Archive | January 2022

Hubris and Enantiodromia

If I were asked, I would say that the chief deficit of the contemporary mentality lies in its failure to understand the ancient law of hubris, which we may define as “excess”, and of Nemesis for hubris — retribution or revenge effect. The sensibility of older modes of thought, however, was largely informed by a fear of hubris and consequential Nemesis, and correspondingly the quest for the “Golden Mean” so-called because it avoided the extremes that would upset the equilibrium of things. The maxims inscribed on the temple of Delphi in Greece were “know thyself” and “nothing too much”. “Nemesis” was the name the Greeks gave to the fearsome goddess of retribution and revenge for acts of excess, although her role is ultimately benign — to restore the balance or consonance of things after their disruption by hubris.

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