How many times have you heard someone say, “Moderation in all things“, “Take everything in moderation”, or “X is fine, but in moderation”? Replace X with anything you like: food, alcohol, exercise, sleep, etc. I will now prove to you why this statement is completely meaningless.
This statement is what logicians call a tautology. It is obviously true, and therefore saying it is of no value. I will be using some logical syntax, but even if you ignore the equations and can reason a little bit with the text, you should understand.
Here is our statement:
moderation ⇔ good
Let us look at the definition of moderation:
moderation: n. the avoidance of excess or extremes.
In short, it means “not too much nor too little”.
¬(too-much ∨ too-little) ⇔ good
Okay, so what does “too much” mean?
too much: an intolerable, impossible, or exhausting situation or experience : the effort proved too much for her.
So X is “too much” right when having more X becomes bad, a threshold. Not surprisingly, the same applies in reverse for “too little”. X is “too little” right when having less of X becomes bad.
¬(bad ∨ bad) ⇔ good
We consolidate the identical disjunction.
¬bad ⇔ good
Do I really need to explain this step?
good ⇔ good
Add to this the fact that the too-much and too-little thresholds are completely arbitrary and subjective and, therefore, completely different for each person. What I consider to be too much work / sex / fishing / alcohol / television / marijuana / food / running / salt / sleep / volume is not going to be what you consider to be too much.
My point is simply this: the next time the words “in moderation” are about to come out of your mouth in relation to quantity of consumption or activity, stop and ask yourself if a statement as silly as “What’s bad isn’t good!” would enhance the conversation.