The Integration Of The Tenants Of Benjamin Franklin

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The Integration of the Tenants of Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin's innovations and inventions will certainly be remembered as some of the most momentous triumphs of our rich American history. Although American history mainly focuses on Franklin's accomplishments in the scientific community, there is a lot to be said about Franklin as a person. The discipline and hard work Franklin exhibited in his daily life is comparable only to the diligent work we see in his professional life. Among his experiments with electricity and many other amazing accomplishments Franklin set out to achieve the impossible by trying to arrive at a moral perfection. In his attempt "to live without committing any fault at any time,"� Franklin created thirteen virtues by which to govern the difference between what he observed to be right and wrong. All thirteen of Franklin's virtues are important and can certainly stand on their own. However, there are three distinguishable virtues that have been integrated into our society in order to maintain its solidity.

In order to be a productive and auspicious society, we have to make the most of our resources, which include our revenue, people and natural resources. Franklin's sixth virtue was industry, which he defined as, "Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions."� Franklin realized the value of hard work in his own time and thus sought to create a tenant by which he could measure the worth of his daily output. To be productive as individuals we must take control of our lives and daily routines in order to fully maximize our outputs. For instance, Franklin wrote that, "Reading was the only amusement I allow'd myself. I spent no time in taverns, games, or frolicks of any kind; and my industry in my business continu'd as indefatigable as it was necessary."� As an example to us all, Franklin devoted his life to his craft and family.

As a society, it has been imperative to integrate this value in our professional and personal lives. Hard work is a value upon which our society has been built. It is a value that sets the United States of America apart from every other nation in the world. Our country takes pride in the hard work that has gone in the preparation of the strongest national defense in the world. Our maximized application of industry has catapulted our economy and financial markets to the forefront of the world. If you look at most Americans today, many are working hours 45 to 50 hours a week on average. Americans today are obsessed with their work. The generations of today are more career oriented and driven by the pursuit of a better tomorrow. Franklin's father once said, " Seest thou a man diligent in his calling he shall stand before kings, he shall not stand before mean men."� Being that the only way to get ahead in life is through hard work, many Americans have taken the cue and committed themselves to their own industry and thus the industry of our society.

Hard work and industry are just two of the very important ingredients that have gone into the culmination of our prosperous domineering society. Along with the continuous growth of a nation comes the impractical attempt at maintaining some form of equality. Thus, we move to Franklin's eighth virtue: justice. Franklin defined justice as, " Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty."� Perhaps in Franklin's day it was because of this very tenant that Franklin and our founding forefathers sought to liberate our country from the oppressive thumb of Great Britain. Being that all societies have certain rules, it is important that individuals for the most part try to conduct themselves in ways that are conducive to that society. All societies must hold its individuals to a certain universal standard of justice in order to preserve the integrity of the system.

Although Franklin most likely intended a more personal meaning of the term justice, it is certainly a term that we must apply to society. The most important factor that sets our nation apart from every other society in the world is what we have been able to do with the way in which we govern ourselves. As a founding forefather, Franklin played an instrumental role in the creation of Constitution. From our Constitution, our three branches of government were born which essentially laid all of the groundwork for establishing equality and fairness in our nation. Our very own justice system is very far from perfect. However, without the integration of this important tenant, our Nation would have never come this far.

The last of Franklin's virtues is probably the most important to integrate into society, but also seemingly the most difficult to explicate. Franklin termed his thirteenth virtue humility, for which he offered as its definition, "Imitate Jesus and Socrates."� This doctrine of humility, although stated in a concise and straightforward manner, can conceivably be construed in several different ways. In determining the nature of this definition, we must first ask ourselves whether it is fundamentally rooted in religion. Franklin tells us to imitate Jesus, but obviously he is not implying that man is unselfish enough to die for the sins of the masses. Franklin's definition is not to be taken literally in this sense, but rather to serve as a parameter for individuals to gauge their own actions. In other words, Franklin uses Jesus as a metaphor for one's own moral checklist. Although there is no universal religion, each belief has its basic principles set forth, by which individuals should conduct accordingly. It is in accordance with these basic principles that they are essentially following the example which were set forth by Franklin. Although Franklin was not very partial to the idea of an organized religion as is shown in this quote, "Th'o I seldom attended any public worship, I had still an opinion of its propriety, and of its utility when rightly conducted,"� we still know that he believed in its purpose. In a sense, it is as if Franklin's thirteenth virtue is more of a plea to be attentive to the basic principles of our own religion, rather than a precept to be taken verbatim. Franklin acknowledges the truest meaning of his final virtue when he says, "But that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man."� In this quote we can fully appreciate Franklin's link between his definition of humility and service to God.

The second part of Franklin's definition asks that we should imitate Socrates. As before it is obvious that Franklin is not saying that you should imitate the life of Socrates by pondering the mysteries of the 21st century. However everyone at the very least in life owes it to himself or herself to seek to find their own truths. People should not accept the answers and the explanations of others as the unquestionable truth. Franklin's definition also asks that we explore ourselves and seek to become multi faceted individuals. Lastly but probably most importantly it is imperative that we try to become more perceptive thinkers.

A society is more than a culmination just a few predisposed characteristics but rather a conglomeration of many complex ideas, principles, laws and norms. Our society has been greatly influenced by the intergration of some of the most substantial ideas from one of America's greatest thinkers. Although employed sometime before Franklin, his doctrine of industry is basically the foundation of our society today. North America's abundant resources coupled with our industrial marvel have capitulated the United States to the foremost super power of the world. Another factor that makes the United States one of the greatest countries in the world is its commitment to equality and justice for all. Like our Pledge of Allegiance states: with liberty and justice for all. Our preamble also states, where all men are created equal. America is birthplace of the modern democracy. Our country has been founded on the principle of justice. Another reason that our country is fundamentally sound because of the influence that religion has played in the formation of our society. Our societies moral aptitude stems from deeply rooted universal shared values that have been instilled by our religious beliefs. On top of our morality our society has been built upon the minds of some of the world's greatest thinkers. From Henry Bessemer to Henry Ford we can thank good ol' American ingenuity for the some of the amazing aspects of our lives today. The integration of Franklin's fore thought has vastly contributed to the greatness of our society.