As BALANCE is my WORD for the year, here are a few more thoughts on the subject.
According to Aristotle, moral behaviour requires finding the right balance between the extremes of doing or feeling too much or too little. Courage, for instance, is a balance between cowardice (too much fear) and foolhardiness (too little fear). The superior man cultivates a friendly atmosphere, without being weak. He stands erect in the middle, without inclining to either side.
In practice, this means that when we find ourselves in an argument with someone, we should try to look at the problem from their point of view as well as our own. It doesn’t mean that we should weakly submit to their argument, but neither does it mean that we should try to force our argument upon them.
Unfortunately in today’s society, taking a stand or going to extremes is often glorified, while “sitting on the fence” or making compromises often have negative connotations attached to them, as if they somehow imply a weakness in character.
From our leaders we hear statements such as “you’re either with us or against us”. The problem with this sort of extreme statement is that rather than bringing people closer together, it pushes them further apart. I wonder how many of the conflicts in the world today could have been averted if our leaders better understood the art of compromise.
In December 2006 while visiting Kenya, Jessen and I crossed the equator. We went back and forth several times just for the fun of it and then balanced in the middle.