Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Benjamin Franklin

hen most people talk about Historical figures, they always envision the image that history has left of the min the culture. The y think of them as what they end up as, not about how they got there. When I thought of Benjamin Franklin, I thought of him being wise and rich for most of his adult life. I did not think that he might have been arrogant or even poor. I didn’t look at him like he was human. Like everyone else in early America, he was trying to make his way. He didn’t set out to be a founding father, he set out to be a printer!

I like the fact that he is quick to admit his own vanity in the fact of writing his own biography. That because of being an old man he might like talking about him self. Admitting to ones own faults always shows some sort of wisdom. But all old men start out young and the same goes for Benjamin Franklin. Like us and most of the way that our culture views young people, he left his home to make it out on his own. He seems to go through the same plight that we college students goe though our freshman year. After he gets sick, instead of seeking advice from his parents, he tries a cure that he has heard about. I think most of us has to admit that when we first got sick during college, we tried to cure ourselves with various amount of success. He makes due with what he has and accepts when offered, especially in chapters one and two where he is wondering around, finding a job and a place to sleep. The first place he sleeps at is the meeting-house of the Quakers, which I find amusing. Through a series of events, Benjamin finds his self with food, board and a job working for a printer named Keimer. He also made friends with the young people of the town through their mutual love of reading. He was starting to make a life for himself when his brother-in-law Suggested that he goes back to Boston, but he respectfully declined. Later it his life he started a library and people started to suggest that he publish his autobiography. The library worked on a subscription fee, unlike our public libraries. The libraries spread to other cities. He also tried to live by 13 virtues, with various success.

The thing with autobiographies that I usually have a problem with is that the person is writing about his own life, which gives leeway to blemish on facts and perception. But the same could be said of regular biographies. While I doubt he has the paranoia of current political figures in regards to his image, I do find it interesting that he attempted to live by a set of virtues. Like most of us, he thought that it was going to be easy to live by them, then found out that it was not as easy as it seems. Even though creating a board to mark how you are living by the virtues might have helped, his own interpretation of them could have changed from each situation. Also compare our culture to theirs you notice that they were much more forgiving of their political figures back then. They realize that they are human and even though they are not always living by example, what they are trying to accomplish is important. Compare with today when a politician screws up in his personal life, it bombs his political life also, which in turn effects the cause that he is trying to achieve. With everyone in the media trying to find a story, you can imagine how many causes have probably fallen because of a scandal.