Science of Virtue: Sincerity


Plays: 141

How easy is it to be a sincere person? And could a truly sincere society function?

92Y’s Science of Virtue is a look at the values that shape our world. Exploring a set of virtues championed by Benjamin Franklin throughout his life, the podcast features interviews with top thinkers on how timeless themes like temperance and tranquility impact our modern lives. In this episode, R. Jay Magill Jr., author of Sincerity: How a Moral Ideal Born Five Hundred Years Ago Inspired Religious Wars, Modern Art, Hipster Chic, and the Curious Notion That We All Have Something to Say (No Matter How Dull), talks to host Ruthie Ackerman about the downfall of trying too hard to be sincere.

In 1727, Ben Franklin launched a project he called The Mutual Improvement Club, a weekly meeting of Franklin and his peers in which they explored ways to improve themselves and others. The club centered around 13 virtues – Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity and Humility – which Franklin followed throughout his life as he aimed to be a better leader, citizen, and man. Almost 300 years later, 92Y is launching a 21st century Benjamin Franklin Club with Franklin’s virtues as a starting point to re-imagine community engagement, leadership and ways we can improve ourselves and our world.