“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle
I cannot help but wonder – how the world would change if the average citizen were educated on a philosophy of balance? I suspect that within a generation the vast majority of political, social, and cultural turmoil that plagues the civilized world would be dramatically reduced.
The world is beset by ideologies that progressively become more unable to see differing perspectives. While we could argue all day about which side is more right or wrong, the overall effect is one were our culture and country becomes less united (i.e. weaker) due to its inability to achieve understanding. It would greatly serve the individual, his community, and the country as a whole to seek balance.
First, we must understand what is meant by the word “balance”. Perhaps it evokes images of some white-bearded Kung Fu master or spiritual guru speaking to his students in endless proverbs and parables. They throw around phrases like “balance in all things” so often that it becomes a banality. This is unfortunate as much truth is hidden amongst the teachings we grow deaf to.
While it is important that such concepts carry a certain “mystique”, if you will, for our purposes, we are focused on understanding them in such ways that are conducive to positive, actionable change. As such, let us first dispel with the nebulous rhetoric and define balance.
The Nature of Balance
Balance is wisdom. It is the just application of action, tempered by intelligence and ethics. Even a cursory examination quickly reveals that it is a fundamental law of reality that underlines all aspects of creation. Transcendent truths are evident within the very fabric of reality – they can be found in everything from the mundane to the cosmic.
The Earth is perfectly balanced – it is set at just the right position in the solar system to support life. Anymore or less and we either get consumed in a fiery inferno or freeze into oblivion. Nature is perfectly balanced, predators and prey, flora and fauna, all play a dance of life and death which results in a finely-tuned ecosystem. Any form of technology, from smartphones to cars, must balance exact mechanical and electrical inputs to function. Every martial art stresses balance, from boxing to jiu-jitsu, in both theory and application. The most basic of human actions, walking, requires a staggering coordination of muscles that we struggle to replicate within robots. In other words, for just about anything to work, it requires a balance of conditions.
Of course, at this point you might say “That’s nice and all, but what the hell do I care?” A fair question. What we are focusing on here is not a physical balance of sorts, but a mental and spiritual one. A balance of perspectives, beliefs, emotions, and actions.
As such, to answer the proverbial “who the hell cares” question is that one should care because achieving balance leads one to a more fulfilling and prosperous life i.e. you will be happier and wealthier. This is not a new concept, and it has been brought up by some of the greatest minds in history repeatedly, should you question its intellectual or philosophical validity.
The Golden Mean
Every virtue has a balance, with too little or too much leading to a vice. For instance, let us take the celebrated trait of bravery. A vast amount of stories and legends center around it. It is the principal train fathers would try and instill in their sons in all but the most current of societies. But bravery is a balance. Too little of it, and a man is not a man at all, but a spineless coward. Too much of it, and he is no longer brave, he is reckless, foolish, and generally an idiot.
We all appreciate the virtue of kindness. If a person lacks friendliness, she is seen as unsympathetic, cold, cruel, or in the modern vernacular, a fucking bitch. Should she posses too much friendliness she is seen as a sycophant, a flatter, or a suck-up that has no loyalties. As seen in the chart above, this could be applied to literally every aspect of what one would consider part of a “good personality”. Like too much or too little of a good thing, extremes invite a corruption of the quality.
In a more practical light, imagine how a balanced view would affect your day to day life. A balanced view, when applied correctly, translates in to superior management of finances, relationships, health, priorities, and of course, emotions. Naturally, this is far easier said than done – achieving balance is a life long mission for the student to aspire to. Being on the path is a sign of a greater destiny, and a rising soul that seeks to become more than what they are. Do not concern yourself with the destination, merely focus on staying true to the path.
As we mature, we come to see that becoming better does not just benefit us personally, but those around us, and as a consequence, society as a whole. This does not mean we are some kind of charity, enabling parasites and losers through our great kindness. What is means is that the greater the person, the more he or she elevates those around them. The more individuals such a society can produce, the more its overall economic and cultural health rises as a consequence. The opposite is true as well, if a certain percentage of our children are raised foolishly, society will eventually pay for this sin many times over. A philosophy of balance is the key to making a country great again.
Man & Society
More important than the person is the greater community to which he contributes his talents to. For you see, society is a inflated reflection of the collection of individuals which make up its parts. A divided society is a doomed society. This malaise is not irreversible – but extremely difficult to correct. The failed education system of America, combined by an almost complete and total infiltration of left wing lunatics at institutions of higher learning, is an example of an unbalanced philosophy destabilizing a nation in the long term.
A societies fortune lies within the individuals that is is composed of. It will always have good and bad people within it, but the ratio can be drastically skewed depending on the steps its leaders take. If our children are brought up believing idiocies with no bearing in reality, or worldviews which promote the welfare or hostile cultures over its own, they will undoubtedly grow up to become detriments to their nation’s stability.
We are seeing this in real time within the United States, and it has created a political civil war to an extreme which has never been experienced since the actual civil war. It is only thanks to the counter-balancing forces of the right, as well as a little thing known as facts and logic, that the country avoided permanent disaster this election.
Still, there is no perspective in America. Liberals vs Conservatives, Science vs Religion, Whites vs Blacks, etc, – it goes on and on. We all can find a person who strongly identifies with one position while completely demonizing the opposite. Not just that, but the tribalistic tendencies grow with time. The divide widens to the point that a normally reasonable person is unable to think outside of their group’s established dogma. This is a dangerous problem, as it essentially devolves the nation into groups of obnoxious sheep.
Black and Blue
For instance, take the whole Black Lives Matter vs Blue Lives Matter situation. What we have here is two groups playing ideological cards that essentially force people into taking sides without being able to recognize the serious issues with their choice. Black Lives Matter was meant to be an organic movement to express the frustration African Americans had with the excessive force and discrimination their communities were enduring under the authorities. Almost every Black comedian, from Eddie Murphy to Dave Chappelle, has used the subjects of blacks and the police to address the issue through comedy. It is a volatile topic close to the heart of the black community. To say that there is no substantial correlation, or that is is not a real problem, is ignorantly dismissive of a considerable social ill.
Of course, what was (allegedly) intended for the movement has mutated into a cultural abomination – BLM is now for all intents and purposes a black supremacist organization; one tier below the KKK in their ignorance. As it stands, the only black lives that Black Lives Matter cares about are those that can be leveraged for political gain. The outrage culture which they thrive on has led them to value profitable passions over inconvenient facts.
When the issue of black on black crime is brought up, BLM is silent. When statistical facts show that the vast majority of violence on blacks is caused by other blacks, with a tiny fraction cause by the “evil white policeman”, there is no comment. When a black female cop is killed, there are no dramatic protests. It’s like dying of brain cancer but being more concerned with treating a common cold.
They then push the narrative, completely demonizing police as pigs, while mocking counter-movements as racist. BLM thrives on capturing the idealistic hearts of young people through the same old tricks politicians have been using since the dawn of civilization – how can you be against something called Black Lives Matter?
Do black lives not matter to you?
Are you a racist?
A huge portion of potential and legitimate criticism towards the group is deflected by the shield of cunning language. It’s surprising to see so many people are unable to separate a group called Black Lives Matter, from the idea that the lives of African Americans are of import on the grounds that they are human beings with unalienable rights. This level of extremism and unfiltered stupidity leads to a backlash, usually equal in its misguided fervor. Unsurprisingly, the opposite side which ends up committing the same mistakes.
The All Lives/Blue Lives Matter movement emerges, on the grounds that everyone’s life matters just as much. A sensible notion. Yet, despite whatever good intentions they had, its members are quickly forced into the opposite extreme out of cultural necessity. What starts off as an appreciation for the dangerous work law officers do everyday, risking their lives for the safety of the people, turns into police boot licking. What tries to become a more inclusive term ends up being even more divisive, with battle lines drawn between two sides.
The blue lives matter movement becomes unable to recognize any problems with cops or their treatment of certain groups. A cop could be shown on video using all manner of excessive force on a black man, then getting off with barely a slap on the wrist. Then, you will see a stout conservative, supposedly the bastion of reason and logic in America, do all manner of mental gymnastics, which would give any liberal competition, to arrive at the conclusion that the black man had it coming. Furthermore, they will claim cop killers deserve harsher punishments whilst also decrying affirmative action and hate crimes in the next breath. As if murdering a cop is somehow more evil that murdering an accountant. It seems the liberals do not hold the monopoly on double-think after all.
This is a prime example of a lack of balance. Regardless of which side is “worse”, they both end up committing the same mistakes and relegating themselves into narrow views that do not allow them to see the bigger picture. They do not comprehend that loving chocolate doesn’t have to mean hating vanilla. By immediately demonizing another side, we cannot have a real conversation on the issue. Instead, the other side is forced to defend and justify themselves. This results in nothing changing; the problem remains. This negatively affects every single one of us because our inability to address significant social problems lowers our quality of life overall. As with any similar conflict, as time passes and politics get more extreme, people become more unbalanced and increasingly unable to see the other side’s perspective.
The Enlightenment: 2nd Edition
Our educational system is an outdated relic, one suited to an industrial age which required worker bees repeating the same actions day in and day out until they retire at 50 with their suburban house and 2.5 kids. Why we still have it, and who is responsible for it, are “conspiracies” for another day. What matters is that it, along with the ideological garbage that is brainwashing our teenagers in high school and college, must change and soon. If America hopes to continue as the world’s preeminent nation then it must purge itself of the powers enslaving its population.
Imagine how different our country would be today if instead of all this inane behavior, we actually raised our children to value a balanced perspective. One that lets them consider ideas while not accepting them as gospel. One in which they are taught to see a bigger picture – even if that picture is not always “politically correct”. I believe, if implemented correctly, a majority of abhorrent and deceitful philosophies, like progressivism or Islam, would never have achieved the political power they hold today. This would be as such because they would have their emotions tempered by reason, and not be so easily seduced by pretty words like so often is the case today.
Of course, we will still have significant differences of opinion across a spectrum of issues, but that is not a bad thing. The difference, I think, would be that these views would be better understood by the opposition and arrived to in an intelligent manner. No more buying an ideology off the proverbial shelf without examining its contents. We would return to formal, respectful debate of old instead of the autistic yelling matches we have today. For an amusing example of this google any debate between Milo or Ben Shapiro and a feminist.
Interestingly enough, this tendency to insult the opposition into submission in lieu of facts has been a tactic so successful by the regressive left that they have grown unable to engage in a proper debate. When their standard racist/sexist/homophobe series of insults do not bring them swift victory, as they have grown accustomed to versus cuckservatives and beta males, they are at a loss with how to deal with the situation. They literally forgot how to argue.
While this phenomenon is unique to the left at the moment, it wasn’t long ago that it applied to the Christian Right. When faced with nuanced theological questions or complex social issues, they could not give a satisfactory answer when their standard “Well the Bible says…” was no longer capable of effectively addressing said problems. This is not to say that their views were wrong, but rather, that they had grown too complacent in their dominance. A lack of education of their own beliefs made them weak and impotent. This led to a significant loss of cultural power and is one of the main reasons why the left won the culture wars of old. History repeats itself however, as the left is experiencing now with the victory of President Donald Trump and his big basket of deplorables.
The lesson to learn is that, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, history proves that a paucity of intellectual balance leads to a lack of understanding. This mental scarcity then guides one to a disconnect with reality, which as we have shown through the examples above, will inevitably result in an inability to take the actions which your beliefs require. In short, there will be a loss of power. One could almost say that The Universe punishes such defective behavior.
It is not the goal of this article to describe what a Utopian Society of enlightened beings would be like, but merely to show how a philosophy of balance is conducive to such a state. However, one might misunderstand balance to mean that a person is “on the fence” about issues, unable to make a firm decision in any particular direction because it’s not a perfect 50/50. They would argue that balance leads to stagnation, and only through forceful direction will society improve.
Balance does not mean Inaction
The notion that to be a balanced person one must stand at the exact center of the political compass, or in the middle ground of any issue without choosing a side; a sort of infuriating neutrality, is simply false. Indeed, an inability to separate right from wrong or truth from lies, shows a lack of wisdom. Sometimes, an extreme imbalance must be corrected with an extreme response. The difference is that the extreme is temporary, with a re-centering once the action is completed.
A philosophy of balance does not mean you can’t draw a line in the sand, it means that line is drawn with a better discernment of the whys and hows that lead to such a decision. It doesn’t mean you must be a moderate on all issues, it means you understand the opposing viewpoint and this understanding elevates yours to a higher level.
A thorough understanding helps you combat opposing viewpoints more effectively, as you are able to relate to said views and comprehend their intentions while also pointing out were they err. Contrast this with conservatives and liberals of today, who are basically speaking two different languages that makes no sense to each other.
You will see in increasingly rare individuals that they are able to present a case for either side with startling effectiveness despite not being neutral. They are capable of seeing the pros and cons of both sides instead of only one. This leads to them being able to make a better case for their views because they have acquired enough wisdom to see the merits of the opposing view. It also leads to an intellectual appreciation of differing perspectives, and from this matrix of information do truly revolutionary ideas arise.
While some issues are truly black and white, many are not. The notion in politics that one side is completely right all the time and one is completely wrong all the time is so absurd it becomes difficult to understand intelligent people accepting this. This extends beyond politics, philosophy and religions to more abstract concepts. Often, there is a gray area where opposing forces are valid and necessary for the balance. In such instances, both sides must be properly understood and appreciated as they both contribute to the universal good. We may prefer either day or night, but we recognize that both are necessary.
How many individuals do you know are wise enough to see both sides of a controversial issue? Such an ability is the mark of a superior mind. Before we make demands for an enlightened society, we must begin with ourselves. Growing in wisdom never stops. The more we gain, the more balance we begin to have in how we view things. Notice how often the most zealous youths calm down in their later years, realizing that they did not know as much as they once thought. With age comes wisdom, as they say.
Yet, many do not grow in maturity after a certain point. It is up to us to push ourselves beyond the dogma of our tribes and see the greater world. Wisdom is earned, not magically bestowed at some arbitrary point in time. The fruits of wisdom is beyond any material prosperity, it brings about a spiritual peace that transcends any such base luxuries. The benefits gained by the individual are also enjoyed by those around him as he elevates them almost as a side effect. This is a cumulative phenomenon that benefits not only the individual, but his family, then his community, city, state, country, and eventually, the world. A philosophy of balance can change the world for the better, but first it must change us.
“As for me, all I know is that I know nothing” – Socrates