Virtue of the Week: Moderation

1.the quality of being moderate; restraint; avoidance of extremes or excesses; temperance. have self-control.

Moderation is the silken string running through the pearl chain of all virtues.Joseph Hall

Have you been in a relationship that started out with amazing passion? Butterflies every time you saw the person. You wanted to be with them every moment of every day. The connection was electric, but after a few months things started to fizzle. You began to get bored and restless.

Remember the last time a song grabbed your attention and spoke to you? You listened to it over and over again; it stirred something inside you. But after a few months you could listen to it without really even noticing it was on.

How do we become dulled to the excitement that these pleasures once brought us? How do we regain excitement again?

Society says MORE….More stimulation. More computer games, more movies, more music, more Face Book, more texting, more steroids, more pot, more prescription drugs, more drinking, more sex, more money, more freedom, more food. More of anything is sold as the cure for everything. Yet paradoxically, the more stimulation we receive, the less joy and enjoyment we get out of it. The key to experiencing greater fulfillment and pleasure is actually moderation.

Moderation doesn’t seem to get a lot of play these days. Everything is presented in extremes. We have extreme sports, extreme deodorants, extreme energy drinks, etc. etc.. We seek extremes because we erroneously believe that the more intense an experience is, the more pleasurable it will be.

As we increase our stimulation, our appetite consequently rises to meet it. We then need even more stimulation to achieve the same pleasure the old level of stimulation gave us. Yet the ratcheting up of stimulation will eventually reach the point of diminishing returns. As you seek higher and higher levels of stimulation, you eventually damage the delicate mechanisms your body and mind have for receiving and enjoying pleasure. We can overload our pleasure circuits, and become numb to future enjoyments.

For Aristotle, all virtues are to be understood as the mean (moderation) between vicious extremes.

This video is about gluttony, and speaks about seeking things to fill the void in our hearts. Food is a great example of a wonderful blessing turned into a vice when not practiced in moderation. May we all practice moderation so the lives we live be in balance and be virtuous.