13 Virtues as per Benjamin Franklin

The 13 Virtues

Benjamin Franklin listed them as follows (from his autobiography):

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-Loose 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.
Tranquility-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

Modified Virtues

I modified his original list for use in the 365 Health Strategies):

Here’s how and why I modified Mr.Franklin’s list…

Temperance-Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation. Eat no processed sugar. Sleep 7 hours. Exercise 30 minutes. Why modified in this way? This virtue seems to be a step to allowing clear thinking and energy for the remaining virtues. Avoiding foods with added sugar, sleeping 7 hours, and exercising 30 minutes per day seems to go far toward improving energy and clarity of thinking.
Silence-no modification
Order-no modification
Resolution-Renamed “Resolution & Courage” Without courage there can be no virtue. Courage allows the implementation of Resolution.
Frugality-No modification
Industry-No modification
Sincerity-No modification
Justice-No modification
Moderation changed to “Thinking & Writing.”
By “Writing” I don’t mean the next great novel. I mean plans, goals, budgets, love letters, letters of apology, notes about books and manuals read. I don’t find Benjamin Franklin to have been one who avoided “extremes” as used to define his original virtue of “Moderation.” He was extreme enough to exercise treason against the King and start a nation. He was very extreme in his work ethic, his creativity, his frugality, in his exercise of the virtues.

Sometimes, maybe, it’s helpful to be both extreme and immoderate. I’m not into being different for difference’s sake, but I don’t see any particular virtue in trying to avoid being extreme. As for “resenting injuries,” if you imitate Jesus you will not resent injuries, so it seems redundant to list that separately.

On the other hand, writing clarifies thinking and thinking is such hard work that I need all the tools I can get. Whether I’m thinking about how to run the next basketball practice for my third grader or how to plan the care of patients who volunteer for my next research project, writing helps.

Of course, Benjamin Franklin was a prolific writer, which I think contributed to his clarity of thinking in science and politics.

So, I dropped moderation from the list and placed at number 9 the following virtue:
Thinking & Writing-Spend daily time reading & observing; then, write your thinking.
Cleanliness-No modification
Tranquility-No modification
Chastity-No modification
Humility– Changed to Humility, Love, & Outreach-(Because love in a vacuum is worthless) Do something good for two people per day. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Here’s where to download a clean version of “A Modification of the 13 Virtues as Described by Benjamin Franklin”<—

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