In his early 20s, Benjamin Franklin embarked on a “bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection,” intending to master a list of thirteen virtues. He soon gave up on perfection but continued to believe that these attributes, along with a generous heart and a bemused acceptance of human frailty, laid the foundation for both a good life and a workable society.
Writer and visual artist (and Utah resident) Teresa Jordan wondered if Franklin’s notions of virtue, which some might consider antiquated, might offer guidance to a nation increasingly divided by angry righteousness. She decided to try to live his list for a year, focusing on each virtue for a week at a time and taking weekends off to attend to the seven deadly sins.
The journal she kept became her new book “The Year of Living Virtuously (Weekends Off)” a collection of illustrated essays, weaving personal anecdotes with the views of theologians, philosophers, ethicists, evolutionary biologists, and a whole range of scholars and scientists within the emerging field of consciousness studies. During her wry and intimate journey, she was surprised, as was Benjamin Franklin before her, “to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined.”Teresa Jordan joins Tom Williams for Monday’s AU.