13 Virtues of Brother Benjamin Franklin

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by Blake Bowden, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    benjamin_franklin_portrait.jpg

    Franklin sought to cultivate his character by a plan of thirteen virtues, which he developed at age 20 (in 1726) and continued to practice in some form for the rest of his life. His autobiography lists his thirteen virtues as:

    "TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation."
    "SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation."
    "ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time."
    "RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve."
    "FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing."
    "INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions."
    "SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly."
    "JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty."
    "MODERATION. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve."
    "CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation."
    "TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable."
    "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."
    "HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates."
     
    Chaz, Brother Jones, Ratchet and 6 others like this.
  2. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    As I understand the story there were originally 12 virtues on the list, he showed it to a friend who said it made him sound pompous so he added humility as the 13th virtue.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
  3. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Nice piece of history brother, thanks.
     
  4. wwinger

    wwinger Registered User

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    I have heard the same and believe it to be true.

    What I have found most interesting however, is the manner in which Brother Franklin practiced these 13 virtues. The story I have heard, and believe to be true, is that each week he considered himself to to bound to practice only one of them. In other words, he practiced temperance four weeks out of the year, frugality - four weeks out of the year, humility - four weeks out of the year, etc.

    Think about how this would work. You are constantly improving the conduct of your life, yet at the same time not attempting to take on too many new goody-goody traits in one fell swoop. This should work for any of us.

    Personally I have chosen 'resolution' for my first week. The only problem I'm having is that procrastination has been getting in the way. But I'm sure that if I ever get started, it will work just fine.
     
  5. brojoseph

    brojoseph Registered User

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    This is a great overview of Ben's Art of Virtue. These are some truly great virtues to live by. I believe "Justice" alludes a lot to some of the earlier charges of our order.

    Bro. Joe
     
  6. drw72

    drw72 Premium Member

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    According to his autobiography "My intention being to acquire the habitude of all these virtues, I judg'd it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it on one of them at a time; and, when I should be master of that, then to proceed to another, and so on, till I should have gone thro' the thirteen; and, as the previous acquisition of some might facilitate the acquisition of certain others...."

    and

    "I determined to give a week's strict attention to each of the virtues successively. Thus, in the first week, my great guard was to avoid every the least offense againstTemperance, leaving the other virtues to their ordinary chance, only marking every evening the faults of the day. Thus, if in the first week I could keep my first line, marked T, clear of spots, I suppos'd the habit of that virtue so much strengthen'd, and its opposite weaken'd, that I might venture extending my attention to include the next, and for the following week keep both lines clear of spots. Proceeding thus to the last, I could go thro' a course compleat in thirteen weeks, and four courses in a year. And like him who, having a garden to weed, does not attempt to eradicate all the bad herbs at once, which would exceed his reach and his strength, but works on one of the beds at a time, and, having accomplish'd the first, proceeds to a second, so I should have, I hoped, the encouraging pleasure of seeing on my pages the progress I made in virtue, by clearing successively my lines of their spots, till in the end, by a number of courses, I should be happy in viewing a clean book, after a thirteen weeks' daily examination."

    You can read his autobiography online at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20203/20203-h/20203-h.htm
     
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  7. drw72

    drw72 Premium Member

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    I have always admired and revered Benjamin Franklin. To me he was the epitome of the Enlightenment, Freemasonry, and our Founding Fathers all rolled into one. By no means a perfect person but all the more remarkable because of all that he accomplished in spite of his flaws and vices.
     
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  8. Ressam

    Ressam Registered User

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    Yes.
    That's why -- he is pictured on $100 bill.
    He was good guy, of course!
     
  9. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    Unbelievable...amazing virtues and an amazing man. I will strive for this no doubt. I suggest everyone prints these out as reminders. The world is not limited to this, but this is a great start.
     
  10. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Registered User

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    There is another web site that sells a daily journal in a nice leather bound cover. The days have the initial of each of these 13 virtues. you place a dot by each one you violated that particular day to give you an idea of where you need to work. I like the idea and am considering making something like this to help me improve myself.
     
  11. drw72

    drw72 Premium Member

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    This one? (https://store.artofmanliness.com/store/product/franklin-virtues-journal)
     
  12. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Registered User

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    That's the one. I really like that site too. Some cool articles there. I did lots of research there to learn to properly shave with a straight razor and not look so much like I just participated in a knife fight.
     
  13. drw72

    drw72 Premium Member

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    The whole A0M business is run by Brett and Kate McKay. Brett happens to be a Brother Mason (Lodge Veritas No. 556 in Norman, Oklahoma). He even promotes Freemasonry in some of his videos and credits it with being part of the "Menaissance". (http://freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com/2011/05/menaissance-by-brett-mckay.html)
     
  14. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Registered User

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    Thanks for the info. , Brother. I knew I liked that site for some reason! :)
     
  15. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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    This one makes me laugh....he wasnt chaste at all!
     
  16. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    I know a member from that lodge and it's actually a T.O. lodge. If it were a bit closer I wouldn't mind being a member there. Very cool and I didn't know AOM guy was a member there. thelaudiblepursuit.com is another site related to these guys.
     
  17. drw72

    drw72 Premium Member

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    I had to look it up: Traditional Observance (TO) Masonry is a unique North American approach to Freemasonry, practiced in Traditional Observance Lodges....."Traditional Observance Masonry is characterized by a solemn approach to holding stated communications and conferring degrees, the use of the Chamber of Reflection as part of the initiation ceremony, and slow and demanding candidate advancement."

    I must admit, when I joined Freemasonry that is the way I expected it all to be (TO)...kind of 18th/19th century ritualistic. I guess I got it from the movies and conspiracy stuff.
     
  18. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    I think alot of European lodges still operate that way...black tie white gloves etc. I would prefer that probably too. It's more spiritual and fraternal. I think its in response to the current blue lodge rep in the state's with guys showing up in t-shirts and denim shorts or biker clothes. I think respect for the institution is important. I think more younger men would join TO lodges if they knew about them as we've romanticized Masonry as it's practiced in TO lodges.
     
    drw72 likes this.
  19. drw72

    drw72 Premium Member

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    As you can image, here in Florida that is all most people wear.

    :mad:(brings out soap box):mad:

    It bugs me seeing people at church and Brothers at the lodge in shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops. The excuse is "we are at the beach" or (in Mass) "God is just glad I am here today" like they are doing God a favor by showing up.

    :rolleyes:(puts away soap box):rolleyes:

    The officers are always in a suit and everyone wears them for degree work.

    I myself enjoy dressing for the occasion, whatever it happens to be.
     
    CLewey44 likes this.
  20. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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