Temperance, Temptation, and Silence

Tony Lynch 


Often a concern for truthfulness becomes the celebration of radical truthfulness, where this involves both the utter refusal of deception and that all moral and political beliefs be fit to survive publicity. An unfortunate consequence of this is that it has blinded us to a fair and accurate understanding of the nature and role of an important technique of virtue—temperance. Temperance implies a strategy of renunciation and withdrawal from the full content of our psychological lives. It involves us in pursuing and sustaining a practice of deliberative silence about those purposes and ends which, as we see things, threaten us with corruption and the world with evil.