"Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Really?

"Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Really?

"Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."


So said Benjamin Franklin. It is simply preposterous and schoolmarmish to think this. Indeed, it seems like many of the aphorisms that Franklin penned were aimed at children. 

I must admit, I feel betrayed by my favorite founding father and fellow chronic insomniac.

Though he thought and wrote extensively on the subject of techniques for getting to sleep, most notably in his "The Art of Procuring Pleasant Dreams", it seems that the great statesman did not develop techniques effective enough to cure even himself.

Indeed, the man himself is pretty good disproof of his own saying, since he became quite wealthy and very wise (if not at all healthy), without very much sleep on either side of the night.

Here are some other men who disprove Franklin's edict:

Franz Kafka (if not all that wealthy), suffered from periodic insomnia and still managed to be one the very greatest and funniest dissident writers of all time.

Winston Churchill (if not all that wise), suffered from insomnia, probably as a result of his well-documented depression, throughout the war which he is credited with helping end.

Plato was probably an insomniac, though a proud one. He said, "Much sleep is not required by nature, either for our souls or bodies, or for the actions in which they are concerned." 

Groucho Marx was a particularly severe insomniac, but managed to be awake enough to ask, "What do you you get when you cross and insomniac, an agnostic, and a dyslexic?" Answer? "Someone who stays up all night wondering if there is a dog."

So does early to bed and early to rise make a man healthy, wealthy and wise? No, it does not.

Here's a pithy description about another historical insomniac from listology.com: "Rene Descartes (1596-1650 AD) - Descartes loved to sleep late in a room warmed by a fire. Then he was hired by Queen Christina of Sweden to teach her philosophy. She insisted on early morning lessons in an unheated room. Descartes soon caught pneumonia and died."

Enough said. 

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Videos
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less