What follows is an enterprise that only the most anal and beard-stroking of smoking-jacketted social software enthusiasts could possibly enjoy. While I was writing it I could almost feel myself rocking backwards and forwards in my leatherette chair with quiet but insistent mirth while muttering to myself, “Quite so! Quite so!”. I’m indulging in that particular depth of humour that has analogues in all the trades and professions. I am gaining pleasure from the equivalent of jokes about double-entry book-keeping.
For some reason best known to myself, I’ve been digging around for quotes about ‘moderation’ (in the sense of being a moderate drinker). More particularly I’ve been looking for quotes that take on an entertaining or strangely pertinent double-meanings when you pretend that they’re actually about the moderation of online community spaces. Ho ho ho! Do you see what I did there? Two meanings, with one word! Oh the decadent ecstasy of language! I may die!
Anyway – I’ve found the whole enterprise highly entertaining, which is almost certainly an indication that I should be upstairs at my neighbour’s late-night party rather than down here quietly bitching about the noise they’re making while tapping frantically at my little laptop… But given that I’m not likely to be leaving my flat any time soon (or sleeping, for that matter) here are a few of my favourites:
“The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.” Aristotle
“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” Oscar Wilder
“To go beyond the bounds of moderation is to outrage humanity.” Blaise Pascal
“The heart is great which shows moderation in the midst of prosperity.” Seneca
“Moderation is the inseparable companion of wisdom, but with it genius has not even a nodding acquaintance.” Charles Caleb Colton
“Exactness and neatness in moderation is a virtue, but carried to extremes narrows the mind.” Francois F⁄Nelon†
“If moderation is a fault, then indifference is a crime.” Georg C. Lichtenberg†
“Only action gives life strength, only moderation gives it charm.” Jean Paul
“Out of moderation a pure happiness springs.” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe†
“Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.” W. Somerset Maugham
“Wisdom hath her excesses, and no less need of moderation than folly.” Michel Eyquem De Montaigne
I could go on all day… But I won’t because if I did so, none of you would ever come back. I hope you’ve found it at least a little illuminating and enjoyable. God knows you could all do with a little culture every now and then… Anyway, I’ll end with my favourite quote of the lot – to be delivered with a rueful complicity smile and a bit of an eye-roll towards its author, Saint Augustine, who (clearly after looking after barbelith for more than a couple of hours – was heard to remark (with a sigh?):
“Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.”