Francis Bacon: The Temper of a Man
Fordham Univ Press, 1993 - 245 Seiten
The portrait Bowen paints of this controversial man, Francis Bacon (1561-1626), balances the outward life and actions of Bacon with the seemingly contradictory aspects of his refined philosophical reflections. When Bacon's more notorious attributes are set in historical context, his actions seem less personally vindictive against the backdrop of an entire age seemingly devoted to the very vanity and ingenuousness with which he is so often accused. As Lord Chancellor of England, Bacon was impeached by Parliament for taking bribes in office, convicted, and banished from London an the law courts. In a prayer Bacon composed during the interval following his punishment, he reveals that the dichotomy of his existence was no more deeply felt than by himself, and he readily admits that his obligations to society were not as suited to his nature as the study of philosophy, science and law. Modem scholars hold Bacon's philosophical works, "Novum Organum", "Advancement of Learning" and "New Atlantis" as his greatest achievements. Bowen's story reveals a man whose genius it was not to immerse himself in the rigour of scientific experimentation, but to realise what questions science should ask, and thereby reach beyond the status quo and appeal to the wider imagination of his generation. In his writings, Bacon challenged established social and religious orders, raised questions about mind/body relation and the role of dreams, and foresaw the day when scientists at colleges and universities would share experimentation. It is Bacon's legacy to have gone beyond his age and, out of pure intuition, anticipate the concerns of future generations.
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Seite 111 - I do confess, since I was of any understanding, my mind hath in effect been absent from that I have done; and in absence are many errors which I do willingly acknowledge; and amongst the rest this great one that led the rest; that knowing myself by inward calling to be fitter to hold a book than to play a part, I have led my life in civil causes; for which I was not very fit by nature, and more unfit by the preoccupation of my mind.
Seite 195 - Besides my innumerable sins, I confess before thee, that I am debtor to thee for the gracious talent of thy gifts and graces, which I have neither put into a napkin, nor put it (as I ought) to exchangers, where it might have made best profit, but mis-spent it in things for which I was least fit : so I may truly say, my soul hath been a stranger in the course of my pilgrimage.
Seite 42 - The rising unto place is laborious ; \ and by pains men come to greater pains, and it is sometimes base ; and by indignities men come to dignities. The standing is slippery, and the regress is either a downfall or at least an eclipse, which is a melancholy thing : Cum non sis qui fueris, non esse cur velis vivere.
Seite xii - I have taken all knowledge to be my province; and if I could purge it of two sorts of rovers, whereof the one with frivolous disputations, confutations, and verbosities; the other with blind experiments and auricular traditions and impostures, hath committed so many spoils; I hope I should bring in industrious observations, grounded conclusions, and profitable inventions and discoveries ; the best state of that province. This, whether it be curiosity, or vain glory, or nature, or, if one take it...
Seite 92 - Solicitor together, but either to serve with another, upon your remove, or to step into some other course ; so as I am more free than ever I was from any occasion of unworthy conforming myself to you more than general good manners, or your particular good usage shall provoke : and, if you had not been shortsighted in your own fortune, as I think, you might have had more use of me ; but that tide is passed.
Seite 170 - For our ordinances and rites, we have two very long and fair galleries: in one of these we place patterns and samples of all manner of the more rare and excellent inventions; in the other we place the statues of all principal inventors.
Seite 172 - For whose returns, and many, all these pray, And so do I. This is the sixtieth year Since Bacon and thy Lord was born, and here ; Son to the grave, wise Keeper of the Seal, Fame and foundation of the English weal. What then his father was, that since is he. Now with a title more to the degree ; England's high Chancellor, the destined heir In his soft cradle to his father's chair ; Whose even thread the fates spin round and full Out of their choicest and their whitest wool.
Seite 195 - It resteth, therefore, that, without fig-leaves, I do ingenuously confess and acknowledge that, having understood the particulars of the charge, not formally from the House, but enough to inform my conscience and memory, I find matter sufficient and full, both to move me to desert the defense, and to move your Lordships to condemn and censure me.