In the Republic, a case is made for the desirability of a harmonious soul, or self. The soul is described as being comprised, in broad strokes, of three different kinds of drives: a love of immediate pleasures of various kinds - this is called "appetite" - a love of honor, or righteousness, which is called "spiritedness" or "courage," and a love of the True, the Beautiful and, ultimately, the Good, which is called "reason" or "wisdom." The claim that the character of Socrates makes is that it is the part of the soul that is responsive to the Good that is capable of maintaining harmony within the person. The name that is given to the virtue of being willing to be directed by that part, rather than by either of the others, is "moderation."
Now, anyone who has ever had to battle it out with themselves over anything will understand that it all hinges on this, on whether one can find a way to be willing to be governed by the requirements of the sweet spot (see post #2, March 10, 08). Most of the time the battle with oneself is a drag. Always one wants what one wants. But - and this is the point - one thing about doing any kind of art, even badly, that is so deeply satisfying is that it is a moment of reprieve in this regard. When you do art, moderation is effortless. The self is entirely subject, in the aesthetic context, to what I'll call the laws of truth and beauty (or to the object, we could say) -- yet somehow it's fine. In most other settings, one can only beg for this to be so. But somehow with art one is granted moderation as a freebie.
But maybe there are people who experience aesthetic activity as a kind of voluntaristic assertion of self, not involving this kind of deference at all. Are there?