The Golden Mean

Society’s seemingly endless bickering and beliefs-oriented violence achieves nothing constructive and further serves to create divisiveness in our world. While contemplating the current epidemic of political/religious extremism, the concept of moderation comes to mind.

Moderation has become demeaned so much that many people associate the word with fence sitting on important issues; being wishy-washy, non-committal, and prudish. However, in so far as practicality and getting along, moderation is generally the best option. Moderation has been getting a bad rap lately, so it’s time to tweak the vocabulary a bit. I posit that the words, “the golden mean” should be substituted in place of “moderation”.

In the West, the golden mean has roots in Ancient Greece; whereas the Delphic Oracles advised “nothing in excess”. Aristotelians employed it later on. Mathematicians define the golden mean as a division in a line of which the proportion of the whole of the larger area equals the proportion of the larger area to the smaller area. Philosophically, we can think of this taking place within the territory of our mind instead of only through mathematics and geometry.

We can find examples of its use in architecture and the other arts–including philosophy. In philosophical reckoning, the golden mean advocates avoiding extremes of deficiency and excess. The balance between the two extremes is the best approach to life in general. In Eastern thought, the concept of the “Middle Way” expresses a similar approach to life.

“Whoever cultivates the golden mean avoids both the poverty of a hovel and the envy of a palace.”–Horace

When we look objectively at the extremes Horace referred to, we understand that poverty is a grueling, dehumanizing condition and that excessive wealth fosters envy, pride and feeds further greediness. When we apply the golden mean to our economic lives, we are better able to find harmony between our lifestyle and conscience. That is, we have no wants for basic necessities nor have cravings for extravagance and excess. In my opinion, to follow the golden mean leads to constructive contentment and more happiness in life.

Hopefully, today’s blog post is not too short nor too wordy; but just long enough to trigger your own contemplation.


The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Henry David Thoreau. “The golden mean in ethics, as in physics, is the centre of the system and that about which all revolve, and though to a distant and plodding planet it be an uttermost extreme, yet one day, when that planet’s year is completed, it will be found to be central.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, philosophy, Politics, religion and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Golden Mean

  1. Yernasia Quorelios says:

    πŸ’Ž – Diamond Hard – πŸ’Ž

    πŸ’Ž The Problem is People Like Us ARE Ignoring Our Personal Mirror πŸͺž like The Wicked Witch (WITCH!!! πŸ§™ πŸͺ„πŸ§Ή); when YOU!!! ARE Brave Enough to Look in to YOUR!!! Personal Mirror EveryOne EveryThing Dissolves in to Bliss 😊 ☺ 😍 πŸ₯° πŸ™‚ ✨ 😊 EveryBody, NOW!!! That is a Perfect Solution and Solitude… it’s Our Waiting; while We Remain Patiently Calm

    πŸ’Ž – Diamond Hard – πŸ’Ž


  2. As I began reading I was thinking it sounded similar to Buddhism, as you said the Middle Way. Even though I don’t follow their teachings, I really like this concept. Maggie

  3. Americaoncoffee says:

    Well stated dear kindred-spirited friend. Have an amazing blessed weekend!❀️

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