Temperance is an act of courage, a challenge with oneself, to demonstrate the ability to tame drives and instincts. Capable of making us waste even the best qualities we possess. As a cardinal virtue, it is not easy to practice in such muscular times. Temperance is an antidote against the temptations that start from our soul and are then pushed by external solicitations.
The virtue of temperance, before Christianity, made it a lintel of its moral doctrine. It was already much discussed at the time of ancient Greek and Latin thought, by Aristotle and Cicero. And even then temperance was given an absolute value. The strength of a compass is to orient yourself in the universe of needs, appetites, and desires.
Distinguishing. That is by placing stakes not to be overcome in order not to become slaves to impulses and compulsions. Among these, you can certainly put the accumulations of objects and money. To which we have become accustomed to too much indifference, giving up the act of courage, the challenge towards ourselves.
Benefits of Temperance
In the new generations, temperance, when known, has a retro flavor. Not very interesting and stimulating in a world that is always in a hurry and has no desire to slow down. But if anything, only to screw up in the search for the satisfactions announced by the eternal present.
Yet it would be enough to be convinced that temperance, as we have described it, has energy capable of helping us to discern good from evil. To limit ourselves, to the point where evil is around the corner.
Temperance is decisive in regulating personal relationships
Thanks to this virtue we preserve for a long time the qualities of love that time naturally tends to wither. We endure without slipping into the frustration of defeat, people who are so distant from us in their nature, we do not succumb to the trap of an incontinent desire. Where desiring remains a wonderful thing, to be lived to the full, even with few limits.
An idea that was very clear to the ancients is enough, collected in this phrase of Hippocrates – All in moderation. Work, drink, sleep, eat, love. And temperance in this case synonymous with moderation is decisive in giving breath to politics, as – the art of the possible – and therefore of constructive mediation, not of compromise on the downside.
Politics is a hard struggle, a vital confrontation, it requires means and does not exclude violence, but it can become a prisoner of the delusion of the omnipotence of the man who has conquered power. And he becomes a slave to it, like any, exaggerated appetite. To the point of having to be treated with only one really effective medicine, temperance.