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The Famous Pool Table Example

Imagine a pooltable with one white ball behind the line.

The aim of the challenge is to hit the ball with the exact force needed so as to come to rest at the far end.

If insufficient force is used the ball will not reach the far cushion.(lack of force)(weakness)(ie lacking in strength)

If excess force is used the ball will reach the far cushion but then bounce back.(excess of force)(roughness)(ie lacking in gentleness)

If the right amount of force is used the ball will reach the cushion and remain there.(right force)(called gentle because the extreme of roughness is avoided)(called strength because the extreme of weakness is avoided)

diagram of the virtues


This example illustrates a principle that applies to all the virtues and vices.

The opposite of a virtue is always another virtue. The opposite of a vice is always another vice.

Opposite virtues are actually a single state. The 2 virtue labels simply indicate the dual qualities of that state.


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