Hall Of Idols # 20: Benjamin Franklin


Twentieth installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.

Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.

Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.

As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.

The term Renaissance man is often used inadvertently to describe a person that exceeded in many areas of human activity. However, there are very few times over the course of the history of mankind that its use was so perfect than with Benjamin Franklin.

Writer, journalist, freedom fighter, scientist, inventor, politician; he dabbled in all this areas and exceeded in all of them. Simply put: a true genius.

And there’s something rather interesting just to finish this introduction: Ben Franklin was literally a Renaissance man, because all of his ideas were born from reading Enlightenment authors like Locke, Diderot and Rousseau.

Benjamin Franklin was born January 17, 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts. He actually stopped attending school when he was 12 and continued his education through voracious reading. And that’s when he got in touch with the works of all Enlightenment masters.

With his natural talent for writing he created great characters that he used to send letters to papers, always assessing some touchy issue. Mrs. Silence Dogood, Poor Richard and many others are proofs or a creative mind that never stopped.

He was also a freemanson and one of the founding fathers that although owned some slaves, became an ardent abolitionist with the passing of time. He advocated for the creation of a school for slaves in Philadelphia in 1758 and in 1770 he freed the slaves he owned. His only fault was refusing to debate the issue in the 1787 Constitutional Convention.

Franklin had such a busy brain that when he saw himself rather wealthy due to the success of his newspapers and able to live just from his profits with no need to work, he decided it was time to invest in his natural curiosity for science.

In doing that he invented the lightning rod (the now legendary kite experiment), the Franklin stove and his studies greatly influenced meteorology, oceanography, the concept of cooling and the temperature effect on electrical conductivity.

Benjamin was also a great chess player and loved music. And it was his love for music that led him to invent the glass harmonica.

However, perhaps Benjamin Franklin’s most notable feat was the way he perceived how life in society should be. His visions on religion (specially the respect and tolerance towards all of them), freedom of speech, government and the virtues of men are still modern.

And he was one of the main figures behind the writing of two of the most important documents in modern history: the declaration of Independence and the constitution of the United States. He is even called “the only president of the United States that was never president of the United States”.

Therefore, Mr. Franklin, now you’re not only on the U$ 100 dollar bill, you’re also in the Hall Of Idols. Welcome and make yourself at home.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal”.

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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