Benjamin Franklin’s 13 steps to moral perfection (an 18th century concept of self that is no longer an ontological precept in our skeptical times)

One of my all-time heroes, Benjamin Franklin, was 20 when he designed a list of 13 virtues that he felt could lead him to moral perfection.

This is an interesting read about Franklin’s virtues.  CLICK HERE

Personally, I appreciated the usefulness of the chart illustrating Franklin’s virtues in comparison with Bushido and Aristotelean virtues.

I think we have given up on the Enlightenment ideal of moral perfection, but at least it’s worth some consideration!  Here’s the list:

  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 employ’d 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.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquillity. 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.

 

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