Franklin: An American Life 读后感

The naive image of Franklin:

  1. industrial and frugal
  2. lightning and Kite

The complete image of Franklin:

  1. Family background: commoner emigrated to US
  2. successful publisher and writer
  3. influential local leader and politician
  4. key colony leader and founding father and diplomat
  5. popular among elite women, failed son and grandson
  6. practical scientist, engineer, inventor

My take:

  1. He is REALLY smart, polymath, mastered both science and people, affectionate to everyone
  2. Although flirt with women, he seems more platonic than erotic.
  3. As smart, successful and influential as Franklin is, his marriage was practical, his son and grandson failed. And his lineage ended there. On the other hand, his legacy will never die, become part of American spirit.
  4. The critic view of Franklin in subsequent times does not change who Franklin is, but rather reflect what kind of time it is. Conservatives attacked him not caring about the golden pavement of heaven. Romanticist attacked him only care about money nickel and dimes, not heroic. Now all seems naive.

Franklin is one of the two lines down passed in American cultural history: the pragmatic industrial frugal smart mundane democratic mid class. Not the elitist, religious, conservative.

  (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)Tranquility: Be not distuibed 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.