What is Sophrosyne?

Sophrosyne (pronounced suh-FROSS-uh-nee) is ancient Greek word embodying the ancient ideal of  healthy-mindedness, balance, and moderation.  Wikipedia describes it thus:

“Greeks upheld the ideal of sophrosyne, which means prudence and moderation but ultimately its complex meaning, so important to the ancients, is very difficult to convey in English. It is perhaps best expressed by the two most famous sayings of the oracle at Delphi: “Nothing in excess” and “Know thyself.”

The term suggests a life-long happiness obtained when one’s philosophical needs are satisfied, resembling the idea of enlightenment through harmonious living. It is a nearly lost Classical ideal, but is enjoying some revival today with its emphasis on individuals to live within the proportions of reason and nature, this being achieved through practical wisdom and self knowledge. Parallels abound in eastern thought, in Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism. The Analects of Confucius, for example, has several passages on humility that resemble discussions of the Greek ideal.”

I’d never heard of the term until it was used by Miss Minimalist, where it immediately resonated with me.  This – sophrosyne – is what I’m striving for in my life.  Not just weight loss or fitness or a healthy lifestyle.  So I changed the name of my blog from Streams of Consciousness to Sophrosyne.

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