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A teaching material in Ashikaga Gakko (Japan) to teach students the importance of moderation. The cup is inclined when it's empty. When you pour water into it, it goes upright. If you pour more water, it becomes inclined again.

Moderation is the process of eliminating or lessening extremes. It is used to ensure normality throughout the medium on which it is being conducted. Common uses of moderation include:


Ancient Greece[edit]

Moderation is also a principle of life. In ancient Greece, the temple of Apollo at Delphi bore the inscription Meden Agan (μηδὲν ἄγαν) - 'Nothing in excess'. Doing something "in moderation" means not doing it excessively. For instance, someone who moderates their food consumption tries to eat all food groups, but limits their intake of those that may cause deleterious effects to harmless levels.

According to the historian and sociologist of science Steven Shapin:[1]

From the pre-Socratics through the Hippocratic and Galenic corpus, and in the writings of such Stoic philosophers as Epictetus and Seneca, health was seen to flow from observing moderation – in exercise, in study, and in diet.


Everything in moderation, illustration of a proverb by Adriaen van de Venne, 1650s, National Museum in Warsaw

Similarly, in Christianity, moderationism is the position that drinking alcoholic beverages temperately is permissible, though drunkenness is forbidden (see Christianity and alcohol).

In the Book of Wisdom moderation is listed among the greatest virtues. [2]

Islam and Judaism[edit]

Wasat, also called wasatiyyah (Arabic: وسطية) is the Arabic word for best, middle, centered, balanced. In the Islamic context, it refers to the "middle way" or "moderation", a justly balanced way of life, avoiding extremes and experiencing things in moderation.[3][4][5] Moderate Muslims adhere to the concept of contextual relativism as a way to grasp meaning from the Quran.

The Jewish philosopher Maimonides, who was heavily influenced by Islamic and Aristotelian thought, also set forth moderation as an ideal within Judaism.[6]


Moderation is considered a key part of one's personal development in Chinese Taoist philosophy and religion and is one of the three jewels of Taoist thought. There is nothing that cannot be moderated including one's actions, one's desires and even one's thoughts. It is believed that by doing so one achieves a more natural state, faces less resistance in life and recognises one's limits.[7] Taken to the extreme, moderation is complex and can be difficult to not only accept, but also understand and implement. It can also be recursive in that one should moderate how much one moderates (i.e. to not be too worried about moderating everything or not to try too hard in finding a middle ground)

Moderation as a principle of Taoist philosophy turns up in all three of its main texts.


Moderation is a characteristic of the Swedish national psyche, more specifically described by the Swedish synonym Lagom.

In an internet forum a moderator is one who enforces the rules.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Steven Shapin, Never Pure: Historical Studies of Science as if It Was Produced by People with Bodies, Situated in Time, Space, Culture, and Society, and Struggling for Credibility and Authority, second edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010, 568 pages, page 245 (ISBN 978-0801894213).
  2. ^ "scripture".
  3. ^ Kamali, Mohammad Hashim (2015). The Middle Path of Moderation in Islam: The Qurʼānic Principle of Wasaṭiyyah. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190226831.
  4. ^ Moderation in Islam: In the Contex[t] of Muslim Community in Singapore : a Compilation of Working Papers Presented in the PERGAS Ulama Convention 2003, Held on 13th and 14th September 2003, which Carried the Theme of Moderation in Islam. PERGAS. 2004. ISBN 9789810510329.
  5. ^ Hashem, Ahmad Omar (1999). Moderation in Islam. United Printing Publishing and Distributing. p. 177.
  6. ^ Saks, Jeffrey. "The Extremes Are More Consistent But Absurd." Tradition Online. 2021. 1 February 2022.
  7. ^ "Taoist Ethics".

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of moderation at Wiktionary