“not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.”
These were the famous last words uttered by Brutus before delivering the mortal stab that snuffed the life out of his best friend Julius Caesar.
Caesar, who at the time, was still struggling to fend off his foes was heart broken and lost the willpower to continue to struggle, when he turned and saw his good friend raise a knife and struck him, leading him to gasp, “etu Brute?” That singular stab out of the many he had received proved to be the most fatal and he gave up the ghost thereafter.
Now why did Brutus kill his best friend? Brutus, an otherwise honourable man, was misled by Caesar’s political foe Cassius who, through devious means, manipulated and elevated his personal envy and hatred for Caesar into what Brutus thought was public opinion.
Brutus was easily sucked into Cassius plans because he too was a little envious of Caesar’s rising profile. He had wondered why, a mere mortal like Caesar with serious phobia for water could have a larger than life image in the eyes of the public.
Was Caesar himself enamoured of hubris? Was his extreme self confidence enough for a friend to plot with his foes to kill him? That is a question for the reader to ponder but the lesson of this offering is two-fold.
First: before you claw at, and vilify that person because of “public opinion”, take time to do an independent assessment, for what you consider public opinion, may actually be the tainted elevated opinion of one man. A 1952 organisation teaches it’s adherence not only to “learn before leap” but to always look beyond every seductive formulae. And like the irrepressible Socrates said centuries ago, “never follow a multitude to do evil” The crowd instinct is usually a herd instinct.
Second: never let envy of anyone’s rising profile, much that of a friend lead you to hate them.