Extremism is not healthy for society

by Katie Smith

The Golden Mean is an idea from the Greek philosopher Aristotle. This philosophy states that we should live in moderation, sticking to the middle between two extremes. It runs tangent with the saying “too much of anything is a bad thing.” 

Humanity has come up with so many words of wisdom warning us of the same thing, and yet we don’t listen. Life feels so polarized, and the signs are everywhere. We have failed to keep a balance between our extremes, and now we live in a life where everything is boxed in and exclusive.  

Politics in America is the first example. If you take one look at the news there seems to be no middle ground anymore. People segregate themselves to one side: red or blue. 

It’s not just in politics, though. People take things to extremes in so many other ways. 

Work culture is becoming a fight over polarization, too. The discourse between older generations and Gen Z is a testimony to that. I’ve heard with my own ears that gen Z doesn’t want to work, and it always comes from someone from an older generation. Meanwhile, I hear from Gen Z that they don’t want to work a job where they waste their life away in a career where they “make a dime while their boss makes a dollar.” 

There’s no pause to try and create a balance between the two. No one stops to listen to each opposing side and try and make things work for everyone.  

It’s tiring to live like this, but the biggest consequence I see is losing the ability to compromise and listen to the other side. By not compromising, we create ingroups within our society that only fight, and conflict with no resolution only creates a deeper divide. 

If we continue down this road of extremes, we accept a win-lose mindset. Things shouldn’t be like that. One side of the argument shouldn’t have to lose for the other side to win.  

If we want to do better and create a society that isn’t at war with itself, we need to try and keep everything in moderation. Working with the Golden Mean means working together to keep balance. 

This can be a unifying thing if we let it, but it takes patience and effort. It may just be me being optimistic, but there isn’t an issue that can’t be resolved in a way where everyone is happy.  

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