October 26th, 2007
|11:56 am - Walking the Path Again: Virtues (moderation)|
In reviewing the virtue of moderation last night, I noticed something interesting: I had trouble really defining it, cosmologically.
Now, I have no trouble understanding many of the other virtues from a cosmological standpoint: integrity is about the maintenance of relationships, piety is about reaffirming (or recreating) the cosmos, perseverance is about drive toward what is right, and hospitality is the central aspect of our ritual work.
I have spent a lot of time in these essays discussing how each of these virtues fits the Rta (or the orlog). I am a bit curious as to why I didn't relate moderation to the Rta as quickly as I have the others. I am feeling very much, at this point, like I have missed a key of moderation, a particular point that will cause me to see the Rta in this virtue.
So far, I think about it, basically, "as creating the fertile ground from which things can grow." There's a sense of quiet excellence that is formed from moderation, one that shines more brightly and more enduringly than the fast-burning excellence that lacks a long-range plan. Moderation creates a position from which things may grow healthfully, rather than recklessly.
I am not sure I like my moderation essay. I need to think more about how moderation affects the cosmos, and how the cosmos exhibits moderation, before I can say that I'm comfortable with the thoughts expressed in the essay.
Perhaps moderation, to me, is a synthesis between the chaos of potential and the ordering of the cosmos. It is maintainable, focuses on the ordinary, and creates excellence from a strong, supported place.
"Sail the main course, sail it in a simple, sturdy craft.
Keep her well stocked with short stories and long laughs;
Fast enough to get there, but slow enough to see,
Moderation seems to be the key!"
-Jimmy Buffett, "Barometer Soup"
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Music: "Brand New Country Star", - JB
Well, the "Nine Virtues" are--for all intents and purposes--a Neopagan conceit, so I wouldn't expect that they all map onto Paleo-IE cosmological concepts...but...
I think it's easy to miss the forest for the trees. Effectively, moderation IS rta.
Unfortunately, that's a particularly problematic stance: anything that is "right" with the cosmos is Rta. Piety certainly is, as is hospitality. . . and on and on.
Calling moderation Rta rather than seeing it as a part of Rta (while saying that other things affect the rta or are parts of the whole) won't fit the context.
Rather than seeing the forest populated with trees, what you're suggesting is more like calling every tree a forest.
|Date:||October 26th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC)|| |
To me, moderation isn't the "not too much" of Aristotle. It's "exactly the right amount at exactly the right time," which is a slightly different concept. It comes from wisdom and understanding of the world and the nature of things.
In the cosmos, this idea of moderation might be seen in the physical laws of the place and how life fits into them. We have evolved to match our circumstances. We don't match perfectly the way that a puddle perfectly fits the hole it's in, but through natural selection we come closer to it. Of course the universe is living, breathing, and changing, so it's a moving target :-)
Ain't sayin' it's Truth, but it makes more sense to me that old Aristotle on the matter.
Indeed. I read a great article on moderation by a Benedictine monk who indicated that moderation was very much "Do ordinary things well. Pay attention to details. Even celebrate the ordinary."
I agree with your general assertion there: it's certainly not "not too much," but "exactly right." I have been thinking about it (since this post) with virtues like vision and wisdom, really. I also like this concept of moderation forming the sort of "ordering" power on the fertile creativity that we experience, giving it the room and the stability it needs to grow.
I need to think more about how moderation affects the cosmos, and how the cosmos exhibits moderation...
I don't know that the cosmos does. Moderation is a condition valued by inhabitants of the cosmos who rely on it for their survival. For instance, the cosmos cares not one whit what percentage of Earth's atmosphere is oxygen and what percentage is carbon dioxide or methane. We, however, have a keen interest in keeping those levels pretty close to where they are right now.
Moderation is key for the continued functioning of systems. Systems exist to perform a particular function under particular conditions. If a bicycle has either too many or too few teeth on a gear, the bike won't work. It has to be just right. If it is, the bike will function...unless it's in an environment where the ambient temperature is 3000 degrees F, in which case it doesn't matter how well the gears are engineered.
We see this balance at play in every ecosystem--number of predators, of prey, amount of food for the prey, parasites that attack one or another of any of these...they all have to be in perfect balance for the system to continue. But if something changes, it's no harm to the cosmos. The system will fail, disintigrate, and another, more adapted one will rise in its place. The cosmos doesn't need moderation; those who wish to remain a functioning part of it do.
Interesting. Is moderation, then, just balance by another name? I'm not sure it is.
I do wonder about the idea that the cosmos doesn't need moderation. The cosmos, speaking purely theologically here, does need things in order to maintain it: the act of sacrifice must be carried out (this is a particularly important part of maintaining the cosmos), etc. We have an effect on the cosmos, which in turn has an effect on us.
I think you're speaking scientifically about it, and I'm thinking purely cosmically about it. I agree that we won't affect the cosmos if things go out of balance, scientifically, but if we go out of balance theologically, we can seriously break things.
I'm not sure we're at odds, but I think we're speaking in different languages about the same ideas.
You can steal any of 'em you want, or pass 'em around or whatever. Most are blurry, but there's some good ones in there.
Oh, and I meant to ask you...is there a differnt meaning behing robe colours?
No; I just grabbed my black one that night. Really, no other reason than I don't wear it often, it was Samhain, and my white one was dirty. :)
Fair enough! I was just curious.
Oh, and would you happen to know what the Outdwellers part was, or have it somewhere? I was intrigued by that part and kinda wanted to look it over more.