Benjamin Franklin

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Miranda S
October 18, 2012
American Literature

The quest for human perfection is ideal, but the realization that this is possible may be an unrealistic expectation. In Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography he describes his drive to obtain moral perfection by devising his own standards, formulating a plan, and evaluating selected virtues weekly. Benjamin Franklin devoted one whole week to each virtue in which he strived to eliminate any bad habits. Mr. Franklin saw his faults diminish as he evaluated himself over a period of several years. Moral perfection is not entirely possible because often circumstances present that are beyond ones control. Furthermore, people will critique the virtues of moral perfection much differently. Moral perfection is not obtainable because there are extraneous circumstances and conflicting views of the moral virtues.

Circumstances occurring beyond ones control prevent the attainment of moral perfection. Day to day obstacles can alter ones behavior and outlook on the day. Such obstacles may include temptations, individual interactions, and environmental influences. The severity and the number of obstacles encountered will also impede mastering moral virtues. Benjamin Franklin infers in his Autobiography that obtaining the thirteen virtues requires persistent vigilance and avoidance of previous habits and temptations. In conclusion, achieving d moral perfection is often complicated by the mere reality that every day one may not be on top of the game.

Interpretation of the moral virtues can be viewed in very different ways. In Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, he suggests that temperance was confined to some as eating and drinking while others expanded the interpretation to mean moderation of every other pleasure, appetite, inclination, or passion. One may be either more or less critical of others compared to themself. The precepts of the moral virtues must be interpreted consistently in order to strive toward...
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