The very first trait of my lists of core abilities and interests that I feel is indispensable for the modern man is the ability to be moderate. Coming in at number one you would thus assume that I feel it to be rather important and you would be right. What then to make of the fact that Nobel-Prize Winning, MacArthur Genius Grant Near Recipient John Wilder believes moderation to be for monks and ruffles.
There’s a danger to compromise. The path to freedom as practiced by the Founding Fathers® isn’t a path of tolerance to deviation. The path to freedom is rigorous. It requires honest and probing self-analysis. Once the self-analysis is done, the solution immediately presents itself. For a real solution, the truth is required – lies are comforting, but never lead to solutions.
Taking an inventory of where your reality is versus where your standards are is important. We all fall short of our standards from time to time, but if you do it long enough, falling short becomes your new standard. The only solution, and I mean only solution is to avoid moderation. If you’ve failed, the “moderate” behavior that got you there isn’t the “moderate” behavior that will get you out of the situation.
Who is right? Who will be the victor and who will be the vanquished blogger that must creep back into the subterranean basement from which he came?
Thankfully, we’re both right. Phew, that was a close one.
John is talking about moderation as a negative trait; moderation that holds you back from ever truly achieving anything. The greatest achievements in the many fields that litter the world were and are not made by men who hold anything back. You might assume that this always entails great feats of bravado, and sometimes it does. But oftentimes it simply comes out of the ability to plug away, day after day, and never give up or be deterred from your goal.
There are no moderate war heroes, as an example. Nor opera singers. I bet you never thought that those two groups would ever have anything in common but the fat chicks sings for everyone it seems.
The moderation that I talk about in that first trait is the ability to not over exaggerate in pleasures and vices.
One cigarette a day, enjoyed on the terrace as a fitting conclusion to a lovely meal – that’s not going to kill you. A pack sure will though. Moderates understand this. They don’t need outside elements to make up for something they might be missing inside. They consume whatever they want but they are not consumed by it.
Because of this moderates are able to enjoy everything, and that is the key word – enjoy. The moderate man is a man of taste and pleasure. He samples everything, grows to understand what he enjoys, and becomes more expert on the product which increases his enjoyment even more, (but without becoming a bore). A moderate man can hold his drink. A scrupulous man will not drink. A man prone to exaggeration will become rowdy and drunk. Which of the three would you invite for the day on your boat?
John’s article is thought provoking as even the trait of being moderate can become negative if applied to one’s personal ambition. But then again, not everyone wants to scale the highest mountain; some are content merely gazing at it from the comfort of their porch, rocking serenely away as they puff on a good cigar while the smell of a slow cooked stew gives the anticipation of the comforting meal to come.
Myself? I keep plugging away at what I do. No moderation here. Just lies, damned lies and glorious trolling. Be the very best bastard that you can be.