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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:
- Ensuring consistency and accuracy in the marking of student assessments.
- A moderator may remove unsuitable contributions from the website, forum or IRC channel they represent in accordance with their moderation system.
- A more proactive nuance is found in the Methodist church's use of the term for the heads of its conferences.
- A neutron moderator is used to slow down neutrons in a nuclear reactor.
- A way of life emphasizing perfect amounts of everything, not indulging in too much of one thing, hence moderation.
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.
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.
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, ones desires and even thoughts. It is believed that by doing so one achieves a more natural state, faces less resistance in life and recognises one's limits. 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.
- 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).
- The dictionary definition of moderation at Wiktionary