« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
by which all mankind swerve from the truth, are, ticians, &c., to their respective sciences, are glarof two classes : 1st. When man is under the in- ing instances. fluence of a passion more powerful than the love Idols of the Theatre, or depraved theories, are, of truth, as worldly interest, crying “Great is of course, infinite and inveterate; appearing in Diana of the Ephesians:" or, 2dly, When,under the that numerous litter of strange, senseless, absurd influence of the love of truth, he, like every lover, is opinions, which crawl about the world to the hurried without due and cautious inquiry by the disgrace of reason, and the wretchedness of manhope of possessing the object of his affections: kind. which manifests itself either in hasty assent, or Upon the destruction of these idols, Bacon is hasty generalization, the parents of credulity —in unceasing in his exhortations. “ They must," tenacity in retaining opinions, the parent of preju- he says, “ by the lover of truth be solemnly and dice :-in abandoning universality, the parent of forever renounced, that the understanding may be feeble inquiry:-or in indulging in subtleties and purged and cleansed; for the kingdom of man, refinements and endless inquiry, the parent of vain which is founded in the sciences, can scarce be speculations, spinning out of itself cobwebs of entered otherwise than the Kingdom of God, that learning, admirable for their fineness of texture, is, in the condition of little children :” and, with but of no substance or profit.
an earnestness not often found in his works, he As men associate by discourse, and words are adds, “If we have any humility towards the imposed according to the capacity of the vulgar, Creator; if we have any reverence and esteem of a false and improper imposition of words unavoid- his works; if we have any charity towards men, ably possesses the understanding, leading men or any desire of relieving their miseries and neaway to idle controversies and subtleties, irreme- cessities ; if we have any love for natural truths; diable by definitions, which, consisting of words, any aversion to darkness, any desire of purifying shoot back, like the Tartar's bow, upon the the understanding, we must destroy these idols, judgment from whence they came.
which have led experience captive, and childishly These defects of words, or Idols of the Market, triumphed over the works of God; and now at are either names of non-existences, as the primum length condescend, with due submission and vemobile, the element of fire, &c.; or confused names neration, to approach and peruse the volume of of existences, as beauty, virtue, &c.; which, from the creation ; dwell some time upon it, and bringthe subtlety of nature being infinite, and of words ing to the work a mind well purged of opinions, finite, must always exist. Words tell the mi- idols, and false notions, converse familiarly therenutes, but not the seconds. When we attempt to in. This volume is the language which has gone reach heaven, we are stopped by the confusion of out to all the ends of the earth, unaffected by the languages.
confusion of Babel; this is the language that men The Idols of the Den, or attachment by particu- should thoroughly learn, and not disdain to have lar individuals to particular opinions, he thus ex- its alphabet perpetually in their hands; and in plains: “We every one of us have our particular the interpretation of this language they should den or cavern, which refracts and corrupts the spare no pains, but strenuously proceed, perselight of nature ; either because every man has his vere, and dwell upon it to the last.” respective temper, education, acquaintance, course Such is a faint outline of Bacon's celebrated of reading, and authorities; or from the difference doctrine of idols, which has sometimes been supof impressions, as they happen in a mind preju- posed to be the most important of all his works, diced or prepossessed, or in one that is calm and and to expose the cause of all the errors by which equal. Of which defects Plato's cave is an ex- man is misled. cellent emblem : for, certainly, if a man were con- Upon the motives by which the lover of truth, tinued from his childhood to mature age in a seeking nature with all her fruits about her, can grotto or dark and subterraneous cave, and then alone be actuated, and which he has explained in should come suddenly abroad, and should behold other parts of his works, he, in the Novum Orthe stately canopy of heaven and the furniture of ganum, contents himself with saying, « We the world, without doubt he would have many would in general admonish all to consider the true strange and absurd imaginations come into his ends of knowledge, and not to seek it for the gramind and people his brain. So in like manner tification of their minds, or for disputation, or we live in the view of heaven, yet our spirits are that they may despise others, or for emolument, enclosed in the caves of our bodies, complexions, or fame, or power, or such low objects, but for its and customs, which must needs minister unto us intrinsic merit and the purposes of life.” infinite images of error and vain opinions, if they The obstacles to the acquisition of knowledge do seldom and for so short a time appear above are: ground out of their holes, and do not continually
1. Worldly occupation. live under the contemplation of nature, as in the 1. Want of time, 2. Sickness. open air.” Of these Idols of the Den, the attach
3. Shortness of life. went of professional men, divines, lawyers, poli- 2. Want of means.
Upon the obstacles from want of time, more his astonishment that no mortal should have taken imaginary than real, if time is not wasted in frivo- care to open and prepare a way for the human lous pursuits, in sensuality or in sleep, in misappli- understanding, from sense and a well-conducted cation of times of recreation, or in idle curiosity, the experience, but that all things should be left Novum Organum contains but one casual, conso- either to the darkness of tradition, the giddy agilatory observation : “We judge also that mankind tation and whirlwind of argument, or else to the may conceive some hopes from our example, uncertain waves of accident, or a vague and uninwhich we offer, not by way of ostentation, but formed experience. To open this way, to discover because it may be useful.”
how our reason shall be guided, that it may be The obstacles to the acquisition of knowledge right, that it be not a blind guide, but direct us from want of means he through life deeply felt, to the place where the star appears, and point us and he never omitted an opportunity earnestly to to the very place where the babe lieth, is the great express his hope that it would be diminished or object of this inquiry. destroyed by such a collection of natural history As our opinions are formed by impressions as would show the world, not as man has made made upon our senses, by confidence in the comit, not as it exists only in imagination, but as it munications of others, and by our own meditations, really exists, as God has made it.
man, in the infancy of his reason, is unavoidably Anxious to lay the true foundation of philoso- in error: for, although our senses never deceive phy, he, in the Novum Organum, availed himself us, the communications made by others, and our of the power with which he was intrusted, to own speculations must, according to the ignorance induce the king to form such a collection of natu- of our teachers, and the liveliness of our own ral history as he had measured out in his mind, imaginations, teem with error. and such as really ought to be procured; "a great Bacon saw the evil, and he saw the remedy: and royal work, requiring the purse of a prince he saw and taught his contemporaries and future and the assistance of a people.” He, therefore, ages, that reasoning is nothing worth, except as in the dedication, and in his presentation letter, it is founded on facts. urged the king to imitate Solomon, by procuring In his Sylva Sylvarum, he thus speaks: “The the compilation and completion of such a natural philosophy of Pythagoras, which was full of and experimental history as should be serviceable superstition, did first plant a monstrous imaginafor raising the superstructure of philosophy: that, tion, which afterwards was, by the school of Plato at length, after so many ages, philosophy and the and others, watered and nourished. It was, that sciences may no longer be unsettled and specula- the world was one entire, perfect, living creature; tive, but fixed on the solid foundation of a varied that the ebbing and flowing of the sea was the and well-considered experience: and in his reply respiration of the world, drawing in water as to the king's acknowledgment of the receipt of breath, and putting it forth again. They went on the Novum Organum, he repeats his hope that and inferred, that if the world were a living creathe king will aid him in employing the commu- ture, it had a soul and spirit. This foundation nity in collecting a natural and experimental his- being laid, they might build upon it what they tory, as " basis totius negotii; for who can tell, would; for in a living creature, though never so now this mine of truth is opened, how the veins great, as, for example, in a great whale, the sense, go, and what lieth higher, and what lieth lower?" and the effects of any one part of the body,
Such were the hopes in which he indulged. instantly make a transcursion throughout the So difficult is it to love and be wise. The king whole body: so that by this they did insinuate complimented him upon his work, saying, that, that no distance of place, nor want or indisposition like the peace of God, it passeth all understand of matter, could hinder magical operation; but ing;” but of a collection of natural history, “ ne that, for example, we might here in Europe have verbum quidem.”
sense and feeling of that which was done in China. Annexed to this doctrine of idols, there are with these vast and bottomless follies, men have some inquiries into the signs of false philosophy; been in part entertained. But we that hold firm the causes of the errors in philosophy; and the to the works of God, and to the sense, which is grounds of hope that knowledge must be progres- God's lamp, Lucerna Dei Spiraculum Hominis, sive; hopes which he had beautifully stated in will inquire, with all sobriety and severity, whethe conclusion of his Advancement of Learning. ther there is to be found, in the footsteps of nature,
After having thus cleared the way by consider- any such transmission and influx of immateriate ing the modes by which we are warped from the virtues." truth ; by which, formed to adore the true God, In this state of darkness was society involved, we fall down and worship an idol : after having when Bacon formed his Art of Invention, which admonished us, that, in the conduct of the under consists in collecting all bodies that havo any standing, a false step may be fatal, that a cripple affinity with the nature sought; and in a systema in the right will beat a racer in the wrong way, tic examination of the bodies collected. erring in proportion to his fleetness, he expresses To discover facts is, therefore, his first object;
but, as natural and experimental history is so co- | Another use, therefore, of this table is to discover pious and diffusive as to confound and distract the nature sought by observing its qualities which the understanding, unless digested in proper are absent in the analogous nature, “ like the order, tables are formed and so digested, that the images of Cassius and Brutus, in the funeral of understanding may commodiously work upon Junia ;" of which, not being represented as many them.
others were, Tacitus saith, “ Eo ipso præfulgebant quod non visebantur."
COMPARISONS OF HEAT.
Animal heat varies from mi.
The first, or Affirmative Table, consists of a general collection of all the known analogous in
The third, or Table of Comparisons, consists of stances which agree in the nature sought, from comparison of quantity of the nature sought in the subjects however dissimilar or sordid they may
same bodies and in different bodies. Thus, be supposed to be, and without being deterred by the apparent number of particulars. If, for instance, the nature sought be heat or In different bodies.
In the same body. light, these tables may be thus conceived :
There is no solid body natu
nute perceptibility to about grees capable of heat,
the heat of the hottest day. The Sun's direct Rays. The Heavenly Bodies.
There is no whole vegetable
It is always endurable. It Forked Lightning. Rotten Wood.
hot to the external touch. is increased by food, venery, Flame. Putrid scales of Fish. Living animals.
exercise, fever, &c. Blood of Terrestrial Animals. Glow Worms.
In some fevers the heat is Living Animals. Sugar scraped. Anvil struck by hammer.
constant, in others intermit. Pepper masticated, Eyes of certain Animals. The continuance of a body in
tent, &c. &c. &c. Drops of Salt Water from ours.
Heat varies in different parts
of the same body.
Animals differ in heat, &c.
Boiling lead. Such is the object of his first or affirmative table, Gas.
Flame. which, he warns his reader, is not to raise the edi- Lightning.
1. The lambent flame, related
Acids, fice, but merely to collect the materials, and
by historians to have ap&c. &c.
peared on the heads of which is, therefore, to be made without any hasty
children, gently playing indulgence of speculation, although the mind
about the hair. may, in proportion to its ingenuity, accidentally,
2. The coruscations seen in a
clear night on a sweating from an inspection of affirmative instances, arrive
horse. at a just conclusion.
3. Of the glow-worm.
5. Of spirits of wine.
6. Of vegetables, straw, dry
7. Of boiling metals. The second, or Negative Table, consists of a
8. Of blast furnaces. collection of all the known instances of similar bodies, which do not agree in the same nature.
By observing in this table the cause of the difThus, let the nature sought be heat.
ferent quantities of the nature sought, some approximation may be made to the nature itself.
Thus, vegetables, or common water, do not exhiAffirmative Table.
bit heat to the touch, but masticated pepper or The Sun's direct Rays. The Moon's Rays.
boiling water are hot. Flame is hotter than the Blood of Terrestrial Animals. Blood of Fish.
human body: boiling water than warm. Is there Living Animal
Dead Animals. Boiling Water
any difference except in the motion of the parts ? &c. &c. &c. &c.
TABLE IV. By observing this table, it appears that the blood of all animals is not hot. This table, there- Or of Exclusions, is of a more complicated nature. fore, prevents hasty generalization: “As if Samuel Bacon assumes that the quality of any nature can be should have rested in those sons of Jesse which ascertained by its being always present when were brought before him in the house, and should the sought nature is present: is always absent not have sought David, who was absent in the when the sought nature is absent: increases always field.”
with its increase, and decreases with its decrease. By observing the table, it also appears, that Upon this principle his table of exclusion is boiling water is hot; ice is cold :- living bodies formed, by excluding, 1st, Such particular natures are hot; dead bodies are cold;—but in boiling as are not found in any instances where the given water and in living bodies there is motion of nature is present; or, 2d, Such as are found in any parts : in ice and dead bodies they are fixed. I instances where that nature is absent; and, 3d,
Such as are found to increase in any instance
1. EXCLUSION OF IRRELEVANTS. when the given nature decreases; or, 4th, To decrease when that nature increases. Thus,
Solitary Instances.-If the inquiry be into the Nature varying according to
nature of colour: a rainbow and a piece of glass Natures not always present with
in a stable window, differ in every thing except some inverse law of the the sought nature.
sought nature. in the prismatic colours; they are therefore soliWhich may be which may be which may in- Which mayde. tary in resemblance. The different parts of the absent when present when crease as the crease as the same piece of marble, the different parts of a the sought na- the sought na- sought nature sought nature leaf of a variegated tulip, agree in every thing, ture is present ture is absent. decreases.
save the colour; they are, therefore, solitary in Light. Fluidity. Quiescence of Light. difference. Quiescence of Motion of the parts, Iron may be
By thus contracting the limits of the inquiry, parts, whole body. &c.
heated to a Quiescence of
greater heat may it not possibly be inferred, that colour departs.
than the flame pends upon refraction of the rays of light? of spirit of Nature in motion.-Observe nature in her proQuiescence of
cesses. If any man desired to consider and exparts,
amine the contrivances and industry of a certain
artificer, he would not be content to view only the The object of this exclusion is to make a per- rude materials of the workman, and then immedifect resolution and separation of nature, not by fire, ately the finished work, but covet to be present but by the mind, which is, as it were, the divine whilst the artist prosecutes his labour, and exerfire: that, after this rejection and exclusion is cises his skill. And the like course should be duly made, the affirmative, solid, true, and well- taken in the works of nature. defined form will remain as the result of the ope- Travelling Instances.-In inquiring into any ration, whilst the volatile opinions go off in fume. nature, observe its progress in approaching to or
receding from existence. Let the inquiry be
into the nature of whiteness. Take a piece of The fifth table of Results, termed the first clear glass and a vessel of clear water, pound the vintage or dawn of doctrine, consists of a collec- glass into fine dust and agitate the water, the tion of such natures as always accompany the pulverised glass and the surface of the water will sought nature, increase with its increase, and de- appear white; and this whiteness will have tracrease with its decrease.
velled from non-existence into existence. Again, It appears, that, in all instances, the nature of take a vessel full of any liquor with froth at the heat is motion of parts ;—flame is perpetually in top, or take snow, let the froth subside and the motion ;-hot or boiling liquors are in continual snow melt; the whiteness will disappear, and agitation ;—the sharpness and intensity of heat will have travelled from existence to non-existis increased by motion, as in bellows and blasts; ence. -existing fire and heat are extinguished by strong Journeying Instances.-In inquiring into any compression, which checks and puts a stop to all nature, observe its motions gradually continued or motion ;-all bodies are destroyed, or at least contracted. An inquirer into the vegetation of remarkably altered, by heat; and, when heat plants should have an eye from the first sowing wholly escapes from the body, it rests from its of the seed, and examine it almost every day, by labours; and hence it appears, that heat is mo- taking or plucking up a seed after it had remained tion, and nothing else.
for one, two, or three days in the ground; to obHaving collected and winnowed, by the various serve with diligence when, and in what manner tables, the different facts presented to the senses, the seed begins to swell, grow plump, and he proposed to examine them by nine different be filled or become turgid, as it were, with processes: of which he has investigated only the spirit; next, how it bursts the skin, and strikes first, or Prerogative Instances, those instances its fibres with some tendency upwards, unless the by which the nature sought is most easily disco- earth be very stubborn; how it shoots its fibres vered. They may be thus exhibited :
in part, to constitute roots downwards; in part,
to form stems upwards, and sometimes creeping 11. Solitary.
sideways, if it there find the earth more open, 2. Travelling. 3. Journeying.
pervious, and yielding, with many particulars of irrelevants.
the same kind. And the like should be done as 1. Contracting the
to eggs during their hatching, where the whole inquiries with
1. Patent and Latent process of vivification and organization might be
2. Maxima. Minima. easily viewed; and what becomes of the yolk, spicuous, 4. Singular.
what of the white, &c. The same is also to be 2. Reality and Appearances.
attempted in inanimate bodies; and this we
have endeavoured after, by observing the ways
ri. Exclusion of
4. Nature in motion.
in narrow li.
2. Nature con
(6. Deviating. 3. Resemblances and Differences.
1. The art of making
2 . strong impressions.
2. The agent.
SI, Variety of impression.
2. Places for artificial me. (1. Cutting off infinity
mory. 2. The art of recalling,
3. Technical inemory. impressions.
2. Reducing intellectual to sepsible things,
wherein liquors open themselves by fire; for water it was carried; the scent of the bloodhound; the opens one way, wine another, verjuice another, loadstone amongst stones; that species of flowers and milk, oil, &c., with a still greater difference. which do not die when plucked from the stalk,
Constituent Instances.-In inquiring into any but continue their colours and forms unaltered nature, separate complex into simple natures. through the winter. So with grammarians the Let the nature sought be memory, or the means letter G is held singular for the easiness of its of exciting and helping the memory: the consti- composition with consonants, sometimes with tuent instances may be thus exhibited :
double and sometimes with triple ones, which is
a property of no other letter. So the number 9 . The patient. 2. The mind free.
amongst figares possesses the peculiar property, that the sum of the digits of all its multiples is 9.1
Instances of Divorce.—Observe the separation of such natures as are generally united. Light and
heat are generally united; but in a cold moonlight Such are specimens of his mode of excluding night there is light without heat, and in hot water irrelevant natures.
there is heat without light. The action of one body upon another is in general affected by the
medium through which it acts; thus sound va2. OBSERVING THE NATURE WHERE MOST CON
ries with the state of the atmosphere, and through SPICUOUS, OR INSTANCES OF EXTREMES.
a thick wall is scarcely perceptible. The magPatent and Latent Instances. In inquiring into netic attraction seems to be an instance of any nature, observe where the nature, in its usual divorce, as it acts indifferently through all mestate, appears most conspicuous, and where it diums. appears in its weakest and most imperfect state. Deviating Instances. Observe nature when ap
The loadstone is a glaring instance of attrac- parently deviating from her accustomed course; tion. The thermometer is a glaring instance of as in all cases of monsters, prodigious births, the expansive nature of heat. Flame exhibits its &c. He who knows the ways of nature will expansive nature to the sense, but it is momentary the easier observe her deviations; and he who and vanishes. Again, let the inquiry be into the knows her deviations, will more exactly describe nature of solidity, the contrary of which is fluid- her ways. For the business in this matter is no ity. Froth, snow, bubbles, whether of soap and more than by quick scent to trace out the footways water, blown by children, or those which may be of nature in her wilful wanderings, that so afterseen occasionally on the surface of a fluid or on the ward you may be able at your pleasure to lead or side of a vessel, or the looking-glasses made of force her to the same place and posture again. As spittle by children in a loop of a single hair or a a man's disposition is never well known till he be rush, where we see a consistent pellicule of water, crossed, nor did Proteus ever change shapes till like infant ice, exhibit solidity in its most feeble he was straitened and held fast. states.
Such are specimens of his modes of viewing Maxima and Minima. In inquiring into any nature where most conspicuous. nature, observe it in its extremes, or its maxima and minima. Gold in weight; iron in hardness; 3. FIXING THE REAL, BETWEEN DIFFERENT APPAthe whale in bulk of animal bodies; the hound in scent; the explosion of gunpowder in sudden expansion, are instances of maxima. The minute
Crucial Instances. When, in inquiring into any worms in the skin is an instance of minimum in particular nature, the mind is in æquilibrio between animal bulk.
two causes, observe if there is not some instance Frontier Instances. Observe those species of which marks the cause of the sought nature. Let bodies which seem composed of two species; as the nature sought be gravity. Heavy bodies, moss, which is something betwixt putrefaction having a tendency to the earth, must fall ex mero and a plant; flying fishes, which are a species motu, from their own construction, or be attracted betwixt birds and fish; bats, which are betwixt by the earth. Let two equal bodies fall through birds and quadrupeds; the beast so like ourselves, equal spaces at different distances from the earth, the ape; the biformed births of animals; the and if they fall through these equal spaces in unmixtures of different species, &c.
equal times, the descent is influenced by the atSingular Instances. In inquiring into any na- traction of the earth. ture, observe those instances which, in regular course, are solitary amidst their own natures.
Thus 9x2=18 and 8+1=9. Quicksilver amongst metals; the power of the
9x3=27 and 2+7=9. carrier pigeon to return to the place from whence
9Xll=99 and 9+9=18 and 1+8=9