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The Golden Mean: How To Balance the Extremism Within

April 27, 2009

figulus_goldenmeanNot to be extreme, in some area of life or another, is challenging.  Some of the most talented and charismatic people tend towards addiction and obsession, being driven by their passion and emotional connection to whatever it maybe – favorite team, career, home country, hobby or religion.  I’d like to talk about scientific and religious extremists, which tend to be in an eternal conflict over “who is right”, with both sides seemingly obsessed with their own ideologies.  Scientific extremists want us to blindly follow cold, rational science without any feeling, faith, Love, intuition, creativity, respect for the unknown or awe of supernatural.  Meanwhile, religious extremists want us to blindly follow dogma of glorified religious rules without questioning them or subjecting them to the reality of life experiences.  Both sides are equally rigid and incomplete in their thinking, neglecting Aristotle’s Golden Mean, which was well-explained by his mentor Plato, who says “If we disregard due proportion by giving anything what is too much for it; too much canvas to a boat, too much nutriment to a body, too much authority to a soul, the consequence is always shipwreck.”

The extremists of religion ask us not to use our brain or to try and improve or evolve “the system”, and not to question the “powers that be”; for what an embarrassment it would be should they be proven wrong or in any way appear fallible in front of those whom they command.  On the other side, the scientific method asks us not to use our hearts or believe in anything that cannot be studied in a controlled environment with a double-blind experiment.  Hence, ‘real world’ experiences and observations that don’t take place in a lab are deemed ‘non-scientific’ and therefore, can be dismissed as fallacious and inconsequential.

The True person is awake and does not do anything blindly.  He is the one who questions everything and remains open to everything – who uses life itself as the laboratory, conducting his own experiments and coming to his own conclusions based on experience and objective observation.  He who practices the Golden Mean has the will power to reserve judgment and the humility to avoid attachment to positions.  I believe that David Hawkins, author of Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior, is one such human being.  I have watched his seminars and read some of his works, although I have yet to complete Power vs. Force (it’s high on the list).  Hawkin’s says “Medicine had forgotten that it was an art, and that science was merely a tool of that art.” (Power vs. Force, Pg 43).  Likewise, I would say much of what is represented as modern day religion has lost the importance that the ancient texts, prophets and saints gave to the practice of verifying God and Nature through observation and discovery.  Thankfully, there are highly intelligent and emotionally sensitive people, like David Hawkins and Scott Peck, who are dedicating their lives to the re-integration of extremes and all other aspects of life into holistic thought systems.  In the old days, it was obvious to the great thinkers that everything is connected (All in One) and therefore, analyzing one part without consideration for its impact on all other parts, leads to incomplete results.  Today, given the fragmentation of our attention and hyper-specialization that modern society has promoted, I believe that we need to remember holistic principles, such as the Golden Mean, and strive foremost to create that sense of equilibrium within ourselves.

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