Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Damocles sword;

Dejà vue...

©Photo/Sunrise; my garden;

While western countries bleed to conquer foreign nations the people drown in barbiturates, junk food, junk music, junk movies; dream on and get drunk on junk TV shows.

The sword of Damocles

The phrase has also come to be used in describing any situation with a sense of impending doom, especially when the peril is (or should be, to the astute observer) visible and close at hand—regardless of whether the victim is in a position of power. 

The American president John F. Kennedy compared the omnipresent threat of nuclear annihilation to a sword of Damocles hanging over the people of the world.

The Damocles of the anecdote was an obsequious courtier in the court of Dionysius II of Syracuse, a fourth century BC tyrant of Syracuse, Italy. Pandering to his king, Damocles exclaimed that, as a great man of power and authority surrounded by magnificence, Dionysius was truly extremely fortunate. Dionysius then offered to switch places with Damocles, so that Damocles could taste that very fortune first hand. Damocles quickly and eagerly accepted the king's proposal. Damocles sat down in the king's throne surrounded by every luxury, but Dionysius arranged that a huge sword should hang above the throne, held at the pommel only by a single hair of a horse's tail. Damocles finally begged the tyrant that he be allowed to depart, because he no longer wanted to be so fortunate.

More generally, it is used to denote the sense of foreboding engendered by a precarious situation, especially one in which the onset of tragedy is restrained only by a delicate trigger or chance. Shakespeare's Henry IV expands on this theme: "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

The Roman 1st century B.C. poet Horace also alluded to the sword of Damocles in Poem 29 of the Third Book of Odes, in which he extolled the virtues of living a simple, rustic life, favoring such an existence over the myriad threats and anxieties that accompany holding a position of power.

Some excerpts from Wikipedia 

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