B-B-B-Bennie!

“I should have mention’d before, that in the Autumn of the preceding Year I had form’d most of my ingenious Acquaintances into a Club for mutual Improvement, which we called the Junto. We me on Friday Evening. the rules I drew up requir’d that every Member in his Turn should produce one or more Queries on any Point of Morals, Politics or Natural Philosophy, to me discuss’d by the Company, and once in three Months produce and read an Essay of his own Writing on any Subject he pleased.” (59, Penguin edition)
What I do not relate to in this particular passage is the desire to voluntarily join a club where I am forced to write essays for leisure. Maybe I feel this way because I am in school and I am compelled to write against my own free will. But, if I was on the outside world, writing would be the last thing on my mind. I mean, the process is already redundant to me. Reading and reflecting are simple and enjoyable enough that I will continue to do so post-graduation. However, Franklin wanted his companions to perform these tasks for practicing their skills. True, this is the 17th century and there are limited sources of entertainment; but, realistically, I would break that Rule every chance I got. Being from such a fast paced society, I don’t know if I could ever deal with a society like Franklin’s. I mean, come on, people have to wait for weeks on end for a letter? Look at the problems this caused! Miss Read was sitting at home waiting for Mr. Franklin to come back. And since he was away in England for so long, she went and married a new man. Sure, Miss Read and Franklin end up back together…but it’s the point. It almost irritates me just thinking about the slowness and dullness of the society. (Are we in a better place because of the instant gratification of our times? That’s up for debate). But, think about it. If I was to be dropped into Austen’s Pride and Prejudice novel, I would go out of my mind. All they ever did is sit around and talk all day long. This sort of behavior is the perfect environment for drama and gossip–not my fancy. In end, as I am hardly a prolific writer, I could not even fathom dwelling in a time period where writing essays was a form a leisure. There are many things I would much rather be doing.
“So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, Since it enables one to find or make a Reason for every thing one has a mind to do.” (35, Penguin edition)
What I find interesting about this passage is the hilarity and reality of the statement. Being the Enlightenment, great thinkers were focusing on reason and how man derives his ideas. Going back to John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, we learned that man has no innate knowledge. But rather, man takes in his experiences and perceptions from his senses to form ideas and thoughts. Joining simple ideas together, we as humans are eventually, through reason, able to comprehend complex or even abstract ideas. This is a great and good concept. However, there is a dark loophole that individuals try to use. They try to use their reason to benefit themselves. Going back to the passage, I find it a humorous crack on man’s mentality. When people do something wrong, they try to rationalize their way into making the wrong thing right. They don’t want to me wrong. For a bad instance, I want to go out drinking this weekend. I owe it to myself. I have too much homework to do, so I’m just going to Sparknote the reading for tomorrow. I know what’s going on in the class. So, it will be okay just this once. I never get a chance to go out and let go. I deserve this. And I do just that (which I don’t believe me, I haven’t gone out in weeks because of keeping up with my 19 credits). But in the though process, I rationalize it to be okay, “Because I deserve it.” Although it is the wrong decision, I somehow make it okay–remain a socially retarded individual. In the above passage, Franklin is doing the same sort of rationalization. He resolved to go on a meatless diet. However, he would pick up eating fish. “I recollected that when the Fish were opened, I saw smaller Fish taken out of their Stomachs: Then thought I, if you ea one another, I don’t see why we mayn’t eat you.” He made it okay for himself.

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~ by kellysawesomethoughts on February 28, 2011.

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