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Monday, August 17, 2015

Moderation (is dumb)

A common response that I hear while speaking on the plethoras of poisons of this life is, "Everything in moderation."  You will be surprised to hear (not) that I have heard it pretty much every week of my life (or more) for the last six or so years.  In fact, if you know me personally, it is highly likely that you have said it to me at some point.  

Weird side note: some people think that this is a quote in the Bible or something.  I didn't realize that until I read people questioning it's source online.  If you were unsure, that phrase has origins from various sources like Socrates, and is even sometimes attributed to Hesiod and being an inscription on the temple of Apollo at Delphi, but it is not a verse in the Bible.  (You didn't think that, did you?)

After I have heard this statement, I usually think of Inigo Montoya and his phrase, "You keep using that phrase.  I do not think it means what you think it means."  

What does it even mean?  

I would submit that the phrase, "Everything in moderation", really means, "Shut up, please, and leave me alone.  You are crazy wacked and off the deep end.  I am normal."  If this is what you mean to say, then I can accept that.  Sometimes I think it can mean, "I don't want to do that."

If, however, you really do mean, "Everything in moderation", then I have a few questions.  

Okay.  So.  Por ejemplo.  Let's say that I've been talking about high fructose corn syrup and I'm spouting off about how mercury is found in high fructose corn syrup and that mercury is a neurotoxin and your dendrites in your brain shrink back and lose their conical structures and collapse when exposed to mercury and yada, yada, yada.  You say, "Yes, Ms.  Daisy, but remember: everything in moderation!"  

A few things come to mind.  In this example in particular, how much corn syrup constitutes moderation?  Once a month?  Once a week?  Once a meal?  Once a minute?  Because unless you are looking out for genetically modified high fructose corn syrup (or regular level fructose corn syrup), you are going to be eating it in every single foodlike substance you have in your entire cupboard because it is all over every grocery store (well, maaaaybe not Whole Foods, but they have cane sugar in everything up the wazoo) and in nearly every quasi-foodlike substance.  Are you saying to me that you really do check the ingredients and avoid it out of your desire for moderation most of the time?  I kind of feel like this might not be the case, but I could be totally wrong.

And do you mean everything in moderation?  Like arsenic?  Do you eat arsenic in moderation?  Or should we punch people in the face in moderation while swearing at them?  It would be, after all, in moderation.  (Are you thinking about punching me right now?!)  What about wiping spaghetti on the walls - if we do it in moderation, it's all good!  

Maybe there are some things we need to avoid always.  Like human trafficking and murder and stuff.  Or inhaling sarin gas, playing with broken thermometers, burninating the peasants and their thatched roof cottages, and things of that nature.  I would add a few more things to that list (like consuming fluoride and Froot Loops, or shopping at Wal-Mart, but I guess that might be getting a little too particular).  

The real guts of this phrase really comes down to the speaker.  The moderation is in the eye of the beholder.  Who is the ultimate determiner of what excess is?  How can you find the mean and average (and thus, the "moderation" point) if the line of excess is drawn at different locations for every single person on the earth?  My idea of corn syrup in moderation is once a year (and that, accidentally).  It would be the same line of moderation for corn syrup as it would be for arsenic in my mind, but I suppose that is not the same for everyone reading this (maybe).  Your definition for moderation in swimming in chlorine might be less than my thrice to five times weekly level (it's only an hour, so it's moderation). 

When it comes down to it, the word "moderation" means nothing because it means every point on the line.    (But I suppose I ought to warn you to just take it for what it's worth.  Coming from my perspective - a.k.a. the right perspective, I have discovered I have only two speeds: balls to the wall and zero.  Libra schmibra.  That's Latin for "whatevs".  Moderation is dumb.  Let me tell you what I really think.)

Why not strive for better?  Why not strive for best?  Instead of aiming for moderation, I suggest we strive for excellence.  Just something to think about.  

So the next time you're tempted to say it, if you really mean, "Shut up, crazyface", maybe it would be better to just go with that instead.  

Peace, love, and he was still Trogdor!
Ms. Daisy

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