I had two slices of pizza for breakfast. I very rarely eat pizza in the morning. This morning, however, it was a reward for not eating the whole ten-inch pizza I baked for yesterday’s lunch. This is part of an effort to eat in moderation. Saving some leftover pizza to eat the next day is a good thing.
To take things or do things in moderation is the smart way to get through life. I believe that it is also wise to take moderation in moderation. If you have a constructive, positive passion about one or two areas of life, then moderation is unwise when doing those. If you have a creative talent for music, literature, building things, repairing things and so forth, then it’s good to be a little extreme. I say this because a little bit of fiery passion makes all the moderation worthwhile.
We have survived the past few years of political extremism, with more of it boiling on the surface. Heated emotions block out the ability to think rationally. Such extreme behavior was frighteningly real on January sixth of this year with the attempted coup d’etat in Washington DC. We deserve a cooler political environment. This is where society would greatly benefit from moderation in thought and rhetoric. The tools to enable moderation have already been in place with the concept of the democratic republic.
Representative democracy is one of the most effective ways to govern nations. The major fault with such a system is that it is fragile. Extremism can readily take hold and throw the entire structure out of balance. When power hungry people abuse the processes, democratic republics wither away. It’s more than a little alarming to witness what is happening in the United States and in many places around the globe. It’s time to come to our collective senses and remember that moderation is the true path to peace and stability in our world.
I could harp on political extremism for this entire article, but that would be immoderate. I mention it because it is a symptom, not a cause of extreme thought and action of individuals. Rioting mobs do not spontaneously form out of thin air. A rioting mob is comprised of similarly minded individuals who have discarded moderate cool-headed protest. Without the consent of each individual, the rioting mob does not devolve from peaceful protest. We know that each citizen in a democratic republic theoretically has equal influence in governmental decision-making. Each individual has personal boundaries which should be mutually respected. When rioting mobs erupt, personal and ethical boundaries vanish because moderation was tossed aside.
“The heart is great which shows moderation in the midst of prosperity.”–Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Perhaps we have become insensitive to extremism because of extreme culture. We have extreme sports, extreme diets, extreme music, extreme fashion, and extreme extremism. Our culture has lost its way and allowed excess and greed to become acceptable norms. We have become a society utterly absorbed and obsessed with consumption and discarding moderation.
In my experience, extreme behavior is tiring and unsustainable. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Marathons require mindful parceling out of energy and passion in order to finish the race. There are moments of speeding up and moments of slowing down, but overall, moderate pacing brings completion.
Moderation is a profound attitude in society and governance that stems from the use of mindfulness by individuals. Anyway, this is just my opinion.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the ancient stoic philosopher, Epictetus. “If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please.”