The Art of Manliness (womanliness too?) The Virtuous Life


FOTCM Member
I'm not quite sure where to put this link but I stumbled on this page while looking for more information about Benjamin Franklin's method of self-improvement. It looks very interesting.

Maybe someone will find something not Cass worthy there, but the general principle of working on the self in practical ways appears to be helpful.

For the past 13 weeks, The Art of Manliness has been running a series entitled “The Virtuous Life.” Each week we took a look at each one of Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues and how men could implement them in their life.

Today, “virtue” has taken on soft and effeminate connotations. But originally, the word “virtue” was inextricably connected to what it meant to be a true man. The word comes from the Latin virtus, which in turn is derived from vir, Latin for “manliness.” These days guys excuse their lack of virtue by hiding behind the excuse of being “just a guy.” Men need to do better and strive to improve themselves each day. It’s time to restore the tie between manliness and virtue.
The articles seem to be well worth reading, but here is the list:


Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.


Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; Avoid trifling Conversation.


Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.


Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.


Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.


Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.


Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.


Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.


Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.


Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.


Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.


Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.


Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
I think we should change that last one to "Imitate Caesar and Socrates."


Jedi Master
I wonder what he means in "Chastity": "Rarely use venery but for health or offspring....".

I can understand the part about offspring but where does health enter the picture? As I understand it, the virtue says that you should engage in sexual activity if it generates children or improves your health.

In Taoist sexuality the sexual energy is used as a way to promote health - particularly in men but I think that making that connection might be stretching it...



FOTCM Member
Thor said:
I wonder what he means in "Chastity": "Rarely use venery but for health or offspring....".

I can understand the part about offspring but where does health enter the picture? As I understand it, the virtue says that you should engage in sexual activity if it generates children or improves your health.

In Taoist sexuality the sexual energy is used as a way to promote health - particularly in men but I think that making that connection might be stretching it...

I guess that some men get very stressed if they build up too much sex hormones, thus releasing them might help their health? Dunno.

But, basically, from what we have learned about the "modern plagues", it's a very good idea to just practice chastity in terms of partners unless one is in a monogamous relationship.


Jedi Master
I think that that's a good point. I forget if it's something the Cs said or if I've heard it elsewhere, but I recall that when you have sex with someone your energetic fields merge to some extent and you risk ending up with a lot more damage than veneral diseases.

And according to both Chinese and Indian traditional understanding a man depletes his psychic energy by too frequent ejaculation, which might point to some degree of restraint - even when in a monogamous relationship.


The Living Force
[quote author=Laura]
Maybe someone will find something not Cass worthy there, but the general principle of working on the self in practical ways appears to be helpful.

Completely agree. Practicing virtues develops a foundation on which other stuff can be potentially added. One cannot learn to run without being able to stand steadily on one's two feet.

I picked one virtue - humility.

Regarding humility, the practical tips given on the website
- Give credit where credit is due
- Don't name/experience drop
- Do what is expected but don't make a big deal about it
- Perform service and charity anonymously
- Stop one-upping people
At a deeper level, humility can be confusing. Humility is not self-devaluating false modesty. Socrates as an exemplar of humility was not free from controversy. "Was Socrates arrogant?" There is an an analysis of this question from the philosophical standpoint here

and the author, a philosophy teacher at the university has some insights which include the "Dunning-Kruger effect".

Here is the introduction. If you find it worth pursuing, you can read the whole article at the link above.
[quote author=Socratic Humility]
Socrates, a founding figure in both the aspirations and the skepticism of Western philosophy, was convicted and executed on charges of corrupting the youth by undermining Athenian traditions. The vote of the very large jury was fairly close: Plato reports that a switch of just 30 out of 500 votes would have produced an acquittal. Some believe that Socrates could have spared his life if he had only been less arrogant at his trial. After all, Plato shows Socrates calling himself god’s gift to Athens, calling Athens a lazy horse who needs rousing by a philosophical gadfly, and suggesting that his ‘penalty’ for his services should be free meals for life in city hall. (Apologia in Greek means a defense speech, not “I’m sorry”!) Indeed Socrates must have sounded arrogant; another admirer, Xenophon, tries to explain parts of Socrates’ defense by claiming that Socrates wanted to die. In Plato’s more famous and more complete version (which is probably also more accurate in spirit), Socrates defends his life in earnest and acknowledges that he must sound arrogant – but insists that he is not. He turns the tables on his accusers by explaining that it is their arrogance, and their misunderstanding of his own humble service to philosophy, which is responsible for his being on trial.

Could Socrates be right that his life of refuting others is genuinely humble, and that his humble philosophical questioning must appear arrogant to those who really are arrogant? Or is he just cleverly trying to make a bad case seem strong with tricky arguments? That’s what his detractors alleged for much of his life, and some say the same about philosophers today. I’ll try to explain how Socrates’ way of questioning could be both genuinely humble and naturally open to the mistaken accusation of arrogance. (I use Plato’s portrait in his Socratic dialogues, which is the best we’ve got). Then I’ll consider a recent study of arrogance, and compare Socrates’ style of questioning with some things that go by the name of ‘Socratic Method’ today.

A snippet about Socrates' wisdom
Apparently, when an enthusiastic admirer asked the oracle whether anyone was wiser than Socrates, the oracle said no. Socrates was puzzled, as he was well aware that he had no special knowledge, yet he couldn’t believe that the god could lie or be mistaken. So he set out to discover what this riddling oracle could mean. He visited people with a reputation for moral wisdom, but he found that they didn’t really know what they thought they knew. He interviewed politicians, playwrights, and others with the same results: people always harbor inconsistencies in their beliefs about the good life, and are unable to explain their beliefs in the light of Socrates’ searching questions. The more expertise people claimed about the most important things in life – justice, virtue and the best way to live – the less they could justify their claims. Even the knowledge some people did possess, like the art or science of their trades, was overshadowed by their mistaken belief that they were also qualified to tell people how they should live.

Eventually Socrates recognized his modest superiority: “it seems that neither of us knows anything great, but he thinks he knows something when he does not, whereas when I do not know, neither do I think I know. So it seems I am wiser than he in this one small thing, that I do not think I know what I do not know.”
Socrates proceeded to reveal to other pretenders of wisdom the flaws in their thinking. He also challenged existing customs. For this he was accused of arrogance. Yet what he was really doing was exposing to people of the day that they did not really know what they thought they knew, so they could inquire more deeply. In doing so, he was creating conditions in which others could learn. He was challenging the "hubris", arrogance and the Dunning Kruger effect of that time. He was also practicing humility through the understanding of the limits of his own knowledge.


Jedi Master
I found The Art Of Manliness awhile back, and i too found the information they put forward quite interesting; for the most part.

They have a few videos online:
The videos cover an array of topics from cold showers, getting up earlier, planning your day and also some exercise techniques. Some of them are quite beneficial for the work that's done here.

It lead me to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics which i found quite an interesting book on virtues, overall ethics, and what form they can take.


FOTCM Member
I've read a couple of articles carried on SOTT in the last several months that were from The Art of Manliness site. They were pretty good. FWIW.


FOTCM Member
Human Virtuosity and awareness of Objective Reality are indeed what we all need to strive for, particularily so for the male gender. It really does appear that ego is a major stumbling block in our present 3d STS world.
Thanks for putting up this website link and its already bookmarked on my computer :) :)


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
SeekinTruth said:
I've read a couple of articles carried on SOTT in the last several months that were from The Art of Manliness site. They were pretty good. FWIW.
I found these on SOTT:


Jedi Council Member
In ancient Greek, the term arete (ἀρετή / edge) means, in the most fundamental sense, the excellence of any kind. It is a concept closely linked with the fact perform a function or to complete a task; one who lives by the arete is one that achieves its full potential. In the most ancient Greek culture, arete consists in the courage and strength to face adversity. It's what every man should aspire.

In the poems of Homer, the arete applies both to the Greek hero Trojans. Similarly, it applies equally to men and women (eg Penelope, the wife of Greek hero Odysseus). Homer frequently associated with bravery, but even more efficiency. The man or woman who realizes the arete is a person who can achieve its goals, which makes use of all his faculties - strength, courage, wit, guile, sharpness - to get real results. In the Homeric world, the arete covers all the skills and potential that men possess. The concept is a universal anthropocentric (or at least restricted to humans); it presupposes a referent in which the actions of men really matter where the world is a place of conflict and difficulty, and the value and meaning are measured according to the criterion of individual effectiveness in the world.

The arete is explicitly linked to knowledge. Indeed, the Romans translated this word by the Latin virtus, which gave French virtue; gold, the terms "virtue is knowledge" or "arete is knowledge" are used interchangeably. In ancient Greece, the highest human potential is the knowledge (or wisdom). All other human abilities derive from that one, which is fundamental. If the arete at its highest level consists in knowledge and in the study, the highest human knowledge is knowledge of self. In this context, the theoretical study of human knowledge, Aristotle calls "contemplation", is the highest human capacity and the means to achieve the highest degree of bonheur. Wikipédia

That's what said Socrates (Plato Meno)

Socrates: Meno ... tell me what virtue?

Meno: ... It is not difficult ... If you want me to make you see the virtue of a man, it is easy to reply that the virtue of a man is to be able to act in the affairs of the city and, through this activity, to do good to his friends, struggling to his enemies while protecting oneself not to suffer no wrong.
Now if you want to talk about the virtue of a woman, it is not difficult: the woman should manage the house, ensuring its interior, keep it in good condition and obey her husband. There is also a different virtue for the child, for the girl and for the boy, for the free man and the slave ... and as there are a host of other virtues, it is not embarrassed to define virtue.

Socrates: Well, Menon, tell me what is this property that, without creating any difference between these bees, that they are all the same ... It's the same virtues, they have one characteristic form ...

Do you believe that there is a virtue of man, woman and so on? Or do you think is the case of health ... that has different characteristics?

... We must therefore seems -t he, come to associate justice, temperance, godliness, or any other part of virtue ...

Here's what I mean when I asked you to define virtue in general, far from saying what it is, you declare any action it is a virtue, provided they fulfilled with a part of virtue! As if you had told me what virtue in general and that I could recognize it even when you cut the parts! ...

Because this is not what we mean when we declare that any action accomplished with justice is virtue? You see ...

I do not know what [Virtue] while you, who probably knew, you look like someone who does not know it! ... It is not surprising that [the soul] is able, about virtue, to remember [the knowledge of his previous lives] ...

Socrates: We were well agreed to this: one thing there are no teachers or students, can not be taught [...] By virtue therefore does not teach?

Now you want me to teach you, I who says there is no teaching, but reminiscent!

[characteristic of a square: has four equal sides, regardless of size or color, it should be the same for virtue]

... I often sought men who taught the virtue ... and I have not found ...
We agreed to say that it can not be taught and that it is not right ... and yet we recognize that it is a "good."

Virtue can neither come naturally [genetic] will be taught by, but it would be presented as a divine favor [Karma] ...


FOTCM Member

I found the above website which nicely complements this thread.


A Disturbance in the Force
P: May I ask a question, sir? There is one thing which has preoccupied me for a long time. How should a man act towards a woman so as to be her master and make her happy? To be really master of the situation.

Gurdjieff: Your question is, what is it necessary to do. First of all you must be a man inside yourself. Every woman should feel herself a man's slave. This is the property of women, they are made that way. For that there is a law. You ought to represent the boss, the master. You should consider all things as the master. If you are like that, she, without manipulation, without anything, (it always happens) becomes your slave. Without explanations or anything, it only depends on you. If I am a man I will have a woman. This depends on what I am, what you are. If I ought to have seven wives all seven will be my slaves, perhaps because I am a man. Not only will all seven be unable to deceive me but they will tremble at the mere idea of deceiving me; they feel that they have a master. These seven women always and everywhere are my slaves. This, firstly, is what is necessary. Now secondly many other things are still necessary. What I have just said is the main thing. Now I say secondly: You are man, she is woman. Nature has given you more possibilities than to woman. You have more physical strength; everything you have more than her. Amongst all these things you have more logical thought than the woman. You should first prepare her, calm her, put her into a certain state and then logically explain to her what can happen for the future. Show her life not for today but life in a month, in a year, in five years time. As it is established on earth that if husband and wife live well together they will live a long time together, and as life is long it is necessary to explain to her what things she must not do and what she must do. If you explain to her as I have told you, she will do it.

P: One must not be angry, never negative?

Gurdjieff: You must be the opposite. Science says a woman is hysterical, she has five Fridays in one week. Man, a real man, has one Friday. Science of all epochs explains this. If you are not master of your state you do not know which Friday she has today. What you have decided, put that into her. You tell her. Even if she is at Friday number three, do the same number four or number five—do the same. If you continue a hundred times, a thousand times, she will transform herself and will receive that which you wish. You are obliged to be a man; she is obliged to fulfil her obligations as a woman. You cannot be egoist. You are a man. You ought to demand of her that she be woman. If the man is an egoist, he is merde. He wants to do everything (as it pleases him, by chance) and he expects his wife to be a woman? Little by little it can happen that she may reach the same state as him; either nature does it or it becomes established by force of law. Begin at the beginning. If she has five Fridays a week and if you, not being a man, have two or even three Fridays in a week, first of all, try, like any normal person to have only one Friday each week. When you succeed in having only one Friday, she too will have only one Saturday. Logical thought even automatically makes understandable the present, past, future and the rest. The man must be a man. Your question is very original and characteristic for everybody. A man can demand everything of his wife but he can only demand if he is, in truth, a man. If he is a man of the middle sex it is impossible. This, by the way, exists in all languages: there are two kinds of prostitutes: prostitutes in skirts and prostitutes in trousers. In trousers it is neither man nor woman—middle sex. He who always in his waking state is a man can never belong to the middle sex. Whether it be his mother, his sister or his wife, she will act as she is told to. Woman does not depend upon herself. If you are not a man then you are a prostitute and you suggest to her that which she is.
You are half a man.
[All fall silent.]

Transcripts of Gurdjieff´s Meetings 1941-1946 p. 19


FOTCM Member
Welcome Amar7 to our forum, seeing as this is your first post on the forum, we would appreciate it if you would post a brief intro about yourself in the Newbies section, telling us how you found this forum, how long you've been reading it and/or the SOTT page, whether or not you've read any of Laura's books yet, etc.

By the way and for the future it would be great if you could add a personal point why you posted that excerpt for this discussion.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Is there a book that expands on the 13 B. Franklin topics?

Reminds of the Law of Success by Hill but has a different taste to it a more how do I say no motive besides being a better being. I feel that in achieving a goal or following advice, book and so on it is important to do so while asking yourself is this good for me? Will I develop blind spots, attachments will I suffer in other ways? This seems like a healthy way mind, body soul of interacting with and maneuvering through life
What Amar7 posted may fit into the topic with the following advice from G about being a Man inside and mastering his state during his waking life. Maybe practicing these virtues can assist in that and help us to not be egoists. I'm not sure if that was the intent of the post however.
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