I want to properly discuss my thoughts on Golden Mean Philosophy and what that means to me.
Gold is one of the most sought after pieces of precious metals that we have on this earth. Throughout history, kingdoms were forged and felled by and for gold. Mercenaries for hire, we kill for this value of money and gold. We humans, value gold, and as such I want to talk about the Greek take on Gold and the sort of Daoist perspective of gold.
But gold is the somehow the word and idea of virtue that we seek. So the Greek used Gold to represent the virtue, a metaphor of sorts.
The story of Goldilocks
There lived in a forest, three bears in a nice house. Papa bear, mama bear, and baby bear. They prepared their dinner of porridge and put it on the table, however it was too hot. It was a beautiful day out, so they took the opportunity and left the house for a quick walk as they waited for the porridge to cool down.
A small girl named Goldilocks with golden hair goes through the forest and comes across the house. She enters like a criminal, and sees the porridge on the table.
She sees three chairs and tries sitting on all three. One of them is too big. One of them is too small. The last chair is just right. So she sits on that chair.
There are three bowls of porridge in front of here. She tries tasting one, too hot. She tries another which is too cold. She tries the third which is just right. So she eats the third one.
She was tired after eating, so she goes to another room with beds. She tries one bed, it’s too hard. She tries another bed, it’s too soft. She tries the last bed, and it’s just right.
Eventually the bears come back to a ransacked home and discover Goldilocks in her slumber. Then like a criminal, Goldilocks jumps out a window to get out of dodge.
The point of this story is that Goldilocks resembles the Golden mean philosophy. She sought to find the proper size chair, the proper temperature porridge, and the proper toughness of bed.
Somewhere in the middle of the extremes lies the golden mean. The golden spot. The good zone. The optimal position.
Aristotle Golden Mean Philosophy
Aristotle proposes that there are virtues, that if we do in excess will be bad. And if we don’t do enough, then we will be lacking or deficient. The middle is the balance that we should seek.
Golden mean is the aim for the “happy middle”.
There is a proverb “The dose makes the poison”
Too little poison, and you build resistance. Too much poison and you die. You only shoot for the middle ground of poison if you want the chance of death.
The same with water;
If you drink too much water, you suffer overhydration, water intoxication, or possibly hyponatremia. Which means you can die from drinking too much water.
If you drink too little water, you suffer from dehydration and you can die.
If you eat too much food, you can die from choking, heart problems, obesity, and other issues that develop from overeating. This can result in death.
If you eat too little food, you starve and can start eating away at your muscles and stomach, resulting in death as well.
What I’m getting at is, there is a happy medium, that we can play with, to achieve a specific goal.
That goal could be living a long life, or maximizing output and productivity.
For work related example:
Too many work hours can drive morale and efficiency down, people lose sleep, and they don’t feel progress. This will result in inefficient work or
Too little work hours can result in a rush delivery of a good. Lowering quality, safety, and performance. Or there might not be enough time to even complete anything, resulting in inefficient work.
Some work, is better than no work. But over worked, is worse than some work. So find the happy middle of work to maximize your personal or professional output.
Within the Yin and the Yang lies the dao, and there is a middle path for the daoist. Basically the eastern philosophies and spirituality focuses on paths and journeys (Where as western culture focuses on constructs and things).
A path between the Yin and the Yang, the path of balance between the two.
If we say one is chaos, and the other is order. They may lie and say to you the opposite. Who can you trust is yin and yang?
When they both might be twins of the same ilk. So you sort of have to be rational and find the balance between the two.
From my years of experience, too much good can be a bad thing.
Too much help can make people too weak to help themselves. So you can hurt someone by helping them too much. You can also help people by hurting them, giving them conflict or adversity can help people grow. It can help make them think, and sharpen their wit. Iron sharpens iron after all, so find a sparring partner in a domain you want to compete in, and become better.
People can believe that they are doing things, but instead are corrupted by their noble cause. This is called Noble Cause Corruption, when people start doing lesser evils to justify greater good. Eventually the Greater Good is littered with Great Evil that it causes more harm than good.
The over ton window
You can go further to apply this to other aspects of life such as politics.
The Overton window can be applied to public appeal and the idea of centrism or populism between to possible paths to two issues.
The farther your outside the edges, the more radical the idea, claim, or policy.
For instance, being communist/Fascist in a capitalistic democracy is a radical view.
If you are able to move the focus of a conversation to inch it towards your direction, then you will control the eventual outcome of dialogue. Every inch can be a mile, in a slippery slope to your victory.
Balance is fluid
However, I do believe that there is a large take away from all of this Golden Mean, middle path, stuff.
Something that can help anyone realize that there is a balance. A perfect balance, as all things should be.
All things are connected.
As you balance one thing, you might imbalance another. So keep that in mind, that Balance is an everchanging thing.
In engineering and fluid dynamics, there is the idea of Le Chatlier’s principle. Where two bodies of water, connected, will try to find it’s level.
This concept of balance is a universal truth. Something is driving us towards and away from balance.
Yet Balance exists.
I made up this term ‘Golden Balance’ to take these above ideas that I had, and make it into a new idea. A balance within balance.
As the universe tries to find balance, between order and chaos.
I would suggest that there is a balance between that duality. A balance between being balanced and imbalanced.
I believe that there is a proper use of both order and chaos. That neither is inherently evil, only an excess is bad. So we can find the proper balance between it all, we can all benefit from it.
The right amount of push and pull. Enough comfort and foundation, but not too much that you’re petrified, stagnated, or frozen. Enough chaos and stress, but not too much that you end up doing more harm and destruction.
This, I dub the Golden Balance. A middle path for the middle paths.
I’m sort of mumbling and rambling my thoughts on this, definitely not the most refined work.
And I hope this article can help you find the thing you need balance in.
Whether that is your diet, your exercise, your health, your profession, your physical prowess, your familial life, or work-life balance. I hope you can find a happy medium that fits what you want.
I hope my invention of a new word or term helps you remember all that I’ve written here. All that is about balance. You see, there is a great power in inventing a word. Because a word means a specific thing, and so when referenced, you will think the thing that has the closest meaning.
As you live your life, I hope that the word ‘Golden Balance’ helps bring all of these ideas into your life.
Thank you for reading, I hope it helps, and remember
Words Mean Things