When I was hanging out with Ryan Holiday last Monday, I asked him about the Stoic virtues he’s currently writing about. I admitted that in the abstract, I didn’t find virtues all that helpful to me in my work! It often feels like vices — like envy or anger — are more motivating and bring about better ideas. (My books, even though they’re fairly positive, are often written out of a negative approach that’s fueled by my disgust with the world.)
Ryan brought up Aristotle’s “Doctrine of the Mean,” the idea that virtue is located in the middle of two vices. Each virtue is “a golden mean” between deficiency and excess. A path between two extremes. (Confucius and others wrote about this, too.)
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