A Forgotten Virtue

Aristotle said, “It is better to rise from life as from a banquet, neither thirsty nor drunken.” Socrates said “Everything in moderation, nothing in excess.”  The Bible states, “It is not good to eat too much honey.” (Proverbs 25:27).

Moderation recognizes more of the good is not always better and too much of anything is almost always worse.  Though moderation has been recognized as a virtue throughout history, in modern times it has all but been forgotten.

I suspect the young have always suffered from a lack of moderation.  We have to tell children not to spoil their appetite by eating too much candy and college students not to drink too much.  But experience, an able teacher, and partnered with age, a professor, in times past has instructed men of the benefits of moderation.

Today, people are poorer students.  The reason?  I suspect it is that modernity’s ability to deliver seemingly instant and unlimited gratification allows people to switch from one excess to another before recognizing the culprit is excess, not the object of it.  But whatever the reason for moderation’s decline, it is not because of a diminution of its merit.

Try this.  Next time you you enjoy a good meal or a bowl of ice cream or a good glass of wine, don’t go back for seconds.  Stop while you’re wanting more, and I think you will find yourself having enjoyed the entire experience to a much greater degree, your quality of life will soar…and your waistline may even shrink. GS

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