Ancient Greeks: Plato on the Reaction to Excess

Ancient Greeks: Plato on the Reaction to Excess - Quotes | Ancient Greeks

Plato: Excess generally causes reaction, and produces a change…

Excess generally causes reaction,
and produces a change in the opposite direction,
whether it be in the seasons, or in individuals, or in governments.

~ Plato, The Republic

Plato, (born c. 428/427 bce—died c. 348/347 bce), ancient Greek philosopher, student of Socrates (c. 470–399 bce), teacher of Aristotle (384–322 bce), and founder of the Academy, best known as the author of philosophical works of unparalleled influence.

Building on the demonstration by Socrates that those regarded as experts in ethical matters did not have the understanding necessary for a good human life, Plato introduced the idea that their mistakes were due to their not engaging properly with a class of entities he called forms, chief examples of which were Justice, Beauty, and Equality.” ~ Encyclopaedia Britannica

READ MORE: Plato; Greek Philosopher | Encyclopaedia Britannica

Human nature has not changed over the millennia. The question is, do we learn from history?

The pendulum seeks balance. A reaction to excess that sends the pendulum swinging back is a saving grace.

That’s one of my thoughts. Care to share what you are thinking?

Ancient Greek Wisdom 

Written by
JoAnn Chateau
  • Plato’s philosophical point here has been expressed repeatedly in various forms throughout history from the Chinese principle of nature (i.e. Yin vs Yang), the Hindu and Buddhist spiritual concept of karma, and to the modern theory of causality. This obvious and convincing idea juxtaposed with the counter philosophy of so-called “western values” (i.e. Calvinism, the Protestant “work ethic,” Biblical literalism, capitalism, materialism, and other forms of self-serving moral justification) couldn’t be more stark. It’s as if the former values humility while the latter values assertiveness.

    • That is deep, Robert. It leads me to add maybe the former values balance instead of excess. Which then makes me think of the perverse aspects of humility and assertiveness: humiliation vs. aggression, which seem to be involved when worldly powers conquer the powerless.

JoAnn Chateau

Who’s Writing?

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She writes fiction about Chester, the Alpha Bichon -- with a dash of humor and a dab of Poli-Sci. Her views and insights are tinted by a former profession in Counseling, Christian theological studies, and training in Library and Information Science. Retired now, JoAnn enjoys the creative life.


Chester is a scruffy little Bichon dog, with a congenial Napoleon Complex, and stars in "The Chester Chronicles." He sometimes reports independent Canine News -- NO corporate treats accepted, NO corporate bias. Woof!

Graffiti Girl

Graffiti Girl (GG) is curator at She's progressive to the core, and easily blown away by serendipity and/or good food. (OK, GG is really JoAnn.) GG's posts signal that news or content from another website is a "must-see" and "must-remember."