Golden mean (philosophy)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, the golden mean is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency. For example courage, a virtue, if taken to excess would manifest as recklessness and if deficient as cowardice.

To the Greek mentality, it was an attribute of beauty. Both ancients and moderns realized that "there is a close association in mathematics between beauty and truth". The poet John Keats, in his Ode on a Grecian Urn, put it this way:

Beauty is truth, truth is beauty, that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

The Greeks believed there to be three 'ingredients' to beauty: symmetry, proportion, and harmony. This triad of principles infused their life. They were very much attuned to beauty as an object of love and something that was to be imitated and reproduced in their lives, architecture, Paideia and politics. They judged life by this mentality.

In Chinese philosophy, a similar concept, Doctrine of the Mean, was propounded by Confucius; Buddhist philosophy also includes the concept of the middle way.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Golden mean (philosophy)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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