The goal of a modern human being is to achieve any desire, regardless of their current state. Being part of a productive society means that the individual who contributes to the society's economy and development is the one who produces and consumes. Therefore, their value could be estimated by the amount of resources they contribute and use. In the different media such as TV, magazines, books, movies, social networks, and even in casual conversations among individuals, there is talk of large producers, businessmen, kings, and even small consumer contributors who have only one common denominator: no limitation on their consumption. We find people who enjoy pleasure trips around the world, eating exquisite meat adorned with edible gold, adorning as many jewelry pieces on their bodies as possible. Limiting any of these offers can make us feel that something is wrong. If we have the possibility of acquiring and consuming, why shouldn't we? Under this commonly bombarded image, we understand that success is taking something until we no longer desire it, not until we need it. Companies promote their products to be consumed without any moderation. If you want it, you can have it. A business model that promotes its product as something that should be experienced only once is simply unimaginable. Technology items that change every year and very little between each generation do not admit that it is not necessary to acquire each one. Food is not presented as a good that should be enjoyed and moderated. Instead, it is presented as the richness that companies have to offer as much as a consumer desires. We live with unlimited offers of products and services that can be enjoyed in the same way without any moderation.
All of this sounds excellent; it is the real progress. Why would we need moderation? Moderation goes against the freedom of individuals. Isn't this the right for which political heroes died? Many nations emphasize their commitment to guaranteeing the freedom of their citizens. The United States repeats tirelessly that freedom is the only thing worth fighting for, the freedom to obtain anything you desire. Therefore, moderation is only an attack on achieving one of the most important rights of citizens. The reason is definitely on our side in this. How is it that more than 2,000 years ago, Aristotle presented moderation as a virtue that allows, according to him, the balance between excess and scarcity? It may be that moderation is an act of decision that results in a limitation, yes, but ultimately, it allows us to choose and, based on the ethics of Nicomachean, to fully enjoy what we have available. I do not think it is a coincidence that many contemporary social problems, such as addiction to social networks, the misinformation they generate, addictions to harmful substances, the isolation of the individual with respect to society, or eating disorders, are closely related to the lack of moderation, to the moderation of consumption in these offerings of the system. In contrast, other activities associated with healthy and productive practices, such as exercise and socialization, can be taken to an extreme and result in counterproductive effects. Moderation is the way to find balance in what can generate good for us. Taking moderation towards the spirit and desires, we observe that it is also necessary to temper our feelings and learn to feel. From a young age, we are not taught to educate our desire. We believe that loving passionately and unconditionally is the purest and truest way to love. But why not harmonize in this? Why not stop and use reason and spirit and not just desire? It is necessary to evaluate relationships, identify what we have temperance for, to be able to re-evaluate those connections that may be limiting our true enjoyment of life.
We must accept that moderation is not the same or clear among individuals. For example, moderation in sugar consumption is not the same for a person with diabetes as it is for a child. Not everyone likes the same type of food, and for one person, moderation in socializing may fall to the extreme of shyness while for another individual, it may be the extreme of imprudence, where the effects will not be the same. We must also take into account that an element that does not depend on individuals, available knowledge, also affects moderation. Discovered information affects how to measure or what to consider an act of moderation. Before the harmful effects of smoking were known, people may have considered consuming only one cigarette a day as a moderate attitude. After a series of investigations and obtaining more information about this resource, the truth about what is moderate to consume changed. It could have been considered moderate to consume one cigarette a day to zero in a lifetime. Although people knew about the necessity of moderation in food, exercise, and other healthy habits since classical times, today, thanks to scientific research, it is known that substances such as sugar, cigarettes, alcohol, exercise, or even social interdependence, in different measures, are harmful to humans.
Recognizing that moderation in everything that humans consume and can be is necessary, why don't we see constant reflection by individuals on temperance or, better yet, a promotion among the media that moderation is a virtue that healthy, informed, and powerful individuals can practice?
Plato considered moderation as harmony between reason, spirit, and desire. It is more than temperance; it is harmony. To exercise proper and full moderation in our enjoyment, it is necessary to have knowledge of ourselves, respect for the society of which we are a part, and reflection of the information we have access to. It is the true freedom with which we can decide not to take more than necessary, evaluate and enjoy life itself, and our interactions.
Translated from Spanish using GPT-3.5