The Virtues of Benjamin Franklin

Recently my attention has been hooked by a series of posts on the excellent blog The Art of Manliness. While I certainly do not agree with everything on the site, I am fascinated by the similarity between Benjamin Franklin’s thirteen virtues and Don Miguel Ruiz’s four agreements.

Just to recap, Don Miguel Ruiz’s four agreements are:

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Don’t take things personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.

Benjamin Franklin’s thirteen virtues are:

  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 extremes; 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 dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.”
  13. “HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”

I think the four agreements capture the essence of all thirteen of Benjamin Franklin’s virtues. I will explore this in a bit more depth in a series of posts. Each of them dealing with a particular virtue.

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Dreaming

In a mirror we can see an exact copy of all of creation. Our eyes are just like a couple of mirrors. Light projects a virtual reality on the lenses of my eyes, just the way it projects a virtual reality on the mirror. The only difference between the eyes and a mirror is that my eyes have a brain behind them. Using my brain I analyze, interpret and describe the virtual reality I perceive at any moment.

Through light, life sends a lot of information to my eyes and I make a story about what I perceive. The story is how I qualify, justify and explain what I perceive.

For example, if I see a tree, I don’t just see the tree; I qualify the tree, I describe the tree, I have an opinion about the tree. I like the tree or I don’t like the tree. I may feel the tree is beautiful or not, my point of view, my opinion about the tree and is a story of my creation.

Once I interpret, qualify or judge what I perceive, it is no longer real; it is a virtual world of my creation.

We co create our world with God. God creates the real world and we create the virtual world.

We all live in a virtual world of our creation. This is what the Toltecs mean when they say humans are always dreaming.

Source: The Voice of Knowledge

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Domestication of Humans

When we are born we have no knowledge of who we are. Our mum tells us who we are, our dad tells us who we are, our brothers and sisters tell us who we are, in fact everyone around us tells who we are based on what they believe we are.

Because we have no knowledge of who we are we believe what we are told. We agree with the image others project onto us, we invest our faith in that image.

That’s how we learn as children. We believe everything the adults tell us. Our faith in these beliefs is so strong that our life is controlled by these beliefs.

This process of surrendering to beliefs through agreement is called the domestication of humans.

Source: The Four Agreements

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