new atlantis: caves of custom

If one now asks why science arose as it did, it was Francis bacon which spread its doctrines. It is evident that the geographical dicoveries of his time, and the circumnavigation of the earth, had promoted an independent examination of the natural world. Formal theology had been shaken, and the rise of the common man had begun. The Puritan desire to rebuild an earthly paradise, even in the wilds of the New World, was growing. This is not to equate science with Puritanism alone, but it does suggest something about the Reformation, almost in spite of itself, playing a part in the emergence of a scientific movement, which, a generation or so after bacon, recognized his significance as the great spokesman for the scientific method itself and all that was to follow in its train.

Read More: ---The Spieghel der zeevaerdt opens with a beautifully engraved title page and a dedication to William I, Prince of Orange, followed by an introduction to the art of navigation, including an explanation of how a nautical atlas is produced and how it should be used. The atlas also includes the routes and distances between many points on West-European coasts.---

Bacon’s analysis of the “cave of custom” and the necessity of understanding the “Idols” that distort the thinking of the average man, are the product of long observation of men under emotional stress. He warned that knowledge without charity could be as dangerous as the modern world has finally discovered it to be. In contrast to today’s warring nationalisms, Bacon spoke in The Great Instauration of bearing a strong love for ” the human republic, our common country.”

Read More: ---The frontispiece to Sprat's History of the Royal Society depicts the president of the Royal Society and Francis Bacon sitting on either side of a bust of Charles II. The newly restored king, Charles, is labelled "Author and Patron of the Royal Society," and Francis Bacon, holding the seal of England, is labelled "Renovator of Arts." Bacon points to artillery and mathematical instruments while on the side of the president is a shelf of books. In the background are more scientific instruments, including an air pump. The sweep of hand motions leads the observer to circle between books and instruments.---

Bacon was intent to turn man into an actively anticipatory creature, rather than a backward yearning one. In doing so, he contended against great obstacles. He fought against the vested interests of the Scholastic teachers indifferent to experiment and change; particularly, the widespread belief that the classical past would never be equalled because the world has sunk in decay and is destined to perish at no very distant date. This last notion, which was widely accepted and promoted, was destructive of initiative and conducive to indifference.

Read More: Bacon. Paul van Somer. --- He left debts to the amount of £22,000. At the time of his death he was engaged upon Sylva Sylvarum. The intellect of Bacon was one of the most powerful and searching ever possessed by man, and his developments of the inductive philosophy revolutionised the future thought of the human race. The most popular of his works is the Essays, which convey profound and condensed thought in a style that is at once clear and rich. His moral character was singularly mixed and complex, and bears no comparison with his intellect. It exhibits a singular coldness and lack of enthusiasm, and indeed a bluntness of moral perception and an absence of attractiveness rarely combined with such extraordinary mental endowments.---

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