How much is too much of a good thing?

2020-06-17 @Lifestyle

I often wonder, when does too much of a good thing turn into abuse? When does that abuse become harmful?

You might ask if I’m not being overpresumptuous. Too much of a good thing?

I’ve not the desire to frame this scientifically, but insofar as any domain I care to observe, empirical evidence is suggestive of it.

Too much water consumption they say renders bodily ill. Although I’ve yet to know of such a case personally, I suspect the said amount to far surpass what most of us intake.

I’m no athlete, yet consume between three to four liters per day without any felt or known consequence. Unless you count that inconvenience of being ever enslaved to the lavatory day and night. That one is a bummer …

Concerning most humans, I would sooner fear insufficient hydration. I know of no shortage of cases that drink less water throughout the entirety of the day than I do before 9AM.

Too much of most nutritional elements probably renders some variation of harm.

As does too much of most physical stressors that benefit in managed quantities. Hormetic stressors is the term, and there’s a point in Hormesis where any further increase can, shall we say, break us. I’ll call this Hormetic overdose.

Too much oxygen, in likelihood, renders harm. Except our body performs an exceptional duty of regulating that intake. Save for artificial means, I cannot fathom of a way to inhale too much for our own good.

But I’m not here to further ruffle among this physio-nutritional conundrum. Of greater interest to me is the philosophical question: where does too much of a good thing, of a pleasureful thing, of an indulgence, become a malice? And is one of that kind of abuse preferable to another?

Alas, across most mechanisms not strictly vital for our subsistence, contrary to the case of oxygen intake, the body is not the commanding officer. It’s our capricious, villainous, superior mind that takes the reigns.

The mind, unless preempted, is abysmal at regulating abuse from too much of a pleasure. Or so I deem, for I find better to be skeptical of that conniving creature than let it act with impunity.

I abuse too much reading: too much philosophy, too much poetry, too much antiquated prose, having noticed certain traces of side-effects:

Neither should I think it good, when, by reason of a solitary and melancholic complexion, he is discovered to be overmuch addicted to his book, to nourish that humour in him; for that renders him unfit for civil conversation, and diverts him from better employments. [Montaigne]

All the better if I could call this form of learning judicious. I’m afraid, however, that I’ve a sneaky tendency to place disproportionally greater weight precisely on those planks supportive of my humble foundation.

More so, intuition suggests that these ultimate ten percent produced little in the respective stock of discovery, creativity or flow. Intuition is a strong arbitrator in these matters.

I abuse language, appealing to antiquated English. Unless I override control, this will probably one day fuse with Middle-English (or something to the likes of Elvish). With Russian, I overload and occasionally fabricate words, although this communication otherwise bears more or less a semblance to human tongue. Were I to speak Latin, it would likely infest my whole speech. Hormetic overdose.

I’m dangerously impressionable with language:

That eloquence prejudices the subject it would advance, that [otherwise] wholly attracts us to itself. [Montaigne]


And as in our outward habit, ‘tis a ridiculous effeminacy to distinguish ourselves by a particular and unusual garb or fashion; so in language, to study new phrases, and to affect words that are not of current use, proceeds from a puerile and scholastic ambition. [Montaigne]

If only I were to heed ancient guidance.

Too much caffeine begins to irritate my nervous system rather than stimulate, something I’m asserting at this very instant.

Music over too extended a period desensitizes me from the appreciation I would otherwise derive from it. This also I’m perceiving real time, having spent too much of the day in the delight of Bach’s Harpsichord Concertos or the Organ compositions.

Too long of continuous writing causes ideas to saturate. Naturally, that period can vary from fifteen minutes (enough to write a limerick) to ten hours or more across individuals.

There are pleasantries, as they are called, that cease to render benefit from a point as close to null as I can conceive. I hear proclaimed that the body requires a certain amount of sugar, this usually from individuals at dangerously high levels of the narcotic.

As far as I know, the body doesn’t even require carbohydrates, although polarity on the matter can rage battlefields. In any case, be it that I’m fatally misled, I don’t hear of too many insufficient sugar diagnoses; only the contrary.

I would say that I’m fortunate to avoid Hormetic overdose across the ever-vicious mobile communication, television, media or video games. No, not fortunate, nor does it stem from discipline. Rather, I’ve come to relate to these mediums with a visceral sort of derision.

In fact, I find it of far greater ease to eliminate such a liability entirely, rather than maintain it within some notion of a healthy dosage. This coping mechanism is not unheard of … and not strictly among recovering raging alcoholics.

Concerning the various forms of vice that plague our population, I know of few people with the fortitude to respect the said threshold. They surely exist, but of such small minority that I suspect the terms ‘everyone’ and ‘people’, as we hear across arguments, have ceased to apply to this group.

Questions, comments? Connect.