Saturday, March 31, 2012


We are a curious species. Given a particular attribute in our lives, we have a habit of running it into the ground.
Give us desire, we find lust.
Give us temperance, and we find gluttony.
Give us want, and we find greed.
Give us righteous indignation, and we find wrath.
Give us self-esteem, and we find wanton pride.
Give us achievement, and we find vainglory.
Give us beauty, and we pursue vanity.
Give us power, and we pursue overreach.
Give us a cause, and we pursue fanaticism.

And so forth. Whatever we don't have we spend our lives pursuing. Whatever we have that we want we want more of. Whatever we have that we don't want we spend a lifetime trying to avoid. Are we just restless by nature, or do we pursue single, specific things so that our lives make sense?
I'd guess that this is why the ancients (Aristotle, I believe) preached "everything in moderation," not just the foods we consume, but the ideas. I can sense times when I have taken my life too far in one direction, and I usually find myself backing away soon thereafter. If anything, extremism bores me. Too much time on one topic, and my mind wanders. Not everyone feels that way. I read somewhere that Americans feel "too much is just right." Is that, in fact, the case, or is personal extremism merely pursued in different ways outside of this rambunctious country?

And yes, this is a perfectly normal train of thought for me at 6:41 on a Saturday night. There are worse ways to spend my time, right?

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