How would you define poison?

Poison — enough is enough!

Think of the following words:

  1. Love
  2. Care
  3. Money
  4. Work
  5. Time
  6. Joy & sorrow
  7. Food & drinks
  8. Pleasure & adventure
  9. Power
  10. Ambition

What do you think is common in these visibly abstract needs of one’s life? Nothing? Think again…nope? Well let me rephrase my question — what would you say if all these things are given to you — in excess? Excess of love & care? Excess of money? Excess of power…etc.? Won’t it become a pain? Suffocating? Claustrophobic?…Poison?

Theodore Levitt: Anything in excess is poison.

Excess of love leads to possessiveness or jealousy. Jealousy can destroy any relationship. Its a poison. I know there would be many who would disagree with this but it’s a fact that even love when shown or expressed in excess can become harmful to both sides. The giver starts expecting in return and expectation is the root cause of all breakups and sour relationships. And the receiver starts taking the giver for granted. And when moderation goes for a toss, in comes negative elements like jealousy, possessiveness, dominance, reporting, explanations, justifications, clarifications, and a sense of lack of freedom and space. Some have even reported loss of identity and self-esteem.

What happens when you have excess of money? Will you start distributing it freely to the needy and poor? No way. The more money one has the more wanting he/ she becomes. It’s a vicious cycle from which it is impossible to get off. This craze and excess of money leads to arrogance, lack of empathy, brandishing wealth, looking down on old friends and acquaintances, and becoming inhumane or sadistic.

Excess of time would make you lazy, procrastinate, waste valuable age, and die an untimely death. Excess of work may kill you due to fatigue, exhaustion, or bad health. Excess of work would also damage your family relations and the time you need to spend for yourself and friends. What about excess of joy & sorrow? About food & drinks? About pleasure and adventure? All bad. Excess of anything will have some negative effects for sure. Moderation is the key word. Proper balanced free time and work hours would lead to active brain and healthy body. Balanced food and drinks would lead to a fit and nutritious lifestyle. Even in case of pleasure — you need to earn your pleasure and joys of life. And earning comes after toiling. Work hard party harder, as they always stay.

There is also a saying that please don’t poison anyone’s life…the intent being not to plant suspicion leading to mistrust, not to speak bad or low about someone leading to disrespectful behaviour, etc. All these are various definitions and varied explanations of poison, besides the obvious definition of poison — venom of scorpions, snakes, certain types of mushrooms, varieties of leaves, etc.

Let me give an analogy for this statement. You are very hungry and someone gives you a candy. You have one and its so good. The sugar gets the required energy inside your body. Then you have another. The excitement level and the satisfaction you got from the second one is less than the first one. You have yet another and another and another…and then someone forces to have many more…what will you feel? Like poison right? You will feel that one more of this and I am gonna die. That exactly happens when you get anything in life in excess. Ambition and power when it touches the level of excess too leads to an unsatisfied life and untimely death.

The best way to live is to live in moderation, within limits, in a controlled state of mind. Need has to be felt at every stage. Need for hunger, for thirst, for love, for a break, for attention, for earning. As long as one needs the basic requirements of life, the person will keep thriving…working…desiring…wanting…living. What, according to you, is the root cause of broken relations? In case of a couple, why do people say that life before marriage was much better than after? That’s because people start taking the partner for granted. The need for attention, the desire to meet, the excitement of meeting hence the adventure involved in that, and finally the uncertainty of life keeps the relationship alive and kicking. Many couples are able to maintain this even after they unite in a marriage, but what is their percentage? The unknown, uncertain, the mystery, the doubt and the challenge keeps one alive. Give the person all he/ she wants and that too in excess then see the transformation in that person — he will die, not literally but figuratively — Poison.

On a lighter note, I like this statement of Mark Twain. He says “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” 😂

While I was writing this story, I was thinking whether I may be able to contradict my own statement that anything in excess is poison. What about knowledge. And wisdom. And service to humankind. If someone is a lifelong learner and keeps gaining knowledge or wisdom, what can be bad or poisonous about it? If someone has dedicated his or her life in service to mankind, can there be something poisonous about that? I end my story here waiting to hear from my readers…what do you think…?




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Snehal Karia

Snehal Karia

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