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May 20, 2019 22:19:47

Virtue turns to vice

by @jasonleow | 243 words | 285🔥 | 323💌

Jason Leow

Current day streak: 285🔥
Total posts: 323💌
Total words: 145879 (583 pages 📄)

Any virtue pursued single-mindedly to the extreme will always end up being a vice.


Courage brought to extreme turns into recklessness.

Too nice and you get taken advantage of.

Too much thrift turns into hoarding.

Kindness into softness.

Individualism into selfishness.

Deep thought into indecision.

Patience into stagnation.

Play into hedonism.

Power into corruption.


Virtue can turn into vice. Vice can become virtue. Like yin and yang, ever-flowing, each containing the seed of the other. There's no black and white here. Only a infinitude of grey shades.


One way to counter this, is that virtues work better in pairs, or networked as a group, to keep one another in check. Too much thrift leads to hoarding, but tempered with purpose, thrift gets spent towards an end. Play and pleasure turns to hedonism, but kept in check by moderation, pleasure gets to be savoured without its debilitating effects. Individualism is empowering and promotes personal responsibility and agency, but too much leads to selfishness, which can be kept in control by service to others. Virtues work better as a package than a stand-alone deal.


So the next time someone peddles a virtue as the next new and shiny thing to success, beauty, happiness, or all of the above (as most business/self-improvement articles do these days), be careful. Be very discerning. Subject it to scrutiny. Contextualise what's useful to your situation, discard the rest. Taken too literally, it might be just another path to vice.

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