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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ben Franklin's Thirteen Virtues

Today I would like to pay tribute to a man I greatly admire. He is a man who discovered electricity, set sail on a two month voyage across the Atlantic to Paris in the fall of 1776 at the age of 70 in order to convince France to join forces with America during the American Revolution, and is one of only two of America's founding founders to be on the currently who was never President (Alexander Hamilton is the other).  I am talking about Benjamin Franklin, and I would like to chat briefly about Franklin's thirteen virtues. I believe that every man needs to be aware of Ben Franklin's thirteen virtues, and I also happen to believe that every man could greatly improve their lives by merely picking out one or two of them to practice.

Many men have looked to Franklin's virtues as a great code, or set of rules, for a man to live by. In Frank Miniter's book The Ultimate Man's Survival Guide, which I have already mentioned I am reading, he lists Franklin's thirteen as one of "Man's Greatest Moral Codes." Moreover, Brett and Kate McKay also have a great article on Franklin's thirteen virtues on Art of Manliness which can be found right here: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2008/06/01/the-virtuous-life-wrap-up/. They also add a paragraph of their own insight for each of the thirteen virtues as well.

Below are Franklin's thirteen virtues, as he wrote them himself, at the young age of 20.

1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
3. Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
6. Industry: Lose no time; be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.
7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
8. Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
9. Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
11. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
12. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace, or reputation.
13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.  

Till next time -
BF