Virtue

Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a character trait or quality valued as being good. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting individual and collective well-being, and thus good by definition. The opposite of virtue is vice.

Personal virtues became known through Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography and inspired many people all around the world. Authors and speakers in the self-help movement report being influenced by him.

1. Temperance. Eat not to Dullness. Drink not to Elevation.

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

3. Order. Let all your Things have their Places. Let each Part of your Business have its Time.

4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.

5. Frugality. Make no Expense but to do good to others or yourself. Waste nothing.

6. Industry. Lose no Time. Be always employ’d in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary Actions.

7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful Deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. Justice. Wrong none, by doing Injuries or omitting the Benefits that are your Duty.

9. Moderation. Avoid Extremes. Forbear resenting Injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no Uncleanness in Body, Clothes or Habitation.

11. Tranquility. Be not disturbed at Trifles, or at Accidents common or unavoidable.

12. Chastity. Rarely use Venery but for Health or Offspring; Never to Dullness, Weakness, or the Injury of your own or another’s Peace or Reputation.

13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Hinduism has pivotal virtues that everyone keeping their Dharma is asked to follow, for they are distinct qualities of mankind, that allow one to be in the mode of goodness. There are three modes of material nature as described in the Vedas and other Indian Scriptures: Sattva (goodness, creation, stillness, intelligence), Rajas (passion, maintenance, energy, activity) , and Tamas (ignorance, restraint, inertia, destruction). Every person harbours a mixture of these modes in varying degrees.

Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman, two leading researchers in positive psychology, recognizing the deficiency inherent in psychology’s tendency to focus on dysfunction rather than on what makes a healthy and stable personality, set out to develop a list of  Character Strengths and Virtues. After three years of study, six broad areas of virtue were identified, having a surprising amount of similarity across cultures and strongly indicating a historical and cross-cultural convergence. These six categories of virtue are courage, justice, humanity, temperance, transcendence, and wisdom.

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