Failing at Temperance

Chris Miller posted a while ago about Benjamin Franklin’s thirteen virtues that he explains in his autobiography. I’ve been thinking about them a lot recently. Franklin cultivated a practice of rating himself each day on how he did well or poorly at embodying each virtue. There are a lot of web sites and apps and such to help a modern person do the same. I am not sure that practice is for me but I am trying to process something that is inline with my regular habits. I’ve been mulling over an essay on the non-programming traits and abilities key to success at professional software development. Franklin’s virtues seem like a good frame for some or all of that piece. I think there is also a series of posts for my other site exploring each on a more personal level. I have a nicely formatted copy I brought to keep at my desk at work. One of the virtues, the first actually, is temperance: “Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.” Sadly, today in pursuing tranquility (“Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.”) by grabbing some food from a local deli and enjoying it in the surrounds of a nearby park, I think I ended up eating to dullness. Now I am wondering what other subsets of virtues might lead to similar tensions.

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