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#Moderation, Virtues in Free Fall

In excited times, in which screams and overtones cancel any possibility of true conversation, in which anger – more or less motivated – is a social pass-partout, in which aggression reigns, moderation is another virtue in free fall.

For Catholics, this ability to self-control is included among cardinal virtues, such as temperance. In etymology, these two words say the same thing: the ability to govern, regulate, contain one’s impulses within due limits. The ability to use prudence and measure, to act cautiously and sensibly, sense of time, and context.

Moderation is not cowardice, it is not weakness, it is not hypocrisy, it is not passive enslavement.

Quite the contrary. It requires a subtle and ready intelligence, in the sense of intuition and deep understanding, not only of oneself and one’s reactions, but above all of the emotional context in which one is involved. It is this emotional intelligence – historically more cultivated in women, and now being lost – that allows us to grasp an entire situation with lightning intuition, feel its vulnerabilities, pitfalls, but also the strengths, when we keep calm inner and clarity necessary to read thoroughly the behavior of others, and behave accordingly. It is self-control ability, educated over the years. That is not repression, mind you, but the ability to channel our reasons in a tight way, arguing in a concisely effective way. Avoiding blatant gestures, free insults, offensive phrases that one can regret. Therefore, avoiding to frustrate the importance and usefulness of one’s interpersonal relationships.

A person capable of moderation becomes the strong point of any relationship, in family life, in the work environment, between friends, in any context.

Instead, the progression, the exponential growth of aggression, which happens when everyone gets carried away by impulsivity, only leads to faster and deeper lacerations. If everyone cultivated moderation, the world would be better. Actually, it depends on the education, focused on improving self-control.

The “repressive” use that has been made of this type of education has led to a sort of putting these qualities on the index. Which, if chosen and cultivated by personal conviction, rather than by obligation or social censure, can prove to be maieutic to express the best of oneself, even in social and professional life.

Unfortunately, indulging impulsiveness, saying everything that passes through the mind without the slightest filter and control, is today considered a sign of freedom, spontaneity, passion, an inescapable right. Today there is a tendency to believe, evidently, even in talk shows or even in institutional contexts, that those who raise their voices end up being right, those who scream have more chances to be heard and impose themselves in a discussion or a debate. A conquest, even, for women. In reality, in both sexes, uncontrolled, untempered, unmodulated impulsiveness tends to be a bondage: it makes us succubus of our more humoral, more “automatic” part, more dominated by pre-rational archaic reflexes. In other words, it expresses a more rapid and violent stimulus-response reaction, the less one is trained in moderation.

Does it make sense to rediscover this ancient virtue? Yes, if every person perceives this moderation training as a higher form of freedom: which allows us to choose, from time to time, when what and how to say, and when to be silent, when to act and when to wait, when to move the effects and when to lighten them, actually increasing our ability to exist more incisively, softly and constructively together, in the world around us.

Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Aldo – Oh, if only more people understood that civil discussions that allow sound reasoning and common sense to be shared can accomplish so much more than irrational arguments peppered with anger and a “my way or the highway” attitude. Most importantly, through civility, both sides learn and grow – gaining respect for each other rather than each party walking out wounded and seeking to “get you next time.” I hope your message gets through to many. Thanks for your courage to hold a mirror up to this ugliness.

    • Thanks for your considerations.
      Unfortunately, these are bad habits often acquired since childhood, with parents who think they are respected by shouting orders. Children who grow up in a climate of verbal aggression, with constant screams, can make these habits their own or, they can even feel guilty of this situation, suffer from feelings of guilt and inferiority, feel “wrong”.
      Whoever screams is not really in control of himself, is someone who tends to lose control, can therefore be experienced as a fragile and insecure person, who threatens, but never goes to the consequences. It is therefore not a reliable and authoritative adult, it is not a point of reference. Before you scream one should take the time to understand. Often by understanding the causes, one can train oneself to see situations as problems to be solved together, talking and looking for a solution, rather than a culprit.
      Raising the voice, overlapping the interlocutor, interrupting him are all not only negative aspects from the point of view of education and respect, but make the conversation ineffective.
      Thanks Len for following me and always providing shareable

  2. Arguing, raising one’s voice wasn’t part of my family growing up. I owe that to my mother.
    Learning to communicate really is a lost art in many of our western cultures and even here in the Middle East it is taken a back seat to online activity where we are mostly communicating by sending a video, or photo, or just an emojis! Sitting around, telling stories, entertaining ourselves is also a lost art.
    Many marriages are lost to poor communication skills and overbearing egos. Sitting back with our mouths closed and really listening needs to be brought back.
    This is very well written Aldo and a very important topic!

    • Thanks for following my thoughts and for the comment.
      In fact, as you say, communicating virtually has not helped keep the education of moderation alive in communicating. As I often say to my grandchildren, one should not exceed in communicating through technology because it is a “silent communication” that does not even enrich the personal vocabulary, the command of language: short messages, a few faces or images and everything ends there !!
      Thanks again for following me.

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