Saying #1037



Excess or moderation — Confused Confucius answers his own question #17

It is easy for a saying to masquerade as a question. Answers are much harder to extract from the ether… but it must be done.

Question #17 Why do so many of our troubles seem to stem from excess when everyone knows about moderation?

After one beer it is fine to have another.

After two beers it is time to stop, but the third one is there beckoning.

The fourth beer is inevitable.

And so it goes with most things.

Many years ago at a braai in Zimbabwe the Castle lager was flowing along nicely as thunder clouds built unnoticed.

Suddenly a fierce storm broke sending everyone scrambling for cover. It passed as quickly as it had arrived leaving 15mm of rainfall in its wake. Soon the damp air was filled with termites, alates flying clumsily around to secure a mate and found a new colony.

On the lawn a bullfrog was gorging himself.

He ate termites incessantly, some reflex forcing him to lunge at the nearest insect even though he was literally full of them. As he gaped to snare another so two or more escaped.

His was a cartoon of gluttony, a warty blob stuffing wildly. Except his excess had a purpose for alates are rare and full of nutrition. They are carrying fat and nutrients to lay eggs and tend a nascent colony long enough to build a fungus garden. The frog was making the most of a once a year bonanza.

And back in the day human beings were the same.

We gorged on the rare occasions when we could because we were pretty hungry most of the time. Today we have food a plenty and have trouble turning off the gorging gene. Instead its powerful drive has leaked out into everything else we do.

Your shout.

Travel well,

Confused Confucius