Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Virtues Essay: Moderation

  • The avoidance of excess or extremes, especially in one's behavior or political opinions

                                                                       --Oxford American English Dictionary

Ahh, moderation.  Few topics can make an average American squirm in their seat like a discussion about moderation.  Most will admit that moderation - limiting extremes in behavior and thought - is a good thing.  Moderation can keep us healthy, stable and out of trouble.  On the other hand, most Americans will concede that, in practice, moderation is a difficult concept to put in action:  have some cake - but not too much; enjoy time with your friends - but don't neglect your family; spend money on what you love - but don't go into debt.

In today's push button society of instant gratification and never-ending options the mindful, intentional moderating of one's desires seems, well, a bit outdated.  Moderation takes work, requires concentration.  Moderation asks one to evaluate each choice, weighing wants against needs.  Moderation necessitates an examination of one's choices and situations - both those that are beloved and despised.

Moderation does have its rewards, though.  Being financially diligent can free up resources for  leisure and philanthropy.  Moderation in diet can lead to good health.  Within one's religious life moderation can assure adequate time for contemplation and learning without isolating one from society.  Moderation can serve as a tool, advising one towards a steady path on what can otherwise be a very wild journey.

             "Moderation in all things.  Especially moderation. " -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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