On March 15 we read in the newspapers of a 27-year-old man losing his life when he tried to take a selfie with elephants in Krishnagiri district. The tusker on finding him too close for comfort picked him up by its trunk and flung him to his death. Tragic beyond words. A drunken corporate executive indulged in gross behaviour while flying from the US to India. The other day it was a TTE on train. Pray, what’s the world coming to?
Balance seems like a word that’s gone with the wind. People seem to like being extremely adventurous, sensation-seeking; unreasonable risk-taking behaviour is on the rise.
The word, extreme, finds pride of place in over at least 110 Hollywood movie titles. Cliffhanger, tightrope walk — make good sports headlines, not in real life, please. Moderation, the key trait, is in short supply.
Aristotle listed moderation as one of the moral virtues. He also defined virtue as the mean between extremes, implying that moderation plays a vital role in all forms of moral excellence. What’s moral moderation? It’s the capacity to exert moderation and balance in the most appealing appetites and pleasures that have a direct impact on professional performance for the sake of a moral purpose.
Four common areas where many go overboard are work, fad diets and exercise regimen, fetishes and addictions and technology (read social media). Even excessive affection can be treacherous quicksand. A case in point is the gut-wrenching story of Amnon and Tamar in the Old Testament. Following his unpardonable offence against his half-sister, Amnon’s heart changes and how! II Samuel 13:15 says Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her.
Forget wicked characters, even the good ones take a mighty tumble. King Uzziah of Judah was good until he became powerful. Then he dared enter the Lord’s Temple and tried to burn incense on the altar, a privilege reserved only for priests. He did not just burn his fingers but came down with leprosy. II Chronicles 34 and 35 will apprise you of all the good King Josiah did in helping his subjects to walk right with God Almighty, but at the end he failed to seek God’s will re: fighting against king of Egypt and so paid with his life. Finishing well cannot be overemphasised. Yes, it’s a thin line we tread sometimes. What is excessive and full of pitfalls and the golden mean of moderation.
There can be instances of too much of a good thing. Proverbs 25:6 puts a cap on it. Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.
Author: Seline Augustine
Content Writer & Editor, Life Focus Society