The keyword in the proverb is spice.
We all know spice is a vegetable material of many kinds, fragrant or aromatic and pungent to the taste, as pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, ginger, cloves, etc., which are used in cookery and to flavor sauces, pickles.
Spice adds flavour and taste to food. As such, food without spice is bland and usually tasteless.
What is true of food is true of life too. Variety, like spice, enriches or alters the quality of life in a small but significant degree. It gives zest, a mild flavoring and more importantly a relish, a hearty enjoyment of life.
A change in routine, a new approach, a new idea, a new venture or adventure, a vacation or an avocation, a new hobby or a new pet or a game, all add flavour to life. Else life will be dull and monotonous.
We all need healthy change in order to avoid becoming mechanical. Already most of our daily routines have made us automatons. We have to come out of the rigmarole, once in a while and feel alive and human. This is possible when we take a detour from the beaten track.
A word of caution however: Just as too much of spice can spoil the taste of food, so also too much variety can, in fact, hamper the quality of life.
It is said in Sanskrit that Ati Sarvatra Varjayet. This means that we should at all times give up excesses. Positively stated it means that moderation is the royal road to health and happiness.
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Related information about ‘Variety is the Spice of Life‘
The proverb is taken from the poem The Task written by William Cooper(1731-1800). He was one of the most widely read English poets of his day. There are five books in the poem:
BOOK I. THE SOFA
BOOK II. THE TIMEPIECE
BOOK III. THE GARDEN.
BOOK IV. THE WINTER EVENING.
BOOK V. THE WINTER MORNING WALK.
BOOK VI. THE WINTER WALK AT NOON.
The Proverb is from the Book II: The Timepiece. Here is the context
“Variety’s the very spice of life,
That gives it all its flavour. We have run
Through every change that fancy, at the loom
Exhausted, has had genius to supply,
And, studious of mutation still, discard
A real elegance, a little used,
For monstrous novelty and strange disguise.”
The complete poem is available at “The Project Gutenberg“.