I’ve been reading Ben Franklin’s autobiography for my philosophy class (yuck)…and it’s really interesting. Something I’ve noticed about a lot of these ‘big’ thinkers is that they were usually really close to the truth…like if you read their memoirs and kind of get a feel for their thought processes, they were just beating around the bush..soo close! SubhanAllah. What was triggering them to (almost) recognize Allah, was the same thing that kept them away from really getting there–their intellect. For example, Franklin talks a lot about the attributes of God and how he genuinely believes man was created to spread good. His ideas on virtuosity and righteousness are also on point. Though he was a deist categorically, he definitely lived a life of self-reflection and personal development. Just my thoughts. :)
Most of you probably read his autobiography too, but here’s what really stood out to me. His list of virtues–whether he actually lived up to his virtues is debatable…I personally think he didn’t..way too many serious erratum throughout his life.
1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness and 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 employed 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. Forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes or habitation.
11. 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.
12. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
EDIT: This list is very similar to any Islamic work on Tazkiyatun Nafs, no?