Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Finding my way to the golden mean


I don't know when or where I thought it, but I wrote it down on a slip of paper and shoved it in my pocket. I knew it mostly wasn't true, but why would I think it if there wasn't something in it?

Everything I don't love, I hate.

I am aware of Aristotle's thoughts on the golden mean, which is to say there is a rational path, virtuous, that lies between two extremes. So, for example, the middle way between stinginess and excess is the virtuous mean of generosity, or between cowardice and recklessness lies courage. But Aristotle was no fool. He understood this golden mean was not a mere balanced "center" or some kind of average of extremes. He understood that sometimes the rational, golden mean could lie much closer to one extreme than another. For instance, between the extremes of authoritarian fascism and anarchist utopia, the golden mean is, well, anarchist utopia.

And so with the question of Love and Hate, we must ask what is in the middle? Indifference? Liking? Bland tolerance? What is the golden mean here? Could it be love, or could it even be hate?

I like to think Aristotle would agree with me when I answer; 

It depends.

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