Benjamin Franklin argues that an overly excessive amount of something good is bad. I firmly agree with Franklin’s claim, and have seen the justification of this concept in American society, history, literature, and my own personal experiences. American society is notorious for the advocation of excess wealth and pleasure and the unanimous goal of expanding knowledge and possession. Franklin’s argument applies to American society through the lives of its people. Jimi Hendrix, an undisputed Rock legend and master guitarist quickly arose to fame after his initial debut.
Hendrix yearned to become famous and make an impact in music, ultimately giving him pleasure. He immediately skyrocketed to the top of music charts during his time period and became an idol for thousands of crazed fans. Through his success and musical talent, Hendrix felt growing urges for more pleasure. However, because of his pursuit of more pleasure, Hendrix fell into a horrid addiction to drugs and alcohol, although his day-to-day life was filled with excitement and adventure, Hendrix’s addiction consumed him. Unfortunately, on September 18, 1970, Hendrix was found dead due to a sleeping pill over dosage.
The life of young Jimi Hendrix serves as perfect justification of Franklin’s argument. This celebrity had achieved monumental feats and changed the world of music; however, his excess of pleasure killed him. Jimi Hendrix paid the punishment of his superfluous pleasure with his life. Although Franklin argued that too much of any good thing is bad over two hundred years ago, the truth behind his statement has been seen all throughout history. From the origin of the United States until 1860, America followed a recurring pattern of compromise.
From issues ranging from government powers, to voting rights, to slavery, America was prone to compromise on every issue. Our great nation was experiencing the hardships that come from too much compromise. The issue of slavery, more than others, exposed the faults with boundless compromising. After the compromise of 1850, hostilities between the North and the South escalated. This was due to the issues of free soil versus slave soil, fugitive slave laws, and expansion. Hostilities between the two grew to cause the American Civil War, the bloodiest and most costly in American lives.
Son was turned against father, brother against brother. Exorbitant compromise, exorbitant hatred, and exorbitant pride all tore the nation in half. The South seceded from the country, and established its own separate nation. This entire conflict erupted because to much compromise. It was not until the nation’s leaders took initiative and outlawed slavery, which should have been done decades before, that United States was able to win the war and repair the country. However, the reformation after this war was never fully effective. Literature also acts as another medium of justification for Franklin’s claim.
The world’s best selling book, the Holy Bible, in more than one instance demonstrates that too much of a good thing is bad. The Bible’s oldest story, the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, is an ideal example. Adam and Eve, the first humans, lived in abundance in the Garden of Eden and had all they ever needed. It is safe to say that they truly had limitless freedom. However, this caused Eve to become curious and do the only thing forbidden to them, eating of the tree of knowledge and wisdom. As she did so, Adam followed and the two were cast out of the presence of God.
Another example from the Bible is the children of Israel. The Israelites were the elect of God, his “peculiar people. ” They were blessed with wealth, land, and victory in war. However, having too much wealth and success, caused the Israelites to become prideful, and they experienced extreme hardship such as enslavement by the Egyptians and wondering in the wilderness for forty years. The Bible verifies Franklin’s claim since it taught that too much of a good thing is bad, thousands of years before Benjamin Franklin was even born.
One might say, “No good thing can lead to bad;” however, in my personal life I have come to know the result of too much of a good thing first hand. I have the privilege to play tennis for my high school team. Through dedication and a lot of practice I made Varsity singles. All throughout the first half of my season I experienced victory after victory. My success was sublime, as I felt invincible. However, this success proved to be a double-edged sword. I let my many victories delude my mind, and the punishment was crippling. In the remaining 5 games of my season, I went on to lose 4 straight.
My immense shame and heartbreak, proved to be the result of my excessive success that caused me to become overly confident and cocky. Sadly with a record of 6-4 I was unable to qualify for CIF playoffs. However, I was able to learn that Franklin was indeed correct in his claim, to superfluous amounts of good result in bad. Benjamin Franklin argues that, “Nothing brings more pain than too much pleasure; nothing more bondage than too much liberty. ” His belief of negative consequences resulting from boundless good is seen in our society, history, literature, and personal lives.