The eyes and mind of sensibility.

Posts tagged “Aristotle

The Scales of Life

Mottos are the slogans to our life.  They advertise the direction we plan to live our lives by, whether it be a representation of the morals we believe in or the elements that we find important in order to move in a successful direction for the future.

A way to determine what motto we closely associate ourselves with is by listening to the advice we provide to others.

In a recent outing with a close friend of mine, we discussed the difference between an individual’s public and private life.  She asked my viewpoint on the distinction, and where I would personally draw the line between information about my personal life that I share with others versus the information that I prefer to keep to myself.  I explained to her that the best thing you can do in life is to maintain balance.

As I explained to her this perspective, I realized that the idea of “balance” is something I not only use as an advisory tool, but also a theory that I firmly stand by.

When considering the concept of balance, I told my friend that we cannot fanaticize over one specific extreme; being public or being private.  If we are too private, our social abilities go astray and our communication with the exterior world is nearly impossible.  Being overtly private does not enable an individual to find commonalities with others or seek the diverse opinions from people when needed.  For those that choose to be explicit and public with their life, they are prone to pushing people away.  Friends or even relatives may feel discomfort with the type of information you share or they feel that you put too much reliance on them for their counseling rather than seeking the answers to your personal problems on your own.

If we cannot choose one over the other, the next best option is to combine both into one balanced proportion.  We have the ability to share certain experiences and life troubles with the people we most rely on for their advice, while establishing a sense of independence by preserving the aspects of our life that should remain private and seeking resolutions on our own.  People will not see you as needy nor will they see you as a conceited know-it-all.

The idea of balance dates back to Aristotelian times.  The famous philosopher Aristotle had once presented the idea of “means.”  To summarize, a mean is ideally the philosophical term for balance.  For Aristotle, you must have the mean of the two extremes in order to properly represent a specific quality.  Choosing one side over the other would result in total chaos.

I appreciate the idea of balance because it can fit into almost any kind of situation or dilemma.

Being a student in the world of academia, there comes a time where we have to establish our priorities.  As a general rule, an individual’s education should always be a top priority.  However, at times, we see those students that are always hidden behind a textbook trapped in the learning realm, and then there are those who prefer setting the homework aside as they embrace a carefree lifestyle.  Neither option is an acceptable one.

Balance is the equivalent of well roundedness.  In the educational field, every student should strive to be academically savvy and socially involved.  It is not only important to focus on your studies and aim for the high grade, but it is also equally important to get involved in extracurricular activities while creating unforgettable memories with friends.  As soon as you begin your first year in high school, that is not only the time when your grades count the most, but it is also when the most important years of your life socially occur.  This continues into your college years as well.

Even prospective colleges, whether undergraduate or graduate, anticipate that students balance their academics and extracurricular activities. A student may have an outstanding 4.0 GPA, but if they fail to show social involvement within their school, an admissions board will not be able to identify whether you possess leadership abilities, social skills, or even a goal-driven attitude.  On the other hand, you may be able to prove your involvement, but if you cannot excel academically, then it is difficult to show whether or not you can handle the rigorous material that you will be subjected to if accepted.

The list goes on and on.  Whether it be your love life, your professional life, or even the food you chose to eat, the theory of balance should always come into consideration.

Think about it, remember the 2004 documentary entitled “Supersize Me” where Morgan Spurlock ate McDonalds every single day?  It seemed that whoever saw the film, found McDonalds unappealing after watching Spurlock gain an excessive amount of weight and suffer a number of health obstacles.

However, what people don’t realize is that this documentary focused on one extreme; living solely off of food from McDonalds.  Even if Spurlock ate at Burger King, In and Out, or Carl’s Jr. every day, the result would be the same.  It is the consequence of choosing an extreme.  We must all remember that moderation is key.

The theory of balance is a valuable and essential tool that should be added to the life survival guide.  Inexplicitly, our society takes advantage of the versatility of the idea behind balance.  Whether it be Aristotle’s theory of means within philosophy, the symbolic scales held by the lady of justice within law, or the effects of food within our system scientifically, it all leads to the consideration of equalizing two extremes.

In the end, each of us should consider living our lives based on this Aristotelian concept.  Not only should you take into account the idea of balance when making decisions or providing advice to someone, but also, think about the motto you stand by.  The slogan that represents the way you choose to live your life.  There is no right or wrong answer.  You know what is best for you.  Stand by what you feel will provide you the best life possible.  Subject people to your unique perspective, and be open to accepting the viewpoints of others.  A motto represents you, but it can also inspire others.  It does two jobs in one.  It’s balanced out.