On Balance

| July 27, 2011

If a man finds that his nature tends or is disposed to one of these extremes…, he should turn back and improve, so as to walk in the way of good people, which is the right way. The right way is the mean in each group of dispositions common to humanity; namely, that disposition which is equally distant from the two extremes in its class, not being nearer to the one than to the other.

—Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

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If other people’s excesses reveal the bigot in us, they also reveal how intriguing and subtle the bigot is. There is nothing more telling, nothing more revealing of one’s own character and history and taste, than one’s reaction to other people’s excesses.

—Adam Phillips, On Balance

Man Balancing on Wire