I take issue with the author (remembering I’m still speaking hypothetically). It is the fact that he actually noticed Nero. I will guarantee that if I were in his shoes, I would not have noticed some evil dictator playing a fiddle. I would have automatically refused to allow my psyche to be awestruck. My main concern would have been my family’s safety and my safety. I would not stop to make a reflection. Today, I believe this is a problem still. There are too many people who pride themselves upon being intellectually superior to their fellow man. Upon their conquest to obtain a greater sophistication, reputation, understanding etc., they totally overlook the finer things, which are more important. If left unattended, the finer things will eventually blow up in your face and may be your own burnt empire. People are so quick to point out intellectual accomplishments by thinking men. They point to their legacies as if they are an immortal aspect of that person. In a way they are, but consider this. Do you think Hemmingway, would choose a more simply life upon hindsight? I think so, the same can be said of great intellectuals like Neitczhe who latter became insane. My whole point is this… If you can’t enjoy a movie because you feel the need to take a pen and paper with you into a theater to pen a review, something is wrong. If you can’t stop over analyzing even the simplest things, you have a problem and that problem is yourself. More specifically pride. In your quest for knowledge, you have let life pass you by. I’m not saying to dumb down, I’m saying to chill out. There’s not a race to gobble up the most knowledge. If you have a plan to fix even the smallest inconveniences of society, and get furious when they aren’t implemented you should really get a hobby that is less straining. Of course, I suppose I could be over analyzing the situation. With all that is said, have a Happy Holiday.