Plan for the moral perfection of Benjamin Franklin

"Approximately in 1728 (that is, at the age of 22…) I conceived a bold and difficult plan to achieve moral excellence, highlighting of the moral virtues known to me thirteen of the most important. Here are the names of these virtues with the appropriate instructions:

• Abstinence. - There is not until satiety, drink not to intoxication.

• Silence. "To say only that which can benefit me or another; avoid empty talk.

• Order. - Keep all your things on the ground; for each lesson there is a time.

• Decisiveness. - Dare to do what must be done; to strictly implement what is decided.

• Thrift. - Spending money only on what brings benefit to me or others, that is, nothing to waste.

• Industriousness. - Do not waste time in vain; be always busy with anything useful, give up all unnecessary actions.

• Sincerity. - Do not cause harmful deception, have clean and fair thoughts; in the conversation also adhere to this rule.

• Justice. - Do not cause harm to anyone, do not commit injustice and do not omit good deeds that are among your duties.

• Moderation. - Avoid extremes; to restrain, as far as you think is appropriate, a sense of resentment from injustice.

• Cleanliness. - Do not allow bodily impurity; observe neatness in clothes and home.

• Calm. - Do not worry about trifles and about ordinary or inevitable cases.

• Chastity. - It is not often to surrender to love joys, only for the sake of health or the product of offspring, never to do this until dullness, exhaustion, and also to the detriment of one’s own or another’s reputation.

• Humility. "Imitate Jesus and Socrates."

This list does not pretend to be universal and will not suit many, but for a beginner, the life of the -year-old Ben Franklin was working and necessary.

Franklin was sure that if he was able to remain faithful to the chosen quality for a week, it would become a habit and it would be possible to move on to the next virtue, and each time he would allow for less and less deviation from the ideal. Misdemeanors were marked with black dots in the calendar, until the transformation was completed, after which, Franklin was sure, he would need only a periodic "inspection and repair" of deep-seated morality.

The plan was managed to some extent. At first he repeated this cycle several times in a row, then he assigned one course annually, and then once every few years. But the virtue of the Order - "Let all things lie in their places and each business has its time" - and slipped away from it. Franklin lacked a natural inclination to keep papers and other property in strict order, and efforts to maintain order were given to him with such difficulty that he nearly quit the business. In addition, his business, the printing press, constantly demanded attention, and Franklin could not always follow the schedule he had planned. The ideal daily routine, also included in the little "virtue diary", looked like this:

PLAN

Was his system successful? We list only the basic. As a scientist, Benjamin Franklinis explored the nature of electricity, invented a lightning rod and created a capacitor battery, introduced the designation of the electrical polarities "+" and "-" to physics, put forward the concept of an electric motor, invented bifocals, studied current, width, depth (and gave it the name!) The Gulf Stream. As a politician, he was the only one who signed all three of the most important historical documents that underlie the formation of the United States of America. This is the first American to become a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. When he died, about 20 thousand people gathered for his funeral.

And how many people will remember about you?

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