When a person wishes to move from an ordinary life to a more Stoic life, there will be others who may tell you it that you will be boring, if you go too much into the Stoic mindset. Stoics are thought on by the general public to be the people who don’t do anything interesting and in fact have a grim or humourless approach to life.
This is far from the truth, the Stoic in fact take pleasure in things that are by Nature pleasurable. Dining on tasty food and drink, engaging in things that bring enjoyment, these are things that the Stoic would indulge in, at every time as is likely to occur. The proviso though, and this is what may lead to this misconception, is that the Stoic will not indulge in these things to excess, but will do them in moderation, not too little, but never too much.
Those who over-indulge will more likely go beyond what Nature would give, and so may be responsible for possible dire consequences. Drinking, eating, partying, these are fun things, yes, but over-indulging in any of them can bring troubles. Excess weight can bring disease, with too much alcohol, drunkenness and mis-speaking or doing unwanted things, as well as health risks also may occur.
Moderation will be the Stoic’s catchword, taking part in, but not over-indulging in is the way go. With excess in many things, bad results can occur – people may overspend on their latest obsession with material goods – clothes, music, housing decorations, all manner of things. Having moderation in all of these things will bring you a pleasant life, with nothing going overboard. It will also guard against going in the opposite, and not having enough of those things.
Suffering from lack of necessary things is never going to help a person to do the best they can. Lack of food and drink leads to weakness and inability, a lack of enough shelter the same. An expensive record collection may lead to having so many songs that the person will never have enough time to listen to them all. The same may apply to books too, or cars, clothes, decorating, in much, there may be little – not enough time to enjoy them, because the getting of them is time consuming, perhaps.
Moderation is valuable, because the moderate life is one where you can concentrate on the best and most appropriate things, sharing perhaps with others, all enjoying the good things, but not overindulging, because then things can go wrong, and nobody, surely would want that, not if they thought properly about it. There is much to be enjoyed, if you look to finding your pleasures in simple things in life!
Living the Stoic life is does definitely not mean living a boring life, but a simpler life, but as Seneca said two thousand or so years ago “Philosophy calls for plain living, not for penance…our lives should observe a happy medium between the ways of the sage and the ways of the world at large.”
These are my thoughts about moderation in the Stoic life, I would appreciate reading your thoughts about this, if you would like to leave a comment here.