Dr Benjamin Franklin was not really a doctor. Not in the true American antiques range of occupations, cutting into bone. This title Doctor was one of those first honorariums given a man of great achievement and reflects the impact he had on his age. What we also do not pay enough attention to in this extraordinary human being was his warm human social intelligence: he knew how to get people to see the stuffy attitudes they held, and to laugh red faced at themselves with his gentle chiding words, spoken kindly, a twinkle in his eye.
The target of any Ben Franklin humor felt dissected in public and that was pain enough. Ben could then reach his hand out kindly as if in self forgiveness of his own words the folly of the other that he had just made public humor of. And you can too. How we approach untruths and folly indicates the inner capacity we ourselves have in how we relate to the world and painful choices we face daily.
"Dr." Franklin was thrown in The Tower in London after his witty dismantling of the King's recent Edict to the American colonies, now being posted on the main trees in all the village centers in America. Dr. Franklin had hopped a ship to England as he saw evening crowds of angry mutters develope overnight into drunken rowdies shouting enough, muskets being fired into the night air, drums of war beating, in the night air and in the hearts of an arising nation. Dr. Franklin was on a morning ship with his folios of quills, inks, finest papers.
Ben had a job to do. He had to find a route to the king. And he took the only natural route he could wisely do. He went to deal honestly with the boss, and ask him to speak to his boss. When Dr. Franklin arrived at the estate I have visted, West Wycombe of my blood, Sir Francis met him with understanding and kindness as always, having appointed Dr. Franklin to his present position as Post Master General of North America only the year after Canada had been taken at Quebec in 1759.
Dr. Franklin had performed his task so far beyond expectations that now the postal road from Quebec City to Montreal down to Boston New York Philadelphia to Savannah was far superior to any such modern roads in Britain. In the event of any need to move troops Sir Francis had noticed America was in a better position than Britain, whose basic road system was still rutted stone roads built by them but under Roman whips. Might Dwight D. Eisenhower have considered Dr. Franklin's predating of the 1956 Freeways to Link America election? We must ask when we get to heaven. Assuming much there, but.
And that is another story about how modern railroads all evolved from fitting into those ruts created by the width of two horses backsides which we should, will return to. A series on that seems in order, to reflect on how rocket boosters to the moon can only be two horses backsides wide as they pass through a railroad tunnel in Utah on their way to Canaveral. The world is so linked, and Dr. Franklin would suggest that in order for you to see this evolvement best light is that we look at his magical number seven.
Here are seven ways Benjamin Franklin would suggest you consider to be seen as one with a brain and a social wit. Your superiors will apreciate, relax, notice, smile, like you. Social Engineering Tricks 101:
1-Elevate, not desecrate. Never use cutting humor, disect theirs.
2-Keep your humor light, fun, open to participation.
3-Reflect your humor to show you row your own boat.
4-You row merrily, and you attract others to you.
5-As you deflect bitterness, fear, answers appear.
6-Your summary encapsulates the situation and hints that the best way out may be to back up to where we went wrong, once we all clearly agree what that was.
7-Elevate, even exagerate, achievement.Mock an obvious folly but with a twist.If attacked, return their volley as a mirror.
You could practice these habits that are all well talked out in Poor Richard's Almanac, which we all need to re read from time to time. And no time like now, while the bombs recede but the price of gas changes all our realities and draws us all closer to home and each other. To be reduced a bit is an adjustment. To have the floor taken out from under your feet, as I have know, and surely have you, is to make you stronger, really. Poorer indeed, but able to review what it all was that got you to where you are and what part you played in that.
Because inside we all help create the destinies that are dropped in our laps like the emotional killer time bombs. A stroke, an affliction, some wrong wiring inour hearts, our brains, the way our motor neurons make our walks straight and normal or all jagged and crippled. When then is up to us for the breath left in us. We are so beyond preciously fortunate if our loved ones stand tall and by our side while we undergo life threatening and heart rending impossible choices we must face and walk straight forward into the darkness of our souls.
Heart surgery, brain surgery, disease racking our bodies, can finally allow us to rest into the hands of expert help; those who know and can do and do. We trust our God and our lives to those around us. Dr. Frannklin achieved this all through his live, even though he was not a perfect man at all. His relationships with his son became utterly impossible by the time of the revolution and Benjamin Frankin'sson in defiance to his father as sons must do, threw his loyalty to the British to the mortification and hurt he knew was striking into his father's heart like a dagger.
Whether you suffer this type of betrayal by your loved ones or not, as did Dr. Benjamin Franklin, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, notice that the sun may yet shine and the puddles are good for the baby ducklings and all really is well in God's green earth. He believed in God. He did not believe in much of the babble gabble that went with it. He had run away from that angry God in Boston. His was the Philadelphia God, in the City of Brotherly Love. It may no longer be all that it was intended.
But if Dr.Franklin, the greatest fastest ocean liner the now retired United States Ship United States, and the United States Navy Ship now retired John F. Kennedy all now rest near Philadelphia harbor that suits us fine. We could all visit, our own philosophical western shining city on the hill of young Benjamin Franklin walking over from perth Amboy which was as far from Boston as ship passage he could afford.
You and I have come a long way from Perth Amboy even if we never have been there. How we make it all the way to the Philadelphia of our dreams suggests we pay attention to wise ways to deal with people. Anything Ben can do I can do lesser. How about you?
Derek Dashwood enjoys noticing positive ways we progress, the combining of science into the humanities to measure politics, wise use and mis use of power and protective love at