Moderation

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Is it better to have a lot of something or to have it in moderation? A compliment or a curse packs a harder punch when given sparingly, the way the pointed heel of a stiletto has more force than the brunt of a blunt boot. One compliment from a usually-mute person may have greater impact than one compliment from a doting mother, but the perennial praises of a mother are surely more important to the self-worth or confidence one has of oneself. Perhaps there is a danger of something becoming too saturated, and therefore useless – but small pokes from persistent profanities will always affect you in some way, despite any belief that one has become numb to it. However, taking antibiotics – or any form of drug – will create resistance, be it from the constantly evolving bacteria or your constantly adapting body. The more you take, the more you will need in order to gain the same effect. In the case of antibiotics, they are rendered useless once the bacteria has formed a resistance.

Perhaps this argument, like everything else, depends on what is being offered. Too much of a good thing is said to be bad, and too much of a bad thing is never good. Most things must be in moderation. Moderation means to avoid excess or extreme behaviours, something that my generation may see as appalling. However, I believe the view of the word extreme has shifted – what the older generation sees as extreme is no longer extreme in our eyes, so “everything in moderation” might at first seem like an unattractive prospect to the generation that came up with YOLO. However, although our definition of extreme no longer involves things like extreme sports or binge watching TV shows, it does involve things that become harmful to us and those around us.

If so, how do we define what is or isn’t extreme? Some say too much love can be stifling – but a stifling love is no longer love; it is obsession, or greed, or something else entirely. Where are the boundaries for the definition of each action? It is easy to know when there is too little of something. But at what point do compliments become extolments, or criticism, abuse? It may sound easy to decipher on paper, but I wonder if people can apply their thoughts to their daily lives.

I personally think everything should be done in moderation, be it eating, talking, studying, playing. But sometimes I wonder if we should moderate our passions. Can we passionately pursue a career in, for example, helping others without it turning into an obsession that becomes detrimental to one’s health? Where does one stop being passionate and start being fanatical? Perhaps, then, passion in moderation will also produce better results.

The meaning of “moderation” itself may depend on one’s circumstance and personality. Someone with a lot more ability could do something that for them would be “moderate” but for others be spectacular. It is still a spectacular feat, but for the able person it was something done in moderation, without having all their energy spent or destroying themselves in the process. One person may be able to manage having a lot of money while another may lose themselves in it. Likewise, some people need more compliments whereas others would prefer anonymity, with just an occasional word of encouragement. In this case one would need to define what is moderate for themselves and what is moderate for others.

For example: I never give compliments, this person always receives compliments, therefore my compliment would be surprising but not impactful or necessary. Or, I never give compliments, this person never receives compliments, therefore my compliment may have a positive effect. However, the first person may value my opinion more, in which case my compliment will still have a great effect, whereas the second person may not see me as valuable at all, in which case I will have no effect. Has someone written an equation for this? If there is a word for this sort of social theory, please let me know. For now, I will moderate myself and end this tangent here!

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