Aurea mediocritas restated in a Chinese fashion

You all know the phrase coined by the Roman poet Q. Horatius Flaccus or Horace (+8 BC) aurea mediocritas which refers to keeping a balance, applying the mean and reason to human activities so as to avoid the excesses that lead to vices.  This Stoic idea was very well suited to adaptation by early Christians.  Virtues are golden means between extremes.  For example, in Aristotelean terms, courage is the virtuous mean between foolhardiness and cowardice. 

When Fr. Matteo Ricci went to China in the 16th century as a missionary, he strove to show the Chinese intelligentia that there were many common points between Chinese culture and Western.  For example, he wrote a wonderful book On Friendship using only references to Greek and Latin philosophy and not Christian sources to show the Chinese how similar the Western ideal of friendship was to the Confucian.

I found a nice phrase on a favorite food blog I check into now and then called Cha Xiu Bao.  Enjoy this, and while you are over there, check out the really cool entry about 龍鬚麵 or Dragon Beard Noodles.  There is an unreal video of the Chinese champion making Dragon Beard Noodles by folding them to 4096 lengths… weirdly with the Russian Red Army Chorus performing Kalinka.  Nothing mediocre about that.  Strange, but I digress.

五色令人目盲;
五音令人耳聾;
五味令人口爽 ;
馳騁 田獵 ,令人心發狂;
難得之貨 ,令人行妨。
             老子《道德經》

Too much color blinds the eye,
Too much music deafens the ear,
Too much taste dulls the palate,
Too much play maddens the mind,
Too much desire tears the heart.

Taote Ching, Lao Tzu

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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