Macrobiotic Principle: Quantity Changes Quality

One common misconception about Macrobiotics is that it is a diet. I think in its truest application, Macrobiotics is a philosophy of living that incorporates so much more than just the food we eat. This is why you will often hear it referred to as Macrobiotic Philosophy or people will say “I am practicing Macrobiotics.”

Unlike an actual diet, the practice of Macrobiotics will look different from person to person. We are either moving into or out of balance. Macrobiotics could be called the art of creating balance.

courtesy of arztsamui at
Photo courtesy of arztsamui at

One of the things I love about Macrobiotic Philosophy is that it is full of principles and sayings to guide our thinking and our lives.

One principle I am fascinated by is Quantity Changes Quality. Let’s look at it from a few different angles and then you can play with it in your own life.

Some teachers take this principle to mean too much of a good thing is still too much. One piece of chocolate cake might leave you feeling satisfied, three pieces might give you a stomach ache.

I think both too much or too little can affect quality. A crumb of chocolate cake won’t be very satisfying, either.

Salt is a good example. We need good quality sea salt in our diets. Too little will not give the kidneys enough of a charge, too much can harm the kidneys. The appropriate amount of salt is also important for our cardiovascular and nervous systems. Quantity affects quality, whether the quantity is too little or too much. Not enough cinnamon in a cinnamon roll and you won’t even taste it. Too much and it becomes unpalatable.

I like interpersonal examples, too. Remember when you were little and you went over to your best friend’s house to play? It took a little while to get into the groove and settle into being together. Once you warmed up, you then had a finite amount of really connected, magical play. Then, at some point the play-date lasted too long and you were suddenly sick of each other.

Look at that plant in your window sill. Too much water? Not enough? What happens?

courtesy of koko-tewan at
courtesy of koko-tewan at

When would opening up instead of closing down increase the quality of a relationship?

Quantity affects Quality. Play with this principle. Notice in your life when you are taking a good thing past the point of quality. Or when you aren’t even allowing yourself enough of something to benefit.

I’m not Miss Balance Girl. I love having fun with extremes. Yet, it sure is nice to have some insight to draw from when I am ready to find center again.