More people need to familiarize themselves with moderation, especially in the United States. ADF defines moderation as “cultivating one’s appetites so that one is neither a slave to them nor driven to ill health (mental or physical) through excess or deficiency.” The Oxford English Dictionary first states that, originally, moderation meant “the quality of being moderate in harshness or intensity; mildness, clemency” and that it later became known for “the quality of being moderate in conduct, opinion, etc.; avoidance of excess or extremes in behavior; temperateness, self-control, restraint.” My understanding of moderation is that one should neither have nor be too much or too little of something.
Too much or too little of anything can be bad for a person. Too much food will make a person obese and possibly diabetic, but too little will lead to anorexia and starvation. Too much water will cause a person’s brain to swell, but too little will cause dehydration – and so on and so forth. Moderation doesn’t only apply to things necessary for life but to recreation as well. I think that my fiancé practices moderation with his games. He plays video games but not to the expense of his family, friends, or grades. This is a wonderful thing considering how many people are addicted to video games.
Every person of every social standing should practice moderation. Priests and academics should moderate the amount of time they spend in study and contemplation. People need to have fun with friends and family, dabble with creativity, and relax. Warriors should not over-exert themselves with exercise and aggressive activities. A balance of physical exertion and relaxation is a must. Producers also need to take time out of busily creating things to sit back and think.
As I said, the virtue of moderation should be adopted by more people, especially in America. As I struggle to simplify my life and become more environmentally friendly, I look around me and see the same amount of excess despite the gas and food crisis occurring. People seem to feel that they need so many silly things – a double whopper, a million kitchen appliances, the right brand name clothing, and bigger cars. I don’t claim to be perfect, but I do feel that I’m making more strides than most, mostly because I feel that to be an environmentalist is to embrace moderation. I know that I don’t need to eat as much as the typical American does, for instance, and so I’ve started to avoid fast food as much as possible and became a vegetarian. At the same time, in the spirit of moderation, I try hard not to depress myself for the things that I cannot yet do because of time or money.
I’ve tried to adopt moderation into my spiritual life as well, in part because I feel that environmentalism is essential to Druidry. I make sure to maintain a healthy balance of academic study as well as spirituality. I feel that many Pagans lean too heavily in one direction, quite often in the spiritual direction to the expense of the academic. Pagans who do that, I believe, can become too deluded, while Pagans who don’t practice meditation or magic as much may not be as spiritually grounded or practiced as those who are buried in books.
~Grey Catling, 2008
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