Moral Perfection Essay

899 Words4 Pages
The pursuit of moral perfection embodies an endless journey with no beginning - no end – just two very steep cliffs on either side. Benjamin Franklin, founding father and steadfast deist, pusues this path after fearing his own morals fall short of those around him. He conducts an experiment for a year in which he cycles through 13 virtues, doing everything in his power, avoiding falling victim to the related sins, and recording the times in which he succumbs to temptation. This experiment, although born of noble intentions, lost focus from the heart of morality and he fell endlessly off the cliff of pride. In Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, he lists the 13 virutues pursuant in his experiment: temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, and humility. He takes on a single virtue each week, making note of his accomplishments and failures. By the end of the experiment, he spoke of the substantial progress he made in each of these areas and how his general quality of life improved. The irony of his accomplishments remained most evident the pride he found in his humility. Blaise Pascal, renowned mathematician and philosopher, wrote in his unfinished book, Pensées, about the contradiction of man as he states: "If he exalts himself, I humble him. If he humbles himself, I exalt him. And I go on contradicting him until he understands he is a monster beyond all understanding" This brings us back to the matter of the path of moral perfection and the two cliffs on either side. As a man leaves what he once knew following this newpath, he must vigilantly watch his footing so as to avoid the treacherous fall, towards pride or despair. Anyone traversing this path knows far too well how far they are from salvation. There comes a time in every 13-year-old’s life when they decide there is
Open Document