Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (Read in July, 2009)

Dr. Benjamin Franklin is the embodiment of Thomas Edison’s “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” He came from a poor family. His sensible father was of good character. Dr. Franklin was a deist. What God has given man, he purposefully, methodically, and continually used to improve himself. A self-driven independent thinker, he endeavored to improve, not only mentally and financially, but morally. He did it for his own sake, and the fruits became the glory of mankind.

Dr. Franklin resolved to practice virtues every moment. He said he was not so successful in some, e.g. Order, but his ambitious efforts did him well. Some in the list, e.g. humility, were purposed to conquer his natural inclinations. It is clear from his depictions of his practice of humility that he did not mean self-abasement nor self-negation – he practiced diplomacy. He said about humility:
“I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue, but I had a good deal about the appearance of it… In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it perhaps, often in this history; for even if I conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should be probably proud of my humility.”
A benevolent man of great honor, Dr. Franklin had no mean bone in his body. He used reason and persuasion to advance his convictions. His integrity earned the respect and trust of his fellowmen. It is logical that he could not subdue his pride – because, as Ayn Rand said, “pride is the sum of all virtues” (see here). Dr. Franklin earned the virtue of pride.

He depicted errors that he regretted. He had the misfortune of losing a four-year-old son to smallpox.

I found page 63 very interesting. I dearly enjoyed reading Dr. Franklin’s words. I laughed heartily at this part: a great gun is certainly a fire engine.

Dr. Benjamin Franklin had an exemplary, glorious life.


Ilyn Ross said...

Benjamin Franklin [January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790]

Ilyn Ross said...

"The best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.... The more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, & of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, & became richer." - Dr. Franklin

Ilyn Ross said...

From my first novel, Reason Reigns -

While Ari was with the delegation, his ten-year-old daughter, Lola, was with a classmate on the new obstacle course, a hundred meters south of where the sumptuous buffet breakfast was laid out for the early morning celebrations.

“Let’s try! Let’s do it.” Lola successfully hurdled the difficult obstacle course. She urged her classmate to do the same. “It’s your turn.”

“I’m ashamed.”

“There is no reason to be.”

“Okay, I’ll try. Don’t laugh at me.”

“I laugh when I am happy. I don’t laugh to embarrass people.”

“What if I fail?”

“Lessons learned, and then try again.”

Lola’s classmate focused. She exerted her very best effort. “I did it! I did it so well! Oh… I should be humble.”


“It’s good to be humble.”


“Everybody says so.”

“I am not humble,” Lola declared. “I respect and love myself. I always do my best because I don’t ever want to feel low and small.”

Lola’s classmate realized that self-love was the hallmark of a good person.

Ilyn Ross said...

February 11, 1752 – Pennsylvania Hospital, the 1st hospital in the U.S. was opened by Benjamin Franklin. - via Jim Rogers (thank you)

Ilyn Ross said...

I visited Mitt's page last night, and the featured Romney comment was this:

@15:46 Romney says, "I have been extraordinarily successful", in reponse to the subhumanly and SHAMELESSLY envious.

The successful and the affluent have rights equal to the rights of every other man. The anti rich, anti successful, are SUBHUMAN. Romney's declaration evinces that he is a man of extraordinary mettle. "Pride is the sum of all virtues."

Those faulting Romney for his wife's cadillacs are DEVOID of HUMANITY. Mrs. Romney has MS and has battled cancer. She deserves the best that money and love can offer.

Ilyn Ross said...

Ilyn Ross said...

“Well done is better than well said.... All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.”

Ilyn Ross said...

"I had been religiously educated as a Presbyterian; and though some of the dogmas of that persuasion, such as the eternal decrees of God, election, reprobation, etc., appeared to me unintelligible, others doubtful, and I early absented myself from the public assemblies of the sect, Sunday being my studying day, I never was without some religious principles. I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the Deity; that he made the world, and govern'd it by his Providence; that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter. These I esteem'd the essentials of every religion; and, being to be found in all the religions we had in our country, I respected them all, tho' with different degrees of respect, as I found them more or less mix'd with other articles, which, without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, serv'd principally to divide us, and make us unfriendly to one another. This respect to all, with an opinion that the worst had some good effects, induc'd me to avoid all discourse that might tend to lessen the good opinion another might have of his own religion; and as our province increas'd in people, and new places of worship were continually wanted, and generally erected by voluntary contribution, my mite for such purpose, whatever might be the sect, was never refused.

Tho' I seldom attended any public worship, I had still an opinion of its propriety, and of its utility when rightly conducted, and I regularly paid my annual subscription for the support of the only Presbyterian minister or meeting we had in Philadelphia. He us'd to visit me sometimes as a friend, and admonished me to attend his administrations, and I was now and then prevail'd on to do so, once for five Sundays successively. Had he been in my opinion a good preacher, perhaps I might have continued,[65] notwithstanding the occasion I had for the Sunday's leisure in my course of study; but his discourses were chiefly either polemic arguments, or explications of the peculiar doctrines of our sect, and were all to me very dry, uninteresting, and unedifying, since not a single moral principle was inculcated or enforc'd, their aim seeming to be rather to make us Presbyterians than good citizens.

At length he took for his text that verse of the fourth chapter of Philippians, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report, if there be any virtue, or any praise, think on these things." And I imagin'd, in a sermon on such a text, we could not miss of having some morality. But he confin'd himself to five points only, as meant by the apostle, viz.: 1. Keeping holy the Sabbath day. 2. Being diligent in reading the holy Scriptures. 3. Attending duly the publick worship. 4. Partaking of the Sacrament. 5. Paying a due respect to God's ministers. These might be all good things; but, as they were not the kind of good things that I expected from that text, I despaired of ever meeting with them from any other, was disgusted, and attended his preaching no more. I had some years before compos'd a little Liturgy, or form of prayer, for my own private use (viz., in 1728), entitled, Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion. I return'd to the use of this, and went no more to the public assemblies. My conduct might be blameable, but I leave it, without attempting further to excuse it; my present purpose being to relate facts, and not to make apologies for them."

Ilyn Ross said...

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