This is the introduction to a multi-post series I will revisit in the future.
I recently stumbled upon a set of principles that Ben Franklin used to develop his character at age 20. He actually developed a system and carried a card around with each of the virtues on it, along with a check box for each of the week. Each time he disobeyed a virtue, he’d check it off for that day. Today I’ll go over each virtue, and how it relates to our modern day, as well as red pill theory and life as a whole.
The thirteen daily virtues are:
Temperance, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Moderation, Industry, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Silence, Sincerity, Justice, Chastity, and Humility
Author Kenneth W. Royce breaks these down into to distinct groups in his book Modules for Manhood: Vol. 1
The eight personal virtues relate to your attitudes toward activities and their challenges. Good personal character traits will better your chances of success in achieving your goals.
The first eight (Temperance, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Moderation, Industry, Cleanliness, and Tranquility.) Basically, they are how you conduct yourself when faced with challenge or temptation.
Royce goes on to describe the five remaining virtues:
These five social virtues of Franklin concern you attitudes toward people with whom you deal. Good social character traits result in other people wanting to do business with you or to have relationships with you.
Silence, Sincerity, Justice, Chastity, and Humility describe how you deal with others. If the first 8 are internal virtues, these are external. Franklin didn’t just list these words, but had a brief description or reminder filed under each one. I’ll list each virtue, with Franklin’s reminder, and my own brief description.
The 13 Virtues of Good Character
Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation
This to me is pretty simple. Control yourself and don’t just eat like shit and drink yourself into oblivion. Have and practice restraint. All in moderation.
Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time
Another great one. Working or living in a chaotic pile of shit is only going to cause you stress. Also, devote yourself 100% to the task you’re on instead of spreading yourself thin on everything at once. Pay attention to every detail.
Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve
This breaks down that you know what you should be doing, and you need to make sure you’re doing that 100%, and sticking with it until its over. Giving up is for cowards and the weak. Do what you say you will.
Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; ie waste nothing.
Here Franklin says taking care of others and yourself is important. Make sure you have what you need but leave out the excess bullshit. Also, I believe he means here if you do need to spend money, make sure you do so wisely
Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve
Meaning not to go to crazy on one thing, and if you’re doing something, make sure you have control over it, not the other way around. Also, this basically says not to hold grudges. If you have something that needs settling, confront them, then move on with your life
Industry: Lose no time; be always employed in something useful, cut off all unnecessary actions.
Don’t be an idle rock. Don’t be a lazy couch potato. Always be engaged in something that is going to benefit you and cut out all the shit that holds you back. Strive for greatness.
Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
Keep yourself groomed and clean. Your clothing need and well fitting, and your home clean. You demand respect if you look, dress, and live well.
Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Also, accept that there are going to shitty, uncomfortable moments in life, just deal with it and keep moving.
Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation
Don’t talk shit on people. If you have something to say to a guy, say it to his face. In general, don’t be that “debbie downer” type and bring only negativity to the table. Giving your buddies a hard time is one thing, but being a prick is another.
Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly
Stick to your word. Try to be honest all the time and fair when you have to be. Less is more when trying to convey the truth. Stick to the facts.
Justice: Wrong none by injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty
Don’t go around harming people for no reason. If the time comes to defend yourself, then by all means you must protect yourself and your family. Also, live up to what you say you’re going to do to others.
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
Hold up, we’re talking about Franklin right? He was known to have quite a few plates in his day. What I take from it is to not worship pussy and have it be the driving force in your life. We all like to get some ass, but don’t let it consume you.
Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates
Not much I can describe here. Be humble.
In reading over these I wonder if the lack of these traits in Franklin led him to create this method of changing who he was. It makes him a little more of a real guy than an the American legend he usually is envisioned as. These virtues are things all men can employ in their lives that should at least get you to think a little more about your actions. Franklin would focus on one of these for a week at a time, then move to the next. If you’re looking for more, Franklin’s autobiography is pretty good read, as he was a pretty interesting man.