Thursday, June 7, 2012

A nexus of excess

It's hard to talk about excess without getting philosophical.  Many famous names have weighed in on the subject to various effect, some profound, some comic, and some downright inscrutable.

"Too much is never enough." David Bowie
Sounds bad now, but it was the 80's when he dropped that nugget, the decade of excess. (It even featured a band called INXS).  The thin white duke was just doing a promo for MTV (but I bet he meant it).

"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
I'm glad he left himself a loophole with that 'generally' because some don't turn around.  Some keep heading towards a cliff until they march -or get shoved- right off..

The poster boy of excess,
and his how-to manual.
"Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess." Oscar Wilde
The world's first celebrity fancy boy would've killed on twitter today.

"The chief beginning of evil is goodness in excess." Menander
I'd like to know if he came out with this before or after "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" did, 'cause somebody's ripping somebody off here.
"Sure, I did a lot of things in excess. But if you look at the core, the foundation of what I pursued, what red-blooded young American male in my position wouldn't?"  Charlie Sheen
The hordes of young success stories through the ages who didn't squander their positions and potential at the nearest whorehouse or drug dealer, that's who.  Oh, and face-planting into the floor in a drunken stupor does not constitute 'pursuing a foundation'.

"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom."  William Blake
So Charlie Sheen will eventually become Yoda?  Or... William is half-Blaked.

"There is moderation even in excess."  Benjamin Disraeli
Slippery fellow that Disraeli.  One of the cleverest politicians ever.

"I think I don't regret a single 'excess' of my responsive youth - I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn't embrace."  Henry James
Maybe that Disraeli had something there, excess in moderation.  But then it wouldn't be excess anymore, would it?  Damn philosophy, it's sneakier than politics!

"Use, do not abuse; neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy."  Voltaire
Oh, Voltaire.  No wonder we named the Volt after you, dude.  You're electric!

And what have learned from all these contradictory assertions?  Only that I have a penchant for quoting.  To excess.

And what does it mean if you enjoyed this, my latest installment for the 30 days of writing challenge?
It means you have too much time on your hands.  Why not spend more reading some others?


  1. I'm a big fan of Voltaire. A major non-fan of The Sheen.

  2. Nothing like a little Charlie Sheen when talking about excess!

  3. I agree, Charlie's a shining, or should I say tarnished example of excess. I expect there are many more - he just happened to be very public about it.

  4. What, no quotes from Keith Richards? I consider him to be the poster boy of excess. For example: "When I listen to what I did under the influence - 10 years of work - I don't think it either enhanced or impaired me. It didn't have that much to do with it." You're welcome. (I loved your comment about Disraeli!)

  5. Sheen is one of the ultimate examples of excess- 'pursuing a foundation"?
    what a load of crap!

  6. This is the first time I could comment on your post. I usually get a notice that your blog is corrupted with demons. Shit.

    I love quotes. I think I'm gonna start spouting off quotes so people can laugh at me in years to come.