Philosophers, past and present, have put forward many theories regarding ethics and morality. One of these theories is called the “Doctrine of the Mean”. This theory has been put forward by two of the greatest social thinkers; Confucius and Aristotle. Both these thinkers call for an individual to adopt the middle ground i.e. the mean while choosing between two extremes.
I strongly agree with this doctrine and try to follow it as much as possible in my life. The reason behind adopting it is very simple. In life we are often faced with two extremes, and it is better to adopt the middle ground. I will quote a few examples from my personal life which would highlight why it is useful. Whenever I have money to spend, I do not spend all of them at once nor do I spend it on things which I have no use of. I spend the money on things which I truly need while giving some money to the needy as well. It helps save me from being too extravagant and miser. The middle ground is buying the necessary goods while also taking care of the needy.
Another aspect where I follow the doctrine is partying. Too much alcohol while partying would definitely impair my judgement. On the other hand, not opting to take a single sip of alcohol would seem rude to the host or even result in my ostracization from the social group. Again, I adopt the middle group wherein I opt to drink the ideal amount of alcohol.
Whenever I feel that I am about to slip towards one extreme, I immediately have a break and start self-reflecting. I start to weigh the pros and cons of my action and try to find a way to balance them. Usually, this period of self-reflection helps me to find the middle ground.
Urmson, J. O. (1973). Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean. American Philosophical Quarterly, 10(3), 223-230.
Hardie, W. F. R. (1964, January). Aristotle’s Doctrine That Virtue Is a” Mean”. In Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Vol. 65, pp. 183-204). Aristotelian Society, Wiley.