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The 'virtue' of the excesses

Monday January 17 2005 08:24 IST

By Karmayogi

The tendency to overdoing is present in all walks of life. Especially man tends to over-exercise himself in the pursuit of a virtue. Nature sets its face against excesses of any type. In innocuous things, excesses lead to fads.

In linguistic zeal, excesses create clich, platitudes or forms without content. In short, they organise superstition in the name of culture, religion, values, etc.

Thiruvalluvar warns against such a tendency, drawing a metaphor of peacock feathers. No cart, he says, can be overloaded without breaking its axle, even if the material is as light as peacock feathers.

Why does Man resort to excesses? After all, Man can utilise only what he is endowed with. The lawyer who has excellent evidence delivers it with pride. In the absence of such evidence, he fashions fine legal arguments and emphasises them.

Endowed with neither, he thumps the table. It is rare to be endowed with rich content. The outer form is easier to acquire.

Food, dress, furniture, memory, information, reading, oratory, glittering functions are some that are used for such ostentation. In our country, poverty causes the problem of hunger.

In the West, prosperity makes them eat, rather overeat. About a third of the population is believed to be obese. For the first generation that came out of poverty, eating is irresistible.

They believe more food in the stomach is better health. As a rule, every affectionate mother believes in overfeeding her children. A little education disabuses their minds. We are proud of our children reading books at five or six years that we read at twelve or thirteen years.

The first generation of good education superstitiously reposes its faith in extensive reading. It will certainly do good to below average children, not to kids educated very well. Such excessive reading will always tend to non-thinking reading material. The capacity to think will be the casualty.

There are those who are oblivious of what is happening around and often they become the victims of intrigues. Some are all ears and all eyes. They know the pulse of the city they are in.

Such people will become a striking success as businessmen, bank agents, political workers, and brokers of all types. It is good for those who aim at the penultimate goal, not those who are earmarked to the top post at a young age.

What is a virtue in the ordinary man becomes an obstacle for the rising star. The excesses of an extraordinary capacity are no virtue for him. It can deny him the career God beckons him to. Excellent memory raised so many people so high.

One endowed with a capacity for original thinking or one who is trained by meticulous education to turn out to be a great mind, will escape that Grace, lost in the power of memory or a plethora of facts, a misnomer for general knowledge. Excess is no virtue.
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