Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues, Still Relevant Today. Sort of.

Posted: September 10, 2016 in History, Humor, Opinion

Too cool for British rule.

So Ben Franklin came up with his 13 Virtues, way back in 1726 when he was a mere 20-years old. 20-years old, man! Imagine any 20-year olds you know coming up with this stuff. Then again, Ben invented the Franklin Stove, bifocals, the lightning rod, the glass harmonica, swim fins, the political cartoon, he charted the Gulf Stream, and, you know, discovered electricity. He also founded our country’s first volunteer fire department and public hospital, so he wasn’t your typical bro.

And oh, by the way, he also was instrumental in America’s independence from Britain.

Fun fact: You know the phrase, “No pain, no gain?” Ben Franklin said it first. However, he said it way better: “There are no gains without pains.”

Ben, man.

Anyway, onto the 13 Virtues. Let’s take a look. My comments follow each.

Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

Listen, nobody wants to eat to dullness but we’ve all been there, amirite? Think Uncle Gary at Thanksgiving.

Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

Ben and I are on the same page here. Nothing worse than trifling conversation. I’ve been known to pretend I’m on my cell phone to avoid trifling conversation. 

Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

OK. I’m down with this. I hate it when things are out of place, man. I like my stuff neat and orderly.

Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

Der. Have a goal and stay with it, right? Perform what you ought, man.

Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

Well, I can’t say that I exactly meet this requirement. I waste stuff. Sorry.

Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

Cut off all unnecessary actions? Ooh, tough one. Pretty sure I do useless stuff all the time. Yep, I lose time fo sho.

Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

Well, I try and be as sincere as I can, always. That said, I’ve been accused of hurtful deceit a time or three.

Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

Huh? This one is confusing. Does the first part mean don’t physically hurt anyone? Can’t argue with that I guess. And I’ll do my duty if someone tells me what it is.

Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

Well, I’ve been known to go to extremes so there’s that. And “forebear resenting injuries as much as you think they deserve”? I need to contemplate that one for a bit.

Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.

What the hell is a cloath, Ben? Attire I suspect? But yeah, be clean. I’m all for it. 

Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

Trifles again, Ben? Dude was obsessed with trifles, man. I get it though. Ben’s saying don’t sweat the small stuff.

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.

First off, venery means sexual indulgence, but you knew that, right? Secondly, Ben Franklin was known as a world class womanizer of the highest order, so he didn’t exactly follow his own advice here. 

Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Geez, Ben. Why throw Socrates in there with JC? Really? Socrates was cool though, with all of his laying the fundamentals of modern Western philosophy and whatnot. 

Anyhoo, Ben Franklin? Pretty mature for twenty. Have a great Sunday.

  1. Learned a new word-Thanks, Janny

Gimme a holler.

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