golden-mean

By Laura A. Roser

Living Between Extremes

If you eat too much, you get fat and sick and die. If you eat too little, you waste away and die. The key is eating the right amount of the right foods. This leads to health, vitality, and a long life.

Of course, the questions then arise, “What is the right amount?” and “What are the right foods?” There’s the rub. From Dr. Oz’s advice to the continual string of health trends (don’t get me started on the gluten-free craze), these two questions seem to plague us constantly. Why? Because moderation is on a continuum. Achieving the right balance is a judgment call based on beliefs, cultural expectations, data, personal preference, availability of resources, and practicality of implementation. There is no one answer, and that’s what makes this simple concept of eating in moderation so complicated. There will always be a debate about what the proper balance is.

The idea of living in moderation is found in many different religions and philosophical ideologies around the world. In the Western world, Aristotle is one of its most popular proponents with his concept of the golden mean. The golden mean is the desirable middle point between two extremes.
Aristotle postulates that courage is a virtue. If, however, courage is taken to its extreme, it leads to recklessness. But to exercise no courage leads to cowardice and weakness. Therefore, we must seek the middle ground in knowing in which situations to exercise courage and in which situations we should back down.

According to the ancient Greeks, beauty extends far beyond the facade. Truth and beauty interplay to create the ideal, whether it be a balanced painting or a political ideology. There are three components they used to evaluate beauty: 1. symmetry, 2. proportion, and 3. harmony.

In striving to live in beauty we experience the true art of living. We must balance confidence with humility. Otherwise, it turns to egoism. We must balance work with play. Otherwise, we turn into workaholics. We must balance justice with mercy. Otherwise, our mistakes are too much for us to bare. We must balance selflessness with self-interest. Otherwise, we spend all our energy giving to others and burnout because we have not taken care of our own needs. A virtue can quickly lead to vice if it is not balanced with its opposite.

Whether it’s eating well, building a business, or cultivating relationships, when we operate within the golden mean, we experience harmony.

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by Laura A. Roser
CEO and Founder of Paragon Road
#1 Expert in Meaning Legacy Planning

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