Tuesday, January 1, 2013

289. Benjamin Franklin’s Efforts to Promote Virtual Cultivation

Five Stages of Benjamin Franklin’s Efforts to Promote Virtual Cultivation, 1722 -1790 Confucius 孔子 pointed out the following steps for an elite gentleman to follow: 修身 To cultivate the moral self, 齐家 advance the family’s virtue, 治国 promote the good virtue in your state and 平天下 illuminate the good virtue to the universe. Surprisingly enough, you will find that Benjamin Franklin exactly followed Confucius above procedure in virtual cultivation for an elite gentleman.

State One: To Cultivate Moral Self Franklin’s Efforts to Cultivate His Own Virtue according to Confucius Moral Philosophy, 1726-1736 In 1726 Franklin expressed the notion that the rulers should show love to their subjects in Journal of Occurrences in My Voyage to Philadelphia from London, July 1726. Franklin revealed that he had focused on moral cultivation in his Letter to His Sister Jane Mecom in January 1727. He put moral issues in the discussing agenda of JUNTO. In 1728 Franklin started his virtual cultivation campaign and listed thirteen virtues he would focus on. He stated that there was never yet a truly Great Man that was not at the same time truly Virtuous.

Stage Two: To Advance the family well according to your own virtue Franklin managed his family business so well that he could retire at the age of forty. He tried to run his printing business in good virtue. One of the reasons was that he maintained good virtue in business. He told us a story in his autobiography, “My brother-in-law, Holmes, being now at Philadelphia, advised my return to my business; and Keimer tempted me, with an offer of large wages by the year, to come and take the management of his printing-house, that he might better attend his stationer's shop. I had heard a bad character of him in London from his wife and her friends, and was not fond of having any more to do with him.”

Stage Three: To Promote the good virtue in your State Franklin’s Efforts to Promote the Youth in North America to Cultivate Their Virtue, 1737-1783. Franklin organized most of his ingenious acquaintance into a club of mutual improvement, which was called the JUNTO. They met on Friday evenings. Franklin drew up the rules required that every member, in his turn, “ should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals”

In March 1737, Franklin published some chapters from the “Morals of Confucius” in the Philadelphia Gazette, his weekly newspaper circulated widely in the colonies. Next year, Franklin promoted virtual cultivation in his widely read Poor Richard Almanack. Six years later, Franklin told his readers that all knowledge should be usable in A Proposal for Promoting Useful Knowledge Among the British Plantations in America. In 1748 Franklin told the young trademen that industry and frugality were the two most important virtue in The Advice to a Trademan. In 1749, Franklin made his solemn statement that Confucius was good example in his Letter to George Whitefield.

In 1753 Franklin told the North American people that “Virtue and Trade are a Child’s best Portion in Poor Richard Almanck. In 1757 Franklin told the youth that industry and frugality were the means of procuring wealth in The Way to Wealth. In 1758 Franklin emphasized frugality’s importance. In 1760, Franklin explained in his Letter to Load Kamas the Art of Virtue and told the youth how to cultivate their virtue. In 1775 Franklin articulated his happiness seeing that frugality had become the fashion of the American people. Frugality would make sure that Americans were able to pay off the war expenditure. In 1778 Franklin concentrated on moral’s important role in the new nation. He raised the question, “what can laws do without morals?” In 1780 Franklin told his grandson, a person with virtue would live a happy life. In 1783 he expressed the notion that America’s new leaders should lead by example and be role models.

Stage Four: To illuminate good morals in the universe Franklin’s Efforts to Encourage Humankind to Cultivate their Morals, 1784-1790 In 1784 Franklin wrote the virtual cultivation section of his autobiography. In his letter, To Those Who Would Remove to America, Franklin told the people who planned to move to the United States that success in the New Nation rested in if one had a good virtue. In 1790 Franklin extolled industry and diligence above all virtues. He also expressed his happy life because he cultivated his virtue.

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