Ben Franklin’s Moral Precepts

Ben Franklin’s Moral Precepts:

1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.

11. TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

12. CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Via Weblogsky, who considers Stewart Brand to be today’s closest living analog to Franklin (though I don’t think he means it in the moral context).

2 Replies to “Ben Franklin’s Moral Precepts”

  1. One of my favorite all time books is the auto-biography of Ben Franklin. He was an amazing person. A great read.
    You can find it on the internet here.. (I suggest getting a book copy.. Very small, but full of interesting stuff. I can read it over and over)
    http://www.earlyamerica.com/lives/franklin/

    This post reminds me also of George Washington’s moral code of ethics, or something like that.

  2. I believe Franklin kept a small book (think moleskin…) with his moral precepts on each page in a grid. He would mark each one on whether he suceeded or failed that day to keep them. He would then reflect and try to do better the next day.

    That’s my kind of guy.

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