Aphorism 70
Aphorism 80
Aphorism 90
Aphorism 100
Aphorism 110
Aphorism 120
Aphorism 130 (end of Book I)

Atque de idolorum singulis generibus, eorumque apparatu jam diximus ; quae onmia constanti et solenni decreto sunt abneganda et renuncianda, et intellectus ab iis omnino liberandus est et expurgandus ; ut non alius fere sit aditus ad regnum hominis, quod fundatur in scientiis, quam ad regnum coelorum, in quod, nisi sub persona infantis, intrare non datur. So much concerning the several classes of Idols and their equipage; all of which must be renounced and put away with a fixed and solemn determination, and the understanding thoroughly freed and cleansed; the entrance into the kingdom of man, founded on the sciences, being not much other than the entrance into the kingdom of heaven, whereinto none may enter except as a little child.
At pravae demonstrationes, idolorum veluti munitiones quaedam sunt et praesidia ; eaeque, quas in dialecticis habemus, id fere agunt, ut mundum plane cogitationibus humanis, cogitationes autem verbis addicant et mancipent. Demonstrationes vero potentia quadam philosophiae ipsae sunt et scientiae. Quales enim eae sunt, ac prout rite aut male institutae, tales sequuntur philosophiae et contemplationes. Fallunt autem et incompetentes sunt eae quibus utimur in universo illo processu, qui a sensu et rebus ducit ad axiomata et conclusiones. Qui quidem processus quadruplex est, et vitia ejus totidem. Primo, impressiones sensus ipsius vitiosae sunt ; sensus enim et destituit et fallit. At destitutionibus substitutiones, fallaciis rectificationes debentur. Secundo, notiones ab impressionibus sensuum male abstrahuntur, et interminatae et confusae sunt, quas terminatas et bene finitas esse oportuit. Tertio, inductio mala est, quae per enumerationem simplicem principia concludit scientiarum, non adhibitis exclusionibus et solutionibus, sive separationibus naturae debitis. Postremo, modus ille inveniendi et probandi, ut primo principia maxime generalia constituantur, deinde media axiomata ad ea applicentur et probentur, errorum mater est, et scientiarum omnium calamitas. Verum de istis, quae jam obiter perstringimus, fusius dicemus, quum veram interpretandae naturae viam, absolutis istis expiationibus et expurgationibus mentis, proponemus. But vicious demonstrations are as the strongholds and defenses of idols; and those we have in logic do little else than make the world the bondslave of human thought, and human thought the bondslave of words. Demonstrations truly are in effect the philosophies themselves and the sciences. For such as they are, well or ill established, such are the systems of philosophy and the contemplations which follow. Now in the whole of the process which leads from the sense and objects to axioms and conclusions, the demonstrations which we use are deceptive and incompetent. This process consists of four parts, and has as many faults. In the first place, the impressions of the sense itself are faulty; for the sense both fails us and deceives us. But its shortcomings are to be supplied, and its deceptions to be corrected. Secondly, notions are ill-drawn from the impressions of the senses, and are indefinite and confused, whereas they should be definite and distinctly bounded. Thirdly, the induction is amiss which infers the principles of sciences by simple enumeration, and does not, as it ought, employ exclusions and solutions (or separations) of nature. Lastly, that method of discovery and proof according to which the most general principles are first established, and then intermediate axioms are tried and proved by them, is the parent of error and the curse of all science. Of these things, however, which now I do but touch upon, I will speak more largely when, having performed these expiations and purgings of the mind, I come to set forth the true way for the interpretation of nature.
Sed demonstratio longe optima est experientia ; modo haereat in ipso experimento. Nam si traducatur ad alia quae similia existimantur, nisi rite et ordine fiat illa traductio, res fallax est. At modus experiendi, quo homines nunc utuntur, caecus est et stupidus. Itaque cum errant et vagantur nulla via certa, sed ex occursu rerum tantum consilium capiunt, circumferuntur ad multa, sed parum promovent ; et quandoque gestiunt, quandoque distrahuntur ; et semper inveniunt quod ulterius quaerant. Fere autem ita fit, ut homines leviter et tanquam per ludum experiantur, variando paululum experimenta jam cognita ; et, si res non succedat, fastidiendo et conatum deserendo. Quod si magis serio et constanter ac laboriose ad experimenta se accingant, tamen in uno aliquo experimento eruendo operam collocant ; quemadmodum Gilbertus in magnete, Chymici in auro. Hoc autem faciunt homines instituto non minus imperito quam tenui. Nemo enim alicujus rei naturam in ipsa re feliciter perscrutatur ; sed amplianda est inquisitio ad magis communia. Quod si etiam scientiam quandam et dogmata ex experimentis moliantur ; tamen semper fere studio praepropero et intempestivo deflectunt ad praxin : non tantum propter usum et fructum ejusmodi praxeos, sed ut in opere aliquo novo veluti pignus sibi arripiant, se non inutiliter in reliquis versaturos : atque etiam aliis se venditent, ad existimationem meliorem comparandam de iis in quibus occupati sunt. Ita fit ut, more Atalantae, de via decedant ad tollendum aureum pomum ; interim vero cursum interrumpant, et victoriam emittant e manibus. Verum in experientiae vero curriculo eoque ad nova opera producendo, Divina Sapientia omnino et ordo pro exemplari sumenda sunt. Deus autem primo die creationis lucem tantum creavit, eique operi diem integrum attribuit ; nec aliquid materiati operis eo die creavit. Similiter et ex omnimoda experientia, primum inventio causarum et axiomatum verorum elicienda est : et lucifera experimenta, non fructifera quaerenda. Axiomata autem recte inventa et constituta praxin non strictim sed confertim instruunt ; et operum agmina ac turmas post se trahunt. Verum de experiendi viis, quae non minus quam viae judicandi obsessae sunt et interclusae, postea dicemus ; impraesentiarum de experientia vulgari, tanquam de mala demonstratione, tantum loquuti. Jam vero postulat ordo rerum, ut de iis quorum paulo ante mentionem fecimus, signis, quod philosophiae et contemplationes in usu male se habeant, et de causis rei primo intuitu tam mirabilis et incredibilis, quaedam subjungamus. Signorum enim notio praeparat assensum : causarum vero explicatio tollit miraculum. Quae duo ad extirpationem idolorum ex intellectu faciliorem et clementiorem multum juvant. But the best demonstration by far is experience, if it go not beyond the actual experiment. For if it be transferred to other cases which are deemed similar, unless such transfer be made by a just and orderly process, it is a fallacious thing. But the manner of making experiments which men now use is blind and stupid. And therefore, wandering and straying as they do with no settled course, and taking counsel only from things as they fall out, they fetch a wide circuit and meet with many matters, but make little progress; and sometimes are full of hope, sometimes are distracted; and always find that there is something beyond to be sought. For it generally happens that men make their trials carelessly, and as it were in play; slightly varying experiments already known, and, if the thing does not answer, growing weary and abandoning the attempt. And even if they apply themselves to experiments more seriously and earnestly and laboriously, still they spend their labor in working out some one experiment, as Gilbert with the magnet, and the chemists with gold; a course of proceeding not less unskillful in the design than small in the attempt. For no one successfully investigates the nature of a thing in the thing itself; the inquiry must be enlarged so as to become more general. And even when they seek to educe some science or theory from their experiments, they nevertheless almost always turn aside with overhasty and unseasonable eagerness to practice; not only for the sake of the uses and fruits of the practice, but from impatience to obtain in the shape of some new work an assurance for themselves that it is worth their while to go on; and also to show themselves off to the world, and so raise the credit of the business in which they are engaged. Thus, like Atalanta, they go aside to pick up the golden apple, but meanwhile they interrupt their course, and let the victory escape them. But in the true course of experience, and in carrying it on to the effecting of new works, the divine wisdom and order must be our pattern. Now God on the first day of creation created light only, giving to that work an entire day, in which no material substance was created. So must we likewise from experience of every kind first endeavor to discover true causes and axioms; and seek for experiments of Light, not for experiments of Fruit. For axioms rightly discovered and established supply practice with its instruments, not one by one, but in clusters, and draw after them trains and troops of works. Of the paths, however, of experience, which no less than the paths of judgment are impeded and beset, I will speak hereafter; here I have only mentioned ordinary experimental research as a bad kind of demonstration. But now the order of the matter in hand leads me to add something both as to those signs which I lately mentioned (signs that the systems of philosophy and contemplation in use are in a bad condition), and also as to the causes of what seems at first so strange and incredible. For a knowledge of the signs prepares assent; an explanation of the causes removes the marvel — which two things will do much to render the extirpation of idols from the understanding more easy and gentle.
Scientiae, quas habemus, fere a Graecis fluxerunt. Quae enim scriptores Romani, aut Arabes, aut recentiores addiderunt, non multa aut magni momenti sunt : et qualiacunque sint, fundata sunt super basin eorum quae inventa sunt a Graecis. Erat autem sapientia Graecorum professoria, et in disputationes effusa : quod genus inquisitioni veritatis adversissimum est. Itaque nomen illud sophistarum, quod per contemptum ab iis, qui se philosophos haberi voluerunt, in antiquos rhetores rejectum et traductum est, Gorgiam, Protagoram, Hippiam, Polum, etiam universo generi competit, Platoni, Aristoteli, Zenoni, Epicuro, Theophrasto, et eorum successoribus, Chrysippo, Carneadi, reliquis. Hoc tantum intererat : quod prius genus vagum fuerit et mercenarium, civitates circumcursando, et sapientiam suam ostentando, et mercedem exigendo ; alterum vero solennius et generosius, quippe eorum qui sedes fixas habuerunt, et scholas aperuerunt, et gratis philosophati sunt. Sed tamen utrumque genus (licet caetera dispar) professorium erat, et ad disputationes rem deducebat, et sectas quasdam atque haereses philosophiae instituebat et propugnabat : ut essent fere doctrinae eorum (quod non male cavillatus est Dionysius in Platonem) Verba otiosorum senum ad imperitos juvenes. At antiquiores illi ex Graecis, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Leucippus, Democritus, Parmenides, Heraclitus, Xenophanes, Philolaus, reliqui (nam Pythagoram, ut superstitiosum, omittimus), scholas (quod novimus) non aperuerunt : sed majore silentio, et severius, et simplicius, id est, minore cum affectatione et ostentatione, ad inquisitionem veritatis se contulerunt. Itaque et melius, ut arbitramur, se gesserunt ; nisi quod opera eorum a levioribus istis, qui vulgari captui et affectui magis respondent ac placent, tractu temporis extincta sint : tempore (ut fluvio) leviora et magis inflata ad nos devehente, graviora et solida mergente. Neque tamen isti a nationis vitio prorsus immunes erant : sed in ambitionem et vanitatem sectae condendae et aurae popularis captandae nimium propendebant. Pro desperata autem habenda est veritatis inquisitio, cum ad hujusmodi inania deflectat. Etiam non omittendum videtur judicium illud, sive vaticinium potius, sacerdotis Aegyptii de Graecis : Quod semper pueri essent ; neque haberent antiquitatem scientiae, aut scientiam antiquitatis. Et certe habent id quod puerorum est ; ut ad garriendum prompti sint, generare autem non possint : nam verbosa videtur sapientia eorum, et operum sterilis. Itaque ex ortu et gente philosophiae quae in usu est, quae capiuntur signa bona non sunt. The sciences which we possess come for the most part from the Greeks. For what has been added by Roman, Arabic, or later writers is not much nor of much importance; and whatever it is, it is built on the foundation of Greek discoveries. Now the wisdom of the Greeks was professorial and much given to disputations, a kind of wisdom most adverse to the inquisition of truth. Thus that name of Sophists, which by those who would be thought philosophers was in contempt cast back upon and so transferred to the ancient rhetoricians, Gorgias, Protagoras, Hippias, Polus, does indeed suit the entire class: Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, Epicurus, Theophrastus, and their successors Chrysippus, Carneades, and the rest. There was this difference only, that the former class was wandering and mercenary, going about from town to town, putting up their wisdom to sale, and taking a price for it, while the latter was more pompous and dignified, as composed of men who had fixed abodes, and who opened schools and taught their philosophy without reward. Still both sorts, though in other respects unequal, were professorial; both turned the matter into disputations, and set up and battled for philosophical sects and heresies; so that their doctrines were for the most part (as Dionysius not unaptly rallied Plato) "the talk of idle old men to ignorant youths." But the elder of the Greek philosophers, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Leucippus, Democritus, Parmenides, Heraclitus, Xenophanes, Philolaus, and the rest (I omit Pythagoras as a mystic), did not, so far as we know, open schools; but more silently and severely and simply — that is, with less affectation and parade — betook themselves to the inquisition of truth. And therefore they were in my judgment more successful; only that their works were in the course of time obscured by those slighter persons who had more which suits and pleases the capacity and tastes of the vulgar; time, like a river, bringing down to us things which are light and puffed up, but letting weighty matters sink. Still even they were not altogether free from the failing of their nation, but leaned too much to the ambition and vanity of founding a sect and catching popular applause. But the inquisition of truth must be despaired of when it turns aside to trifles of this kind. Nor should we omit that judgment, or rather divination, which was given concerning the Greeks by the Egyptian priest — that "they were always boys, without antiquity of knowledge or knowledge of antiquity." Assuredly they have that which is characteristic of boys: they are prompt to prattle, but cannot generate; for their wisdom abounds in words but is barren of works. And therefore the signs which are taken from the origin and birthplace of the received philosophy are not good.
Neque multo meliora sunt signa quae ex natura temporis et aetatis capi possunt, quam quae ex natura loci et nationis. Angusta enim erat et tenuis notitia per illam aetatem vel temporis vel orbis : quod longe pessimum est, praesertim iis qui mnia in experientia ponunt. Neque enim mille annorum historiam, quae digna erat nomine historiae, habebant ; sed fabulas et rumores antiquitatis. Regionum vero tractuumque mundi exiguam partem noverant : cum omnes hyperboreos, Scythas, omnes occidentales, Celtas indistincte appellarent ; nil in Africa ultra citimam Aethiopiae partem, nil in Asia ultra Gangem, multo minus novi orbis provincias, ne per auditum sane aut famam aliquam certam et constantem, nossent ; imo et plurima climata et zonae, in quibus populi infiniti spirant et degunt, tanquam inhabitabiles ab illis pronuntiata sint ; quinetiam peregrinationes Democriti, Platonis, Pythagorae, non longinquae profecto, sed potius suburbanae, ut magnum aliquid celebrarentur. Nostris autem temporibus, et novi orbis partes complures et veteris orbis extrema undique innotescunt ; et in infinitum experimentorum cumulus excrevit. Quare si ex nativitatis aut geniturae tempore (astrologorum more) signa capienda sint, nil magni de istis philosophiis significari videtur. Nor does the character of the time and age yield much better signs than the character of the country and nation. For at that period there was but a narrow and meager knowledge either of time or place, which is the worst thing that can be, especially for those who rest all on experience. For they had no history worthy to be called history that went back a thousand years — but only fables and rumors of antiquity. And of the regions and districts of the world they knew but a small portion, giving indiscriminately the name of Scythians to all in the North, of Celts to all in the West; knowing nothing of Africa beyond the hither side of Ethiopia, of Asia beyond the Ganges. Much less were they acquainted with the provinces of the New World, even by hearsay or any well-founded rumor; nay, a multitude of climates and zones, wherein innumerable nations breathe and live, were pronounced by them to be uninhabitable; and the travels of Democritus, Plato, and Pythagoras, which were rather suburban excursions than distant journeys, were talked of as something great. In our times, on the other hand, both many parts of the New World and the limits on every side of the Old World are known, and our stock of experience has increased to an infinite amount. Wherefore if (like astrologers) we draw signs from the season of their nativity or birth, nothing great can be predicted of those systems of philosophy.
Inter signa, nullum magis certum aut nobile est, quam quod ex fructibus. Fructus enim et opera inventa pro veritate philosophiarum velut sponsores et fidejussores sunt. Atque ex philosophiis istis Graecorum, et derivationibus earum per particulares scientias, jam per tot annorum spatia, vix unum experimentum adduci potest, quod ad hominum statum levandum et juvandum spectet, et philosophiae speculationibus ac dogmatibus vere acceptum referri possit. Idque Celsus ingenue ac prudenter fatetur ; nimirum, experimenta medicinae primo inventa fuisse, ac postea homines circa ea philosophatos esse et causas indagasse et assignasse ; non ordine inverso evenisse, ut ex philosophia et causarum cognitione ipsa experimenta inventa aut deprompta essent. Itaque mirum non erat, apud Aegyptios (qui rerum inventoribus divinitatem et consecrationem attribuerunt) plures fuisse brutorum animalium imagines quam hominum : quia bruta animalia, per instinctus naturales, multa inventa perpererunt ; ubi homines, ex sermonibus et conclusionibus rationalibus, pauca aut nulla exhibuerint. At Chymicorum industria nonnulla peperit ; sed tanquam fortuito et obiter, aut per experimentorum quandam variationem (ut mechanici solent), non ex arte aut theoria aliqua ; nam ea, quam confinxerunt, experimenta magis perturbat, quam juvat. Eorum etiam, qui in magia (quam vocant) naturali versati sunt, pauca reperiuntur inventa ; eaque levia, et imposturae propiora. Quocirca, quemadmodum in religione cavetur, ut fides ex operibus monstretur ; idem etiam ad philosophiam optime traducitur, ut ex fructibus judicetur et vana habeatur quae sterilis sit : atque eo magis si, loco fructuum uvae et olivae, producat disputationum et contentionum carduos et spinas. Of all signs there is none more certain or more noble than that taken from fruits. For fruits and works are as it were sponsors and sureties for the truth of philosophies. Now, from all these systems of the Greeks, and their ramifications through particular sciences, there can hardly after the lapse of so many years be adduced a single experiment which tends to relieve and benefit the condition of man, and which can with truth be referred to the speculations and theories of philosophy. And Celsus ingenuously and wisely owns as much when he tells us that the experimental part of medicine was first discovered, and that afterwards men philosophized about it, and hunted for and assigned causes; and not by an inverse process that philosophy and the knowledge of causes led to the discovery and development of the experimental part. And therefore it was not strange that among the Egyptians, who rewarded inventors with divine honors and sacred rites, there were more images of brutes than of men; inasmuch as brutes by their natural instinct have produced many discoveries, whereas men by discussion and the conclusions of reason have given birth to few or none. Some little has indeed been produced by the industry of chemists; but it has been produced accidentally and in passing, or else by a kind of variation of experiments, such as mechanics use, and not by any art or theory. For the theory which they have devised rather confuses the experiments than aids them. They, too, who have busied themselves with natural magic, as they call it, have but few discoveries to show, and those trifling and imposture-like. Wherefore, as in religion we are warned to show our faith by works, so in philosophy by the same rule the system should be judged of by its fruits, and pronounced frivolous if it be barren, more especially if, in place of fruits of grape and olive, it bear thorns and briers of dispute and contention.
Capienda etiam sunt signa ex incrementis et progressibus philosophiarum et scientiarum. Quae enim in natura fundata sunt, crescunt et augentur : quae autem in opinione, variantur, non augentur. Itaque si istae doctrinae plane instar plantae a stirpibus suis revulsae non essent, sed utero naturae adhaererent atque ab eadem alerentur, id minime eventurum fuisset, quod per annos bis mille jam fieri videmus : nempe, ut scientiae suis haereant vestigiis, et in eodem fere statu maneant, neque augmentum aliquod memorabile sumpserint ; quin potius in primo authore maxime floruerint, et deinceps declinaverint. In artibus autem mechanicis, quae in natura et experientiae luce fundatae sunt, contra evenire videmus : quae (quamdiu placent) veluti spiritu quodam repletae continuo vegetant et crescunt ; primo rudes, deinde commodae, postea excultae, et perpetuo auctae. Signs also are to be drawn from the increase and progress of systems and sciences. For what is founded on nature grows and increases, while what is founded on opinion varies but increases not. If therefore those doctrines had not plainly been like a plant torn up from its roots, but had remained attached to the womb of nature and continved to draw nourishment from her, that could never have come to pass which we have seen now for twice a thousand years; namely, that the sciences stand where they did and remain almost in the same condition, receiving no noticeable increase, but on the contrary, thriving most under their first founder, and then declining. Whereas in the mechanical arts, which are founded on nature and the light of experience, we see the contrary happen, for these (as long as they are popular) are continually thriving and growing, as having in them a breath of life, at the first rude, then convenient, afterwards adorned, and at all times advancing.
Etiam aliud signum capiendum est (si modo signi appellatio huic competat ; cum potius testimonium sit, atque adeo testimoniorum omnium validissimum) ; hoc est, propria confessio authorum, quos homines nunc sequuntur. Nam et illi qui tanta fiducia de rebus pronuntiant, tamen per intervalla cum ad se redeunt, ad querimonias de naturae subtilitate, rerum obscuritate, humani ingenii infirmitate, se convertunt. Hoc vero si simpliciter fieret, alios fortasse, qui sunt timidiores, ab ulteriori inquisitione deterrere, alios vero, qui sunt ingenio alacriori et magis fidenti, ad ulteriorem progressum acuere et incitare possit. Verum non satis illis est de se confiteri, sed quicquid sibi ipsis aut magistris suis incognitum aut intactum fuerit id extra terminos possibilis ponunt, et tanquam ex arte cognitu aut factu impossiblile pronuntiant : summa superbia et invidia suorum inventorum infirmitatem in naturae ipsius calumniam et aliorum omnium desperationem vertentes. Hinc schola Academiae novae, quae acatalepsiam ex professo tenuit, et homines ad sempiternas tenebras damnavit. Hinc opinio, quod formae sive verae rerum differentiae (quae revera sunt leges actus puri) inventu impossibiles sint, et ultra hominem. Hinc opiniones illae in activa et operativa parte : calorem solis et ignis toto genere differre ; ne scilicet homines putent se per opera ignis aliquid simile iis quae in natura fiunt educere et formare posse. Hinc illud : compositionem tantum opus hominis, mistionem vero opus solius naturae esse ; ne scilicet homines sperent aliquam ex arte corporum naturalium generationem aut transformationem. Itaque ex hoc signo homines sibi persuaderi facile patientur, ne cum dogmatibus non solum desperatis, sed etiam desperationi devotis, fortunas suas et labores misceant. There is still another sign remaining (if sign it can be called, when it is rather testimony, nay, of all testimony the most valid). I mean the confession of the very authorities whom men now follow. For even they who lay down the law on all things so confidently, do still in their more sober moods fall to complaints of the subtlety of nature, the obscurity of things, and the weakness of the human mind. Now if this were all they did, some perhaps of a timid disposition might be deterred from further search, while others of a more ardent and hopeful spirit might be whetted and incited to go on farther. But not content to speak for themselves, whatever is beyond their own or their master's knowledge or reach they set down as beyond the bounds of possibility, and pronounce, as if on the authority of their art, that it cannot be known or done; thus most presumptuously and invidiously turning the weakness of their own discoveries into a calumny of nature herself, and the despair of the rest of the world. Hence the school of the New Academy, which held Acatalepsia as a tenet and doomed men to perpetual darkness. Hence the opinion that forms or true differences of things (which are in fact laws of pure act) are past finding out and beyond the reach of man. Hence, too, those opinions in the department of action and operation; as, that the heat of the sun and of fire are quite different in kind — lest men should imagine that by the operations of fire anything like the works of nature can be educed and formed. Hence the notion that composition only is the work of man, and mixture of none but nature — lest men should expect from art some power of generating or transforming natural bodies. By this sign, therefore, men will easily take warning not to mix up their fortunes and labors with dogmas not only despaired of but dedicated to despair.
Neque illud signum praetermittendum est, quod tanta fuerit inter philosophos olim dissensio et scholarum ipsarum varietas : quod satis ostendit, viam a sensu ad intellectum non bene munitam fuisse, cum eadem materia philosophiae (natura scilicet rerum) in tam vagos et multiplices errores abrepta fuerit et distracta. Atque licet hisce temporibus dissensiones et dogmatum diversitates circa principia ipsa, et philosophias integras, ut plurimum extinctae sint ; tamen circa partes philosophiae innumerae manent quaestiones et controversiae ; ut plane appareat, neque in philosophiis ipsis, neque in modis demonstrationum aliquid certi aut sani esse. Neither is this other sign to be omitted: that formerly there existed among philosophers such great disagreement, and such diversities in the schools themselves, a fact which sufficiently shows that the road from the senses to the understanding was not skillfully laid out, when the same groundwork of philosophy (the nature of things to wit) was torn and split up into such vague and multifarious errors. And although in these times disagreements and diversities of opinion on first principles and entire systems are for the most part extinguished, still on parts of philosophy there remain innumerable questions and disputes, so that it plainly appears that neither in the systems themselves nor in the modes of demonstration is there anything certain or sound.
Quod vero putant homines, in philosophia Aristotelis magnum utique consensum esse ; cum post illam editam antiquorum philosophiae cessaverint et exoleverint ; ast apud tempora, quae sequuta sunt, nil melius inventum fuerit ; adeo ut illa tam bene posita et fundata videatur, ut utrumque tempus ad se traxerit : primo, quod de cessatione antiquarum philosophiarum post Aristotelis opera edita homines cogitant, id falsum est ; diu enim postea, usque ad tempora Ciceronis et secula sequentia, manserunt opera veterum philosophorum. Sed temporibus insequentibus, ex inundatione Barbarorum in imperium Romanum, postquam doctrina humana velut naufragium perpessa esset ; tum demum philosophiae Aristotelis et Platonis, tanquam tabulae ex materia leviore et minus solida, per fluctus temporum servatae sunt. Illud etiam de consensu fallit homines, si acutius rem introspiciant. Verus enim consensus is est, qui ex libertate judicii (re prius explorata) in idem conveniete consistit. At numerus longe maximus eorum, qui in Aristotelis philosophiam consenserunt, ex praejudicio et authoritate aliorum se illi mancipavit : ut sequacitas sit potius et coitio, quam consensus. Quod si fuisset ille verus consensus et late patens, tantum abest ut consensus pro vera et solida authoritate haberi debeat, ut etiam violentam praesumptionem inducat in contrarium. Pessimum enim omnium est augurium, quod ex consensu capitur in rebus intellectualibus : exceptis divinis et politicis, in quibus suffragiorum jus est. Nihil enim multis placet, nisi imaginationem feriat, aut intellectum vulgarium notionum nodis astringat, ut supra dictum est. Itaque optime traducitur illud Phocionis a moribus ad intellectualia : Ut statim se examinare debeant homines, quid erraverint aut peccaverint, si multitudo consentiat et complaudat. Hoc signum igitur ex aversissimis est. Itaque quod signa veritatis et sanitatis philosophiarum et scientiarum, quae in usu sunt, male se habeant ; sive capiantur ex originibus ipsarum, sive ex fructibus, sive ex progressibus, sive ex confessionibus authorum, sive ex consensu ; jam dictum est. And as for the general opinion that in the philosophy of Aristotle, at any rate, there is great agreement, since after its publication the systems of older philosophers died away, while in the times which followed nothing better was found, so that it seems to have been so well laid and established as to have drawn both ages in its train — I answer in the first place, that the common notion of the falling off of the old systems upon the publication of Aristotle's works is a false one; for long afterwards, down even to the times of Cicero and subsequent ages, the works of the old philosophers still remained. But in the times which followed, when on the inundation of barbarians into the Roman empire human learning had suffered shipwreck, then the systems of Aristotle and Plato, like planks of lighter and less solid material, floated on the waves of time and were preserved. Upon the point of consent also men are deceived, if the matter be looked into more keenly. For true consent is that which consists in the coincidence of free judgments, after due examination. But far the greater number of those who have assented to the philosophy of Aristotle have addicted themselves thereto from prejudgment and upon the authority of others; so that it is a following and going along together, rather than consent. But even if it had been a real and widespread consent, still so little ought consent to be deemed a sure and solid confirmation, that it is in fact a strong presumption the other way. For the worst of all auguries is from consent in matters intellectual (divinity excepted, and politics where there is right of vote). For nothing pleases the many unless it strikes the imagination, or binds the understanding with the bands of common notions, as I have already said. We may very well transfer, therefore, from moral to intellectual matters the saying of Phocion, that if the multitude assent and applaud, men ought immediately to examine themselves as to what blunder or fault they may have committed. This sign, therefore, is one of the most unfavorable. And so much for this point; namely, that the signs of truth and soundness in the received systems and sciences are not good, whether they be drawn from their origin, or from their fruits, or from their progress, or from the confessions of their founders, or from general consent.
Jam vero veniendum ad causas errorum, et tam diuturnae in illis per tot secula morae ; quae plurimae sunt et potentissimae : ut tollatur omnis admiratio, haec quae adducimus homines hucusque latuisse et fugisse ; et maneat tantum admiratio, illa nunc tandem alicui mortalium in mentem venire potuisse, aut cogitationem cujuspiam subiisse : quod etiam (ut nos existimamus) foelicitatis magis est cujusdam, quam excellentis alicujus facultatis ; ut potius pro temporis partu haberi debeat, quam pro partu ingenii. Primo autem tot seculorum numerus, vere rem reputanti, ad magnas angustias recidit. Nam ex viginti quinque annorum centuriis, in quibus memoria et doctrina hominum fere versatur, vix sex centuriae seponi et excerpi possunt, quae scientiarum feraces earumve proventui utiles fuerunt. Sunt enim non minus temporum quam regionum eremi et vastitates. Tres enim tantum doctrinarum revolutiones et periodi recte numerari possunt : una, apud Graecos ; altera, apud Romanos ; ultima, apud nos, occidentales scilicet Europae nationes : quibus singulis vix duae centuriae annorum merito attribui possunt. Media mundi tempora, quoad scientiarum segetem uberem aut laetam, infelicia fuerunt. Neque enim causa est ut vel Arabum vel scholasticorum mentio fiat : qui per intermedia tempora scientias potius contriverunt numerosis tractatibus, quam pondus earum auxerunt. Itaque prima causa tam pusilli in scientiis profectus ad angustias temporis erga illas propitii rite et ordine refertur. I now come to the causes of these errors, and of so long a continuance in them through so many ages, which are very many and very potent; that all wonder how these considerations which I bring forward should have escaped men's notice till now may cease, and the only wonder be how now at last they should have entered into any man's head and become the subject of his thoughts — which truly I myself esteem as the result of some happy accident, rather than of any excellence of faculty in me — a birth of Time rather than a birth of Wit. Now, in the first place, those so many ages, if you weigh the case truly, shrink into a very small compass. For out of the five and twenty centuries over which the memory and learning of men extends, you can hardly pick out six that were fertile in sciences or favorable to their development. In times no less than in regions there are wastes and deserts. For only three revolutions and periods of learning can properly be reckoned: one among the Greeks, the second among the Romans, and the last among us, that is to say, the nations of Western Europe. And to each of these hardly two centuries can justly be assigned. The intervening ages of the world, in respect of any rich or flourishing growth of the sciences, were unprosperous. For neither the Arabians nor the Schoolmen need be mentioned, who in the intermediate times rather crushed the sciences with a multitude of treatises, than increased their weight. And therefore the first cause of so meager a progress in the sciences is duly and orderly referred to the narrow limits of the time that has been favorable to them.
At secundo loco se offert causa illa magni certe per omnia momenti : ea videlicet, quod per illas ipsas aetates, quibus hominum ingenia et literae maxime vel etiam mediocriter floruerint, naturalis philosophia minimam partem humanae operae sortita sit. Atque haec ipsa nihilominus pro magna scientiarum matre haberi debet. Omnes enim artes et scientiae, ab hac stirpe revulsae, poliuntur fortasse et in usum effinguntur ; sed nil admodum crescunt. At manifestum est, postquam Christiana fides recepta fuisset et adolevisset, longe maximam ingeniorum praestantissimorum praestantissimorum partem ad theologiam se contulisse ; atque huic rei et amplissima praemia proposita, et omnis generis adjumenta copiosissime subministrata fuisse : atque hoc theologiae studium praecipue occupasse tertiam illam partem sive periodum temporis apud nos Europaeos occidentales ; eo magis, quod sub idem fere tempus et literae florere, et controversiae circa religionem pullulare coeperint. At aevo superiori, durante periodo illa secunda apud Romanos, potissimae philosophorum meditationes et industriae in morali philosophia (quae ethnicis vice theologiae erat) occupatae et consumptae fuerunt : etiam summa ingenia illis temporibus ut plurimum ad res civiles se applicuerunt, propter magnitudinem imperii Romani, quod plurimorum hominum opera indigebat. At illa aetas, qua naturalis philosophia apud Graecos maxime florere visa est, particula fuit temporis minime diuturna ; cum et antiquioribus temporibus septem illi, qui sapientes nominabantur, omnes (praeter Thaletem) ad moralem philosophiam et civilia se applicuerint ; et posterioribus temporibus postquam Socrates philosophiam de coelo in terras deduxisset, adhuc magis invaluerit moralis philosophia, et ingenia hominum a naturali averterit. At ipsissima illa periodus temporis, in qua inquisitiones de natura viguerunt, contradictionibus et novorum placitorum ambitione corrupta est, et inutilis reddita. Itaque quandoquidem per tres istas periodos naturalis philosophia majorem in modum neglecta aut impedita fuerit, nil mirum si homines parum in ea re profecerint, cum omnino aliud egerint. In the second place there presents itself a cause of great weight in all ways, namely, that during those very ages in which the wits and learning of men have flourished most, or indeed flourished at all, the least part of their diligence was given to natural philosophy. Yet this very philosophy it is that ought to be esteemed the great mother of the sciences. For all arts and all sciences, if torn from this root, though they may be polished and shaped and made fit for use, yet they will hardly grow. Now it is well known that after the Christian religion was received and grew strong, by far the greater number of the best wits applied themselves to theology; that to this both the highest rewards were offered, and helps of all kinds most abundantly supplied; and that this devotion to theology chiefly occupied that third portion or epoch of time among us Europeans of the West, and the more so because about the same time both literature began to flourish and religious controversies to spring up. In the age before, on the other hand, during the continuance of the second period among the Romans, the meditations and labors of philosophers were principally employed and consumed on moral philosophy, which to the heathen was as theology to us. Moreover, in those times the greatest wits applied themselves very generally to public affairs, the magnitude of the Roman empire requiring the services of a great number of persons. Again, the age in which natural philosophy was seen to flourish most among the Greeks was but a brief particle of time; for in early ages the Seven Wise Men, as they were called (all except Thales), applied themselves to morals and politics; and in later times, when Socrates had drawn down philosophy from heaven to earth, moral philosophy became more fashionable than ever, and diverted the minds of men from the philosophy of nature. Nay, the very period itself in which inquiries concerning nature flourished, was by controversies and the ambitious display of new opinions corrupted and made useless. Seeing therefore that during those three periods natural philosophy was in a great degree either neglected or hindered, it is no wonder if men made but small advance in that to which they were not attending.
Accedit et illud, quod naturalis philosophia in iis ipsis viris, qui ei incubuerint, vacantem et integrum hominem, praesertim his recentioribus temporibus, vix nacta sit ; nisi forte quis monachi alicujus in cellula, aut nobilis in villula lucubrantis, exemplum adduxerit : sed facta est demum naturalis philosophia instar transitus cujusdam et pontisternii ad alia. Atque magna ista scientiarum mater mira indignitate ad officia ancillae detrusa est ; quae medicinae aut mathematices operibus ministret, et rursus quae adolescentium immatura ingenia lavet et imbuat velut tinctura quadam prima, ut aliam postea foelicius et commodius excipiant. Interim nemo expectet magnum progressum in scientiis (praesertim in parte earum operativa), nisi philosophia naturalis ad scientias particulares producta fuerit, et scientiae particulares rursus ad naturalem philosophiam reductae. Hinc enim fit, ut astronomia, optica, musica, plurimae artes mechanicae, atque ipsa medicina, atque (quod quis magis miretur) philosophia moralis et civilis, et scientiae logicae, nil fere habeant altitudinis in profundo : sed per superficiem et varietatem rerum tantum labantur : quia, postquam particulares istae scientiae dispertitae et constitutae fuerint, a philosophia naturali non amplius aluntur ; quae ex fontibus et veris contemplationibus motuum, radiorum, sonorum, texturae, et schematismi corporum, affectuum, et prehensionum intellectualium, novas vires et augmenta illis impertiri potuerit. Itaque minime mirum est si scientiae non crescant, cum a radicibus suis sint separatae. To this it may be added that natural philosophy, even among those who have attended to it, has scarcely ever possessed, especially in these later times, a disengaged and whole man (unless it were some monk studying in his cell, or some gentleman in his country house), but that it has been made merely a passage and bridge to something else. And so this great mother of the sciences has with strange indignity been degraded to the offices of a servant, having to attend on the business of medicine or mathematics, and likewise to wash and imbue youthful and unripe wits with a sort of first dye, in order that they may be the fitter to receive another afterwards. Meanwhile let no man look for much progress in the sciences — especially in the practical part of them — unless natural philosophy be carried on and applied to particular sciences, and particular sciences be carried back again to natural philosophy. For want of this, astronomy, optics, music, a number of mechanical arts, medicine itself — nay, what one might more wonder at, moral and political philosophy, and the logical sciences — altogether lack profoundness, and merely glide along the surface and variety of things. Because after these particular sciences have been once distributed and established, they are no more nourished by natural philosophy, which might have drawn out of the true contemplation of motions, rays, sounds, texture and configuration of bodies, affections, and intellectual perceptions, the means of imparting to them fresh strength and growth. And therefore it is nothing strange if the sciences grow not, seeing they are parted from their roots.
Rursus se ostendit alia causa potens et magna, cur scientiae parum promoverint. Ea vero haec est ; quod fieri non possit, ut recte procedatur in curriculo, ubi ipsa meta non recte posita sit et defixa. Meta autem scientiarum vera et legitima non alia est quam ut dotetur vita humana novis inventis et copiis. At turba longe maxima nihil ex hoc sapit, sed meritoria plane est et professoria ; nisi forte quandoque eveniat, ut artifex aliquis acrioris ingenii, et gloriae cupidus, novo alicui invento det operam ; quod fere fit cum facultatum dispendio. At apud plerosque tantum abest ut homines id sibi proponant, ut scientiarum et artium massa augmentum obtineat, ut ex ea, quae praesto est, massa nil amplius sumant aut quaerant, quam quantum ad usum professorium aut lucrum aut existimationem aut hujusmodi compendia convertere possint. Quod si quis ex tanta multitudine scientiam affectu ingenuo et propter se expetat ; invenietur tamen ille ipse potius contemplationum et doctrinarum varietatem, quam veritatis severam et rigidam inquisitionem sequi. Rursus, si alius quispiam fortasse veritatis inquisitor sit severior ; tamen et ille ipse talem sibi proponet veritatis conditionem, quae menti et intellectui satisfaciat in redditione causarum rerum quae jampridem sunt cognitae ; non eam, quae nova operum pignora, et novam axiomatum lucem assequatur. Itaque, si finis scientiarum a nemine adhuc bene positus sit, non mirum est si in iis, quae sunt subordinata ad finem, sequatur aberatio. Again there is another great and powerful cause why the sciences have made but little progress, which is this. It is not possible to run a course aright when the goal itself has not been rightly placed. Now the true and lawful goal of the sciences is none other than this: that human life be endowed with new discoveries and powers. But of this the great majority have no feeling, but are merely hireling and professorial; except when it occasionally happens that some workman of acuter wit and covetous of honor applies himself to a new invention, which he mostly does at the expense of his fortunes. But in general, so far are men from proposing to themselves to augment the mass of arts and sciences, that from the mass already at hand they neither take nor look for anything more than what they may turn to use in their lectures, or to gain, or to reputation, or to some similar advantage. And if any one out of all the multitude court science with honest affection and for her own sake, yet even with him the object will be found to be rather the variety of contemplations and doctrines than the severe and rigid search after truth. And if by chance there be one who seeks after truth in earnest, yet even he will propose to himself such a kind of truth as shall yield satisfaction to the mind and understanding in rendering causes for things long since discovered, and not the truth which shall lead to new assurance of works and new light of axioms. If then the end of the sciences has not as yet been well placed, it is not strange that men have erred as to the means.
Quemadmodum autem finis et meta scientiarum male posita sunt apud homines ; ita rursus etiamsi illa recte posita fuissent, viam tamen sibi delegerunt omnino erroneam et imperviam. Quod stupore quodam animum rite rem reputanti perculserit ; non ulli mortalium curae aut cordi fuisse, ut intellectui humano ab ipso sensu et experientia ordinata et bene condita via aperiretur et muniretur ; sed omnia vel traditionum caligini, vel argumentorum vertigini et turbini, vel casus et experientiae vagae et inconditae undis et ambagibus permissa esse. Atque cogitet quis sobrie et diligenter, qualis sit ea via, quam in inquisitione et inventione alicujus rei homines adhibere consueverunt. Et primo notabit proculdubio inveniendi modum simplicem et inartificiosum, qui hominibus maxime est familiaris. Hic autem non alius est, quam ut is, qui se ad inveniendum aliquid comparat et accingit, primo quae ab aliis circa illa dicta sint inquirat et evolvat ; deinde propriam meditationem addat, atque per mentis multam agitationem spiritum suum proprium sollicitet, et quasi invocet, ut sibi oracula pandat : quae res omnino sine fundamento est, et in opinionibus tantum volvitur. At alius quispiam dialecticam ad inveniendum advocet, quae nomine tenus tantum ad id quod agitur pertinet. Inventio enim dialecticae non est principiorum et axiomatum praecipuorum, ex quibus artes constant, sed eorum tantum quae illis consentanea videntur. Dialectica enim magis curiosos et importunos, et sibi negotium facessentes, eamque interpellantes de probationibus et inventionibus principiorum, sive axiomatum primorum, ad fidem, et veluti sacramentum cuilibet arti praestandum, notissimo responso rejicit. Restat experientia mera : quae, si occurrat, casus ; si quaesita sit, experimentum nominatur. Hoc autem experientiae genus nihil aliud est, quam (quod aiunt) scopae dissolutae, et mera palpatio, quali homines noctu utuntur, omnia pertentando, si forte in rectam viam incidere detur ; quibus multo satius et consultius foret diem praestolari, aut lumen accendere, et deinceps viam inire. At contra, verus experientiae ordo primo lumen accendit, deinde per lumen iter demonstrat, incipiendo ab experientia ordinata et digesta, et minime praepostera aut erratica, atque ex ea educendo axiomata, atque ex axiomatibus constitutis rursus experimenta nova ; quum nec verbum divinum in rerum massam absque ordine operatum sit. Itaque desinant homines mirari si spatium scientiarum non confectum sit, cum a via omnino aberraverint ; relicta prorsus et deserta experientia, aut in ipsa (tanquam in labyrintho) se intricando, et circumcursando ; cum rite institutus ordo per experientiae sylvas ad aperta axiomatum tramite constanti ducat. And as men have misplaced the end and goal of the sciences, so again, even if they had placed it right, yet they have chosen a way to it which is altogether erroneous and impassable. And an astonishing thing it is to one who rightly considers the matter, that no mortal should have seriously applied himself to the opening and laying out of a road for the human understanding direct from the sense, by a course of experiment orderly conducted and well built up, but that all has been left either to the mist of tradition, or the whirl and eddy of argument, or the fluctuations and mazes of chance and of vague and ill-digested experience. Now let any man soberly and diligently consider what the way is by which men have been accustomed to proceed in the investigation and discovery of things, and in the first place he will no doubt remark a method of discovery very simple and inartificial, which is the most ordinary method, and is no more than this. When a man addresses himself to discover something, he first seeks out and sets before him all that has been said about it by others; then he begins to meditate for himself; and so by much agitation and working of the wit solicits and as it were evokes his own spirit to give him oracles; which method has no foundation at all, but rests only upon opinions and is carried about with them. Another may perhaps call in logic to discover it for him, but that has no relation to the matter except in name. For logical invention does not discover principles and chief axioms, of which arts are composed, but only such things as appear to be consistent with them. For if you grow more curious and importunate and busy, and question her of probations and invention of principles or primary axioms, her answer is well known; she refers you to the faith you are bound to give to the principles of each separate art. There remains simple experience which, if taken as it comes, is called accident; if sought for, experiment. But this kind of experience is no better than a broom without its band, as the saying is — a mere groping, as of men in the dark, that feel all round them for the chance of finding their way, when they had much better wait for daylight, or light a candle, and then go. But the true method of experience, on the contrary, first lights the candle, and then by means of the candle shows the way; commencing as it does with experience duly ordered and digested, not bungling or erratic, and from it educing axioms, and from established axioms again new experiments; even as it was not without order and method that the divine word operated on the created mass. Let men therefore cease to wonder that the course of science is not yet wholly run, seeing that they have gone altogether astray, either leaving and abandoning experience entirely, or losing their way in it and wandering round and round as in a labyrinth. Whereas a method rightly ordered leads by an unbroken route through the woods of experience to the open ground of axioms.
Excrevit autem mirum in modum istud malum ex opinione quadam, sive aestimatione inveterata, verum tumida et damnosa ; minui nempe mentis humanae majestatem, si experimentis, et rebus particularibus sensui subjectis et in materia detriminatis, diu ac multum versetur : praesertim quum hujusmodi res ad inquirendum laboriosae, ad meditandum ignobiles, ad dicendum asperae, ad practicam illiberales, numero infinitae, et subtilitate tenues esse soleant. Itaque jam tandem huc res rediit, ut via vera non tantum deserta, sed etiam interclusa et obstructa sit ; fastidita experientia, nedum relicta, aut male administrata. This evil, however, has been strangely increased by an opinion or conceit, which though of long standing is vain and hurtful, namely, that the dignity of the human mind is impaired by long and close intercourse with experiments and particulars, subject to sense and bound in matter; especially as they are laborious to search, ignoble to meditate, harsh to deliver, illiberal to practice, infinite in number, and minute in subtlety. So that it has come at length to this, that the true way is not merely deserted, but shut out and stopped up; experience being, I do not say abandoned or badly managed, but rejected with disdain.
Rursus vero homines a progressu in scientiis detinuit et fere incantavit reverentia antiquitatis, et virorum, qui in philosophia magni habiti sunt, authoritas, atque deinde consensus. Atque de consensu superius dictum est. De antiquitate autem opinio, quam homines de ipsa fovent, negligens omnino est, etvix verbo ipsi congrua. Mundi enim senium et gradaevitas pro antiquitate vere habenda sunt ; quae temporibus nostris tribui debent, non juniori aetati mundi, qualis apud antiquos fuit. Illa enim aetas, respectu nostri, antiqua et major ; respectu mundi ipsius, nova et minor fuit. Atque revera quemadmodum majorem rerum humanarum notitiam et maturius judicium ab homine sene expectamus quam a juvene, propter experientiam et rerum, quas vidit, et audivit, et cogitavit, varietatem et copiam ; eodem modo et a nostra aetate (si vires suas nosset, et experiri et intendere vellet) majora multo quam a priscis temporibus expectari par est ; utpote aetate mundi grandiore, et infinitis experimentis et observationibus aucta et cumulata. Neque pro nihilo aestimandum, quod per longinquas navigationes et peregrinationes (quae seculis nostris increbuerunt) plurima in natura patuerint, et reperta sint, quae novam philosophiae lucem immittere possint. Quin et turpe hominibus foret, si globi materialis tractus, terrarum videlicet, marium, astrorum, nostris temporibus immensum aperti et illustrati sint ; globi autem intellectualis finis inter veterum inventa et angustias cohibeantur. Authores vero quod attinet, summae pusillanimitatis est authoribus infinita tribuere, authori autem authorum, atque adeo omnis authoritatis, Tempori, jus suum denegare. Recte enim Veritas Temporis filia dicitur, non Authoritatis. Itaque mirum non est, si fascina ista antiquitatis et authorum et consensus, hominum virtutem ita ligaverint, ut cum rebus ipsis consuescere (tanquam maleficiati) non potuerint. Again, men have been kept back as by a kind of enchantment from progress in the sciences by reverence for antiquity, by the authority of men accounted great in philosophy, and then by general consent. Of the last I have spoken above. As for antiquity, the opinion touching it which men entertain is quite a negligent one and scarcely consonant with the word itself. For the old age of the world is to be accounted the true antiquity; and this is the attribute of our own times, not of that earlier age of the world in which the ancients lived, and which, though in respect of us it was the elder, yet in respect of the world it was the younger. And truly as we look for greater knowledge of human things and a riper judgment in the old man than in the young, because of his experience and of the number and variety of the things which he has seen and heard and thought of, so in like manner from our age, if it but knew its own strength and chose to essay and exert it, much more might fairly be expected than from the ancient times, inasmuch as it is a more advanced age of the world, and stored and stocked with infinite experiments and observations. Nor must it go for nothing that by the distant voyages and travels which have become frequent in our times many things in nature have been laid open and discovered which may let in new light upon philosophy. And surely it would be disgraceful if, while the regions of the material globe — that is, of the earth, of the sea, and of the stars — have been in our times laid widely open and revealed, the intellectual globe should remain shut up within the narrow limits of old discoveries. And with regard to authority, it shows a feeble mind to grant so much to authors and yet deny time his rights, who is the author of authors, nay, rather of all authority. For rightly is truth called the daughter of time, not of authority. It is no wonder therefore if those enchantments of antiquity and authority and consent have so bound up men's powers that they have been made impotent (like persons bewitched) to accompany with the nature of things.
Neque solum admiratio antiquitatis, authoritatis, et consensus, hominum industriam in iis, quae jam inventa sunt, acquiescere compulit ; verum etiam operum ipsorum admiratio, quorum copia jampridem facta est humano generi. Etenim quum quis rerum varietatem, et pulcherrimum apparatum qui per artes mechanicas ad cultum humanum congestus et introductus est, oculis subjecerit, eo certe inclinabit, ut potius ad opulentiae humanae admirationem, quam ad inopiae sensum accedat ; minime advertens primitivas hominis observationes atque naturae operationes (quae ad omnem illam varietatem instar animae sunt, et primi motus) nec multas, nec alte petitas esse ; caetera ad patientiam hominum tantum, et subtilem et ordinatum manus vel intrumentorum motum, pertinere. Res enim (exempli gratia) subtilis est certe et accurata confectio horologiorum, talis scilicet, quae coelestia in rotis, pulsum animalium in motu successivo et ordinato, videatur imitari ; quae tamen res ex uno aut altero naturae axiomate pendet. Quod si quis rursus subtilitatem illam intueatur quae ad artes liberales pertinet ; aut etiam eam quae ad corporum naturalium praeparationem per artes mechanicas spectat, et hujusmodi res suspiciat ; veluti inventionem motuum coelestium in astronomia, concentuum in musica, literarum alphabeti (quae etiam adhuc in regno Sinarum in usu non sunt) in grammatica ; aut rursus in mechanicis, factorum Bacchi et Cereris, hoc est, praeparationum vini et cervisiae, panificiorum, aut etiam mensae delitiarum, et distillationum, et similium : ille quoque, si secum cogitet, et animum advertat, per quantos temporum circuitus (cum haec omnia, praeter distillationes, antiqua fuerint) haec ad eam, quam nunc habemus, culturam perducta sint, et (ut jam de horologiis dictum est) quam parum habeant ex observationibus et axiomatibus naturae, atque quam facile, et tanquam per occasiones obvias et contemplationes incurrentes, ista inveniri potuerint : ille (inquam) ab omni admiratione se facile liberabit, et potius humanae conditionis miserebitur, quod per tot secula tanta fuerit rerum et inventorum penuria et sterilitas. Atque haec ipsa tamen, quorum nunc mentionem fecimus, inventa, philosophia et artibus intellectus antiquiora fuerunt : adeo ut(si verum dicendum sit) cum hujusmodi scientiae rationales et dogmaticae inceperint, inventio operum utilium desierit. Quod si quis ab officinis ad bibliothecas se converterit, et immensam, quam videmus, librorum varietatem in admiratione habuerit, is, examinatis et diligentius introspectis ipsorum librorum materiis et contentis, obstupescet certe in contrarium ; et postquam nullum dari finem repetitionibus observaverit, quamque homines eadem agant et loquantur, ab admiratione varietatis transibit ad miraculum indigentiae et paucitatis earum rerum quae hominum mentes adhuc tenuerunt et occuparunt. Quod si quis ad intuendum ea, quae magis curiosa habentur quam sana, animum submiserit, et alchymistarum aut magorum opera penitius introspexerit, is dubitabit forsitan utrum risu an lachrymis potius illa digna sint. Alchymista enim spem alit aeternam, atque ubi res non succedit errores proprios reos substituit ; secum accusatorie reputando, se aut artis aut authorum vocabula non satis intellexisse, unde ad traditiones et auriculares susurros animum applicat ; aut in practicae suae scrupulis et momentis aliquid titubatum esse, unde experimenta in infinitum repetit : ac interim quum inter experimentorum sortes in quaedam incidit aut ipsa facie nova aut utilitate non contemnenda ; hujusmodi pignoribus animum pascit, eaque in majus ostentat et celebrat : reliqua spe sustentat. Neque tamen negandum est, alchymistas non pauca invenisse, et inventis utilibus homines donasse. Verum fabula illa non male in illos quadrat de sene, qui filiis aurum in vinea defossum (sed locum se nescire simulans) legaverit ; unde illi vineae fodiendae diligenter incubuerunt, et aurum quidem nullum repertum, sed vindemia ex ea cultura facta est uberior. At naturalis magiae cultores, qui per rerum sympathias et antipathias omnia expediunt, ex conjecturis otiosis et supinissimis, rebus virtutes et operationes admirabiles affinxerunt ; atque si quando opera exhibuerint, ea illius sunt generis, ut ad admirationem et novitatem, non ad fructum et utilitatem, accommodata sint. In superstitiosa autem magia (si et de hac dicendum sit) illud inprimis animadvertendum est, esse tantummodo certi cujusdam et definiti generis subjecta, in quibus artes curiosae et superstitiosae, per omnes nationes atque aetates atque etiam religiones, aliquid potuerint aut luserint. Itaque ista missa faciamus. Interim nil mirum est, si opinio copiae causam inopiae dederit. Nor is it only the admiration of antiquity, authority, and consent, that has forced the industry of man to rest satisfied with the discoveries already made, but also an admiration for the works themselves of which the human race has long been in possession. For when a man looks at the variety and the beauty of the provision which the mechanical arts have brought together for men's use, he will certainly be more inclined to admire the wealth of man than to feel his wants; not considering that the original observations and operations of nature (which are the life and moving principle of all that variety) are not many nor deeply fetched, and that the rest is but patience, and the subtle and ruled motion of the hand and instruments — as the making of clocks (for instance) is certainly a subtle and exact work: their wheels seem to imitate the celestial orbs, and their alternating and orderly motion, the pulse of animals; and yet all this depends on one or two axioms of nature. Again, if you observe the refinement of the liberal arts, or even that which relates to the mechanical preparation of natural substances, and take notice of such things as the discovery in astronomy of the motions of the heavens, of harmony in music, of the letters of the alphabet (to this day not in use among the Chinese) in grammar; or again in things mechanical, the discovery of the works of Bacchus and Ceres — that is, of the arts of preparing wine and beer, and of making bread; the discovery once more of the delicacies of the table, of distillations and the like; and if you likewise bear in mind the long periods which it has taken to bring these things to their present degree of perfection (for they are all ancient except distillation), and again (as has been said of clocks) how little they owe to observations and axioms of nature, and how easily and obviously and as it were by casual suggestion they may have been discovered; you will easily cease from wondering, and on the contrary will pity the condition of mankind, seeing that in a course of so many ages there has been so great a dearth and barrenness of arts and inventions. And yet these very discoveries which we have just mentioned are older than philosophy and intellectual arts. So that, if the truth must be spoken, when the rational and dogmatical sciences began, the discovery of useful works came to an end. And again, if a man turn from the workshop to the library, and wonder at the immense variety of books he sees there, let him but examine and diligently inspect their matter and contents, and his wonder will assuredly be turned the other way. For after observing their endless repetitions, and how men are ever saying and doing what has been said and done before, he will pass from admiration of the variety to astonishment at the poverty and scantiness of the subjects which till now have occupied and possessed the minds of men. And if again he descend to the consideration of those arts which are deemed curious rather than safe, and look more closely into the works of the alchemists or the magicians, he will be in doubt perhaps whether he ought rather to laugh over them or to weep. For the alchemist nurses eternal hope and when the thing fails, lays the blame upon some error of his own; fearing either that he has not sufficiently understood the words of his art or of his authors (whereupon he turns to tradition and auricular whispers), or else that in his manipulations he has made some slip of a scruple in weight or a moment in time (whereupon he repeats his trials to infinity). And when, meanwhile, among the chances of experiment he lights upon some conclusions either in aspect new or for utility not contemptible, he takes these for earnest of what is to come, and feeds his mind upon them, and magnifies them to the most, and supplies the rest in hope. Not but that the alchemists have made a good many discoveries and presented men with useful inventions. But their case may be well compared to the fable of the old man who bequeathed to his sons gold buried in a vineyard, pretending not to know the exact spot; whereupon the sons applied themselves diligently to the digging of the vineyard, and though no gold was found there, yet the vintage by that digging was made more plentiful. Again the students of natural magic, who explain everything by sympathies and antipathies, have in their idle and most slothful conjectures ascribed to substances wonderful virtues and operations; and if ever they have produced works, they have been such as aim rather at admiration and novelty than at utility and fruit. In superstitious magic on the other hand (if of this also we must speak), it is especially to be observed that they are but subjects of a certain and definite kind wherein the curious and superstitious arts, in all nations and ages, and religions also, have worked or played. These therefore we may pass. Meanwhile if is nowise strange if opinion of plenty has been the cause of want.
Atque hominum admirationi, quoad doctrinas et artes, per se satis simplici et prope puerili, incrementum accessit ab eorum astu et artificio qui scientias tractaverunt et tradiderunt. Illi enim ea ambitione et affectatione eas proponunt, atque in eum modum efformatas ac veluti personatas in hominum conspectum producunt, ac si illae omni ex parte perfectae essent et ad exitum perductae. Si enim methodum aspicias et partitiones, illae prorsus omnia complecti et concludere videntur, quae in illud subjectum cadere possunt. Atque licet membra illa male impleta et veluti capsulae inanes sint ; tamen apud intellectum vulgarem scientiae formam et rationem integrae prae se ferunt. At primi et antiquissimi veritatis inquisitores, meliore fide et fato, cognitionem illam, quam ex rerum contemplatione decerpere, et in usum recondere statuebant, in aphorismos, sive breves easdemque sparsas nec methodo revinctas sententias, conjicere solebant ; neque se artem universam complecti simulabant aut profitebantur. At eo quo nunc res agitur modo, minime mirum est, si homines in iis ulteriora non quaerant, quae pro perfectis et numeris suis jampridem absolutis traduntur. Further, this admiration of men for knowledges and arts — an admiration in itself weak enough, and well-nigh childish — has been increased by the craft and artifices of those who have handled and transmitted sciences. For they set them forth with such ambition and parade, and bring them into the view of the world so fashioned and masked as if they were complete in all parts and finished. For if you look at the method of them and the divisions, they seem to embrace and comprise everything which can belong to the subject. And although these divisions are ill filled out and are but as empty cases, still to the common mind they present the form and plan of a perfect science. But the first and most ancient seekers after truth were wont, with better faith and better fortune, too, to throw the knowledge which they gathered from the contemplation of things, and which they meant to store up for use, into aphorisms; that is, into short and scattered sentences, not linked together by an artificial method; and did not pretend or profess to embrace the entire art. But as the matter now is, it is nothing strange if men do not seek to advance in things delivered to them as long since perfect and complete.
Etaim antiqua magnum existimationis et fidei incrementum acceperunt ex eorum vanitate et levitate, qui nova proposuerunt ; praesertim in philosophiae naturalis parte activa et operativa. Neque enim defuerunt homines vaniloqui et phantastici, qui partim ex credulitate, partim ex impostura, genus humanum promissis onerarunt : vitae prolongationem, senectutis retardationem, dolorum levationem, naturalium defectuum reparationem, sensuum deceptiones, affectuum ligationes et incitationes, intellectualium facultatum illuminationes et exaltationes, substantiarum transmutationes, et motuum ad libitum roborationes et multiplicationes, aeris impressiones et alterationes, coelestium influentiarum deductiones et procurationes, rerum futurarum divinationes, remotarum repraesentationes, occultarum revelationes, et alia complura pollicitando et ostentando. Verum de istis largitoribus non multum aberraverit, qui istiusmodi judicium fecerit, tantum nimirum in doctrinis philosophiae inter horum vanitates et veras artes interesse, quantum inter res gestas Julii Caesaris, aut Alexandri Magni, et res gestas Amadicii ex Gallia, aut Arthuri ex Britannia, in historiae narrationibus intersit. Inveniuntur enim clarissimi illi imperatores revera majora gessisse, quam umbratiles isti heroes etiam fecisse fingantur ; sed modis et viis scilicet actionum minime fabulosis et prodigiosis. Neque propterea aequum est verae memoriae fidem derogari, quod a fabulis illa quandoque laesa sit et violata. Sed interim minime mirum est, si propositionibus novis (praesertim cum mentione operum) magnum sit factum praejudicium per istos impostores, qui similia tentaverunt ; cum vanitatis excessus et fastidium etiam nunc omnem in ejusmodi conatibus magnanimitatem destruxerit. Moreover, the ancient systems have received no slight accession of reputation and credit from the vanity and levity of those who have propounded new ones, especially in the active and practical department of natural philosophy. For there have not been wanting talkers and dreamers who, partly from credulity, partly in imposture, have loaded mankind with promises, offering and announcing the prolongation of life, the retardation of age, the alleviation of pain, the repairing of natural defects, the deceiving of the senses; arts of binding and inciting the affections, of illuminating and exalting the intellectual faculties, of transmuting substances, of strengthening and multiplying motions at will, of making impressions and alterations in the air, of bringing down and procuring celestial influences; arts of divining things future, and bringing things distant near, and revealing things secret; and many more. But with regard to these lavish promisers, this judgment would not be far amiss: that there is as much difference in philosophy between their vanities and true arts as there is in history between the exploits of Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great, and the exploits of Amadis of Gaul or Arthur of Britain. For it is true that those illustrious generals really did greater things than these shadowy heroes are even feigned to have done; but they did them by means and ways of action not fabulous or monstrous. Yet surely it is not fair that the credit of true history should be lessened because it has sometimes been injured and wronged by fables. Meanwhile it is not to be wondered at if a great prejudice is raised against new propositions, especially when works are also mentioned, because of those impostors who have attempted the like; since their excess of vanity, and the disgust it has bred, have their effect still in the destruction of all greatness of mind in enterprises of this kind.
At longe majora a pusillanimitate, et pensorum, quae humana industria sibi proposuit, parvitate et tenuitate, detrimenta in scientias invecta sunt. Et tamen (quod pessimum est) pusillanimitas ista non sine arrogantia et fastidio se offert. Primum enim, omnium artium illa reperitur cautela jam facta familiaris, ut in qualibet arte authores artis suae infirmitatem in naturae calumniam vertant ; et quod ars ipsorum non assequitur, id ex eadem arte impossibile in natura pronunciant. Neque certe damnari potest ars, si ipsa judicet. Etiam philosophia, quae nunc in manibus est, in sinu suo posita quaedam fovet, aut placita, quibus (si diligentius inquiratur) hoc hominibus omnino persuaderi volunt ; nil ab arte, vel hominis opere, arduum, aut in naturam imperiosum et validum, expectari debere ; ut de heterogenia caloris astri et ignis, et mistione, superius dictum est. Quae si notentur accuratius, omnino pertinent ad humanae potestatis circumscriptionem malitiosam, et ad quaesitam et artificiosam desperationem, quae non solum spei auguria turbet, sed etiam omnes industriae stimulos et nervos incidat, atque ipsius experientiae aleas abjiciat ; dum de hoc tantum solliciti sint, ut ars eorum perfecta censeatur ; gloriae vanissimae et perditissimae dantes operam, scilicet ut quicquid adhuc inventum et comprehensum non sit, id omnino nec inveniri, nec comprehendi posse in futurum credatur. At si quis rebus addere se et novum aliquid reperire conetur, ille tamen omnino sibi proponet et destinabit unum aliquod inventum (nec ultra) perscrutari et eruere ; ut magnetis naturam, maris fluxum et refluxum, thema coeli, et hujusmodi, quae secreti aliquid habere videntur, et hactenus parum feliciter tractata sint : quum summae sit imperitiae, rei alicujus naturam in se ipsa perscrutari ; quandoquidem eadem natura, quae in aliis videtur latens et occulta, in aliis manifesta sit et quasi palpabilis, atque in illis admirationem, in his ne attentionem quidem moveat ; ut fit in natura consistentiae, quae in ligno vel lapide non notatur, sed solidi appellatione transmittitur, neque amplius de fuga separationis aut solutionis continuitatis inquiritur ; at in aquarum bullis eadem res videtur subtilis et ingeniosa ; quae bullae se conjiciunt in pelliculas quasdam, in hemisphaerii formam curiose effictas, ut ad momentum temporis evitetur solutio continuitatis. Atque prorsus illa ipsa, quae habentur pro secretis, in aliis habent naturam manifestam et communem ; quae nunquam se dabit conspiciendam, si hominum experimenta aut contemplationes in illis ipsis tantum versentur. Generaliter autem et vulgo, in operibus mechanicis habentur pro novis inventis, si quis jampridem inventa subtilius poliat, vel ornet elegantius, vel simul uniat et componat, vel cum usu commodius copulet, aut opus majore, aut etiam minore, quam fieri consuevit, mole vel volumine exhibeat, et similia. Itaque minime mirum est, si nobila et genere humano digna inventa in lucem extracta non sint, quum homines hujusmodi exiguis pensis et puerilibus contenti et delectati fuerint ; quinetiam in iisdem se magnum aliquod sequutos, aut assequutos putaverint. Far more, however, has knowledge suffered from littleness of spirit and the smallness and slightness of the tasks which human industry has proposed to itself. And what is worst of all, this very littleness of spirit comes with a certain air of arrogance and superiority. For in the first place there is found in all arts one general device, which has now become familiar — that the author lays the weakness of his art to the charge of nature: whatever his art cannot attain he sets down on the authority of the same art to be in nature impossible. And truly no art can be condemned if it be judge itself. Moreover, the philosophy which is now in vogue embraces and cherishes certain tenets, the purpose of which (if it be diligently examined) is to persuade men that nothing difficult, nothing by which nature may be commanded and subdued, can be expected from art or human labor; as with respect to the doctrine that the heat of the sun and of fire differ in kind, and to that other concerning mixture, has been already observed. Which things, if they be noted accurately, tend wholly to the unfair circumscription of human power, and to a deliberate and factitious despair, which not only disturbs the auguries of hope, but also cuts the sinews and spur of industry, and throws away the chances of experience itself. And all for the sake of having their art thought perfect, and for the miserable vainglory of making it believed that whatever has not yet been discovered and comprehended can never be discovered or comprehended hereafter. And even if a man apply himself fairly to facts, and endeavor to find out something new, yet he will confine his aim and intention to the investigation and working out of some one discovery and no more; such as the nature of the magnet, the ebb and flow of the sea, the system of the heavens, and things of this kind, which seem to be in some measure secret, and have hitherto been handled without much success. Whereas it is most unskillful to investigate the nature of anything in the thing itself, seeing that the same nature which appears in some things to be latent and hidden is in others manifest and palpable; wherefore in the former it produces wonder, in the latter excites no attention; as we find it in the nature of consistency, which in wood or stone is not observed, but is passed over under the appellation of solidity without further inquiry as to why separation or solution of continuity is avoided; while in the case of bubbles, which form themselves into certain pellicles, curiously shaped into hemispheres, so that the solution of continuity is avoided for a moment, it is thought a subtle matter. In fact, what in some things is accounted a secret has in others a manifest and well-known nature, which will never be recognized as long as the experiments and thoughts of men are engaged on the former only. But generally speaking, in mechanics old discoveries pass for new if a man does but refine or embellish them, or unite several in one, or couple them better with their use, or make the work in greater or less volume than it was before, or the like. Thus, then, it is no wonder if inventions noble and worthy of mankind have not been brought to light, when men have been contented and delighted with such trifling and puerile tasks, and have even fancied that in them they have been endeavoring after, if not accomplishing, some great matter.
Neque illud praetermittendum est, quod nacta sit philosophia naturalis per omnes aetates adversarium molestum et difficilem ; superstitionem nimirum, et zelum religionis caecum et immoderatum. Etenim videre est apud Graecos, eos, qui primum causas naturales fulminis et tempestatum insuetis adhuc hominum auribus proposuerunt, impietatis in deos eo nomine damnatos : nec multo melius a nonnullis antiquorum patrum religionis Christianae exceptos fuisse eos, qui ex certissimis demonstrationibus (quibus nemo hodie sanus contradixerit) terram rotundam esse posuerunt, atque ex consequenti antipodas esse asseruerunt. Quinetiam, ut nunc sunt res, conditio sermonum de natura facta est durior et magis cum periculo, propter theologorum scholasticorum summas et methodos ; qui cum theologiam (satis pro potestate) in ordinem redegerint, et in artis formam effinxerint, hoc insuper effecerunt, ut pugnax et spinosa Aristotelis philosophia corpori religionis, plus quam par erat, immisceretur. Eodem etiam spectant (licet diverso modo) eorum commentationes, qui veritatem Christianae religionis ex principiis ex authoritatibus philosophorum deducere et confirmare haud veriti sunt ; fidei et sensus conjugium tanquam legitimum multa pompa et solennitate celebrates, et grata rerum varietate animos hominum permulcentes ; sed interim divina humanis, impari conditione, permiscentes. At in hujusmodi misturis theologiae cum philosophia, ea tantum, quae nunc in philosophia recepta sunt, comprehenduntur ; sed nova, licet in melius mutata, tantum non summoventur et exterminantur. Denique invenias, ex quorundam theologorum imperitia, aditum alicui philosophiae, quamvis emendatae, pene interclusum esse. Alii siquidem simplicius subverentur, ne forte altior in naturam inquisitio ultra concessum sobrietatis terminum penetret ; traducentes et perperam torquentes ea, quae de divinis mysteriis in Scripturis sacris adversus rimantes secreta divina dicuntur, ad occulta naturae, quae nullo interdicto prohibentur. Alii callidus conjiciunt et animo versant, si media ignorentur, singula ad manum et virgulam divinam (quod religionis, ut putant, maxime intersit) facilius posse referri : quod nihil aliud est, quam Deo per mendacium gratificari velle. Alii ab exemplo metuunt, ne motus et mutationes circa philosophiam in religionem incurrant ac desinant. Alii denique solliciti videntur, ne in naturae inquisitione aliquid inveniri possit, quod religionem (praesertim apud indoctos) subvertat, aut saltem labefactet. At isti duo posteriores metus nobis videntur omnino sapientiam animalem sapere ; ac si homines, in mentis suae recessibus et secretis cogitationibus de firmitudine religionis, et fidei in sensum imperio diffiderent ac dubitarent ; et propterea ab inquisitione veritatis in naturalibus periculum illis impendere metuerent. At vere rem reputanti, philosophia naturalis, post verbum Dei, certissima superstitionis medicina est ; eademque probatissimum fidei alimentum. Itaque merito religioni donatur tanquam fidissima ancilla : cum altera voluntatem Dei, altera potestatem manifestet. Neque enim erravit Ille, quit dixit ; erratis, nescientes Scripturas et potestatem Dei : informationem de voluntate et meditationem de potestate nexu individuo commiscens et copulans. Interim minus mirum est, si naturalis philosophiae incrementa cohibita sint ; cum religio, quae plurimum apud animos hominum pollet, per quorundam imperitiam et zelum incautum in partem contrariam transierit et abrepta fuerit. Neither is it to be forgotten that in every age natural philosophy has had a troublesome and hard to deal with adversary — namely, superstition, and the blind and immoderate zeal of religion. For we see among the Greeks that those who first proposed to men's then uninitiated ears the natural causes for thunder and for storms were thereupon found guilty of impiety. Nor was much more forbearance shown by some of the ancient fathers of the Christian church to those who on most convincing grounds (such as no one in his senses would now think of contradicting) maintained that the earth was round, and of consequence asserted the existence of the antipodes. Moreover, as things now are, to discourse of nature is made harder and more perilous by the summaries and systems of the schoolmen who, having reduced theology into regular order as well as they were able, and fashioned it into the shape of an art, ended in incorporating the contentious and thorny philosophy of Aristotle, more than was fit, with the body of religion. To the same result, though in a different way, tend the speculations of those who have taken upon them to deduce the truth of the Christian religion from the principles of philosophers, and to confirm it by their authority, pompously solemnizing this union of the sense and faith as a lawful marriage, and entertaining men's minds with a pleasing variety of matter, but all the while disparaging things divine by mingling them with things human. Now in such mixtures of theology with philosophy only the received doctrines of philosophy are included; while new ones, albeit changes for the better, are all but expelled and exterminated. Lastly, you will find that by the simpleness of certain divines, access to any philosophy, however pure, is well-nigh closed. Some are weakly afraid lest a deeper search into nature should transgress the permitted limits of sober-mindedness, wrongfully wresting and transferring what is said in Holy Writ against those who pry into sacred mysteries, to the hidden things of nature, which are barred by no prohibition. Others with more subtlety surmise and reflect that if second causes are unknown everything can more readily be referred to the divine hand and rod, a point in which they think religion greatly concerned — which is in fact nothing else but to seek to gratify God with a lie. Others fear from past example that movements and changes in philosophy will end in assaults on religion. And others again appear apprehensive that in the investigation of nature something may be found to subvert or at least shake the authority of religion, especially with the unlearned. But these two last fears seem to me to savor utterly of carnal wisdom; as if men in the recesses and secret thought of their hearts doubted and distrusted the strength of religion and the empire of faith over the sense, and therefore feared that the investigation of truth in nature might be dangerous to them. But if the matter be truly considered, natural philosophy is, after the word of God, at once the surest medicine against superstition and the most approved nourishment for faith, and therefore she is rightly given to religion as her most faithful handmaid, since the one displays the will of God, the other his power. For he did not err who said, "Ye err in that ye know not the Scriptures and the power of God," thus coupling and blending in an indissoluble bond information concerning his will and meditation concerning his power. Meanwhile it is not surprising if the growth of natural philosophy is checked when religion, the thing which has most power over men's minds, has by the simpleness and incautious zeal of certain persons been drawn to take part against her.
Rursus in moribus et institutis scholarum, academiarum, collegiorum, et similium conventuum, quae doctorum hominum sedibus et eruditionis culturae destinata sunt, omnia progressui scientiarum adversa inveniuntur. Lectiones enim et exercitia ita sunt disposita, ut aliud a consuetis haud facile cuiquam in mentem veniat cogitare aut contemplari. Si vero unus aut alter fortasse judicii libertate uti sustinverit, is sibi soli hanc operam imponere possit ; ab aliorum autem consortio nihil capiet utilitatis. Sin et hoc toleraverit, tamen in capessenda fortuna industriam hanc et magnanimitatem sibi non levi impedimento fore experietur. Studia enim hominum in ejusmodi locis in quorundam authorum scripta, veluti in carceres, conclusa sunt ; a quibus si quis dissentiat, continuo ut homo turbidus et rerum novarum cupidus corripitur. At magnum certe discrimen inter res civiles et artes : non enim idem periculum a novo motu et a nova luce. Verum in rebus civilibus mutatio etiam in melius suspecta est ob perturbationem ; cum civilia authoritate, consensu, fama, et opinione, non demonstratione, nitantur. In artibus autem et scientiis, tanquam in metalli fodinis, omnia novis operibus et ulterioribus progressibus circumstrepere debent. Atque secundum rectam rationem res ita se habet, sed interim non ita vivtur : sed ista, quam diximus, doctrinarum administratio et politia scientiarum augmenta durius premere consuevit. Again, in the customs and institutions of schools, academies, colleges, and similar bodies destined for the abode of learned men and the cultivation of learning, everything is found adverse to the progress of science. For the lectures and exercises there are so ordered that to think or speculate on anything out of the common way can hardly occur to any man. And if one or two have the boldness to use any liberty of judgment, they must undertake the task all by themselves; they can have no advantage from the company of others. And if they can endure this also, they will find their industry and largeness of mind no slight hindrance to their fortune. For the studies of men in these places are confined and as it were imprisoned in the writings of certain authors, from whom if any man dissent he is straightway arraigned as a turbulent person and an innovator. But surely there is a great distinction between matters of state and the arts; for the danger from new motion and from new light is not the same. In matters of state a change even for the better is distrusted, because it unsettles what is established; these things resting on authority, consent, fame and opinion, not on demonstration. But arts and sciences should be like mines, where the noise of new works and further advances is heard on every side. But though the matter be so according to right reason, it is not so acted on in practice; and the points above mentioned in the administration and government of learning put a severe restraint upon the advancement of the sciences.
Atque insuper licet ista invidia cessaverit ; tamen satis est ad cohibendum augmentum scientiarum, quod hujusmodi conatus et industriae praemiis careant. Non enim penes eosdem est cultura scientiarum et praemium. Scientiarum enim augmenta a magnis utique ingeniis proveniunt ; at pretia et praemia scientiarum sunt penes vulgus aut principes viros, qui (nisi raro admodum) vix mediocriter docti sunt. Quinetiam hujusmodi progressus non solum praemiis et beneficentia hominum, verum etiam ipsa populari laude destituti sunt. Sunt enim illi supra captum maximae partis hominum, et ab opinionum vulgarium ventis facile obruuntur et extinguuntur. Itaque nil mirum, si res illa non foeliciter successerit, quae in honore non fuit. Nay, even if that jealousy were to cease, still it is enough to check the growth of science that efforts and labors in this field go unrewarded. For it does not rest with the same persons to cultivate sciences and to reward them. The growth of them comes from great wits; the prizes and rewards of them are in the hands of the people, or of great persons, who are but in very few cases even moderately learned. Moreover, this kind of progress is not only unrewarded with prizes and substantial benefits; it has not even the advantage of popular applause. For it is a greater matter than the generality of men can take in, and is apt to be overwhelmed and extinguished by the gales of popular opinions. And it is nothing strange if a thing not held in honor does not prosper.
Sed longe maximum progressibus scientiarum, et novis pensis ac provinciis in iisdem suscipiendis, obstaculum deprehenditur in desperatione hominum, et suppositione impossibilis. Solent enim viri prudentes et severi in hujusmodi rebus plane diffidere : naturae obscuritatem, vitae brevitatem, sensuum fallacias, judicii infirmitatem, experimentorum difficultates, et similia secum reputantes. Itaque existimant, esse quosdam scientiarum, per temporum et aetatum mundi revolutiones, fluxus et refluxus ; cum aliis temporibus crescant et floreant, aliis declinent et jaceant : ita tamen, ut cum ad certum quendam gradum et statum pervenerint, nil ulterius possint. Itaque si quis majora credat aut spondeat, id putant esse cujusdam impotentis et immaturi animi ; atque hujusmodi conatus initia scilicet laeta, media ardua, extrema confusa habere. Atque cum hujusmodi cogitationes eae sint, quae in viros graves et judicio praestantes facile cadant, currandum revera est, ne rei optimae et pulcherrimae amore capti severitatem judicii relaxemus, aut minuamus ; et sedulo videndum, quid spei affulgeat, et ex qua parte se ostendat ; atque auris levioribus spei rejectis, eae, quae plus firmitudinis habere videntur, omnino discutiendae sunt et pensitandae. Quinetiam prudentia civilis ad consilium vocanda est et adhibenda, quae ex praescripto diffidit, et de rebus humanis in deterius conjicit. Itaque jam et de spe dicendum est ; praesertim cum nos promissores non simus, nec vim aut insidias hominum judiciis faciamus aut struamus, sed homines manu et sponte ducamus. Atque licet longe potentissimum futurum sit remedium ad spem imprimendam, quando homines ad particularia, praesertim in tabulis nostris inveniendi digesta et disposita (quae partim ad secundam, sed multo magis ad quartam Instaurationis nostrae partem pertinent), adducemus ; cum hoc ipsum sit non spes tantum, sed tanquam res ipsa : tamen ut omnia clementius fiant, pergendum est in instituto nostro de praeparandis hominum mentibus ; cujus praeparationis ista ostensio spei pars est non exigua. Nam absque ea, reliqua faciunt magis ad contristationem hominum (scilicet, ut deteriorem et viliorem habeant de iis, quae jam in usu sunt, opinionem, quam nunc habent, et suae conditionis infortunium plus sentiant et pernoscant), quam ad alacritatem aliquam inducendam, aut industriam experiendi acuendam. Itaque conjecturae nostrae, quae spem in hac re faciunt probabilem, aperiendae sunt et proponendae : sicut Columbus fecit, ante navigationem illam suam mirabilem maris Atlantici : cum rationes adduxerit, cur ipse novas terras et continentes praeter eas, quae ante cognitae fuerunt, inveniri posse confideret : quae rationes, licet primo rejectae, postea tamen experimento probatae sunt, et rerum maximarum causae et initia fuerunt. But by far the greatest obstacle to the progress of science and to the undertaking of new tasks and provinces therein is found in this — that men despair and think things impossible. For wise and serious men are wont in these matters to be altogether distrustful, considering with themselves the obscurity of nature, the shortness of life, the deceitfulness of the senses, the weakness of the judgment, the difficulty of experiment, and the like; and so supposing that in the revolution of time and of the ages of the world the sciences have their ebbs and flows; that at one season they grow and flourish, at another wither and decay, yet in such sort that when they have reached a certain point and condition they can advance no further. If therefore anyone believes or promises more, they think this comes of an ungoverned and unripened mind, and that such attempts have prosperous beginnings, become difficult as they go on, and end in confusion. Now since these are thoughts which naturally present themselves to men grave and of great judgment, we must take good heed that we be not led away by our love for a most fair and excellent object to relax or diminish the severity of our judgment. We must observe diligently what encouragement dawns upon us and from what quarter, and, putting aside the lighter breezes of hope, we must thoroughly sift and examine those which promise greater steadiness and constancy. Nay, and we must take state prudence too into our counsels, whose rule is to distrust, and to take the less favorable view of human affairs. I am now therefore to speak touching hope, especially as I am not a dealer in promises, and wish neither to force nor to ensnare men's judgments, but to lead them by the hand with their good will. And though the strongest means of inspiring hope will be to bring men to particulars, especially to particulars digested and arranged in my Tables of Discovery (the subject partly of the second, but much more of the fourth part of my Instauration), since this is not merely the promise of the thing but the thing itself; nevertheless, that everything may be done with gentleness, I will proceed with my plan of preparing men's minds, of which preparation to give hope is no unimportant part. For without it the rest tends rather to make men sad (by giving them a worse and meaner opinion of things as they are than they now have, and making them more fully to feel and know the unhappiness of their own condition) than to induce any alacrity or to whet their industry in making trial. And therefore it is fit that I publish and set forth those conjectures of mine which make hope in this matter reasonable, just as Columbus did, before that wonderful voyage of his across the Atlantic, when he gave the reasons for his conviction that new lands and continents might be discovered besides those which were known before; which reasons, though rejected at first, were afterwards made good by experience, and were the causes and beginnings of great events.
Principium autem sumendum a Deo : hoc nimirum quod agitur, propter excellentem in ipso boni naturam, manifeste a Deo esse, qui author boni, et pater luminum est. In operationibus autem divinis, initia quaeque tenuissima exitum certo trahunt. Atque quod de spiritualibus dictum est, Regnum Dei non venit cum observatione, id etiam in omni majore opere Providentiae evenire reperitur ; ut omnia sine strepitu et sonitu placide labantur, atque res plane agatur priusquam homines eam agi putent aut advertant. Neque omittenda est prophetia Danielis de ultimis mundi temporibus ; Multi pertransibunt, et multiplex erit scientia : manifeste innuens et significans, esse in fatis, id est, in Providentia, ut pertransitus mundi (qui per tot longinquas navigationes impletus plane aut jam in opere esse videtur) et augmenta scientiarum in eandem aetatem incidant. The beginning is from God: for the business which is in hand, having the character of good so strongly impressed upon it, appears manifestly to proceed from God, who is the author of good, and the Father of Lights. Now in divine operations even the smallest beginnings lead of a certainty to their end. And as it was said of spiritual things, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation," so is it in all the greater works of Divine Providence; everything glides on smoothly and noiselessly, and the work is fairly going on before men are aware that it has begun. Nor should the prophecy of Daniel be forgotten touching the last ages of the world: "Many shall go to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased"; clearly intimating that the thorough passage of the world (which now by so many distant voyages seems to be accomplished, or in course of accomplishment), and the advancement of the sciences, are destined by fate, that is, by Divine Providence, to meet in the same age.
Sequitur ratio omnium maxima ad faciendam spem ; nempe ex erroribus temporis praeteriti et viarum adhuc tentatarum. Optima enim est ea reprehensio, quam de statu civili haud prudenter administrato quispiam his verbis complexus est : Quod ad praeterita pessimum est, id ad futura optimum videri debet. Si enim vos omnia, quae ad officium vestrum spectant, praestitissetis, neque tamen res vestrae in meliore loco essent ; ne spes quidem ulla reliqua foret, eas in melius provehi posse. Sed cum rerum vestrarum status, non a vi ipsa rerum, sed ab erroribus vestris male se habeat ; sperandum est, illis erroribus missis aut correctis, magnam rerum in melius mutationem fieri posse. Simili modo, si homines per tanta annorum spatia viam veram inveniendi et colendi scientias tenuissent, nec tamen ulterius progredi potuissent ; audax proculdubio et temeraria foret opinio, posse rem in ulterius provehi. Quod si in via ipsa erratum sit, atque hominum opera in iis consumpta, in quibus minime oportebat ; sequitur ex eo, non in rebus ipsis difficultatem oriri, quae potestatis nostrae non sunt, sed in intellectu humano ejusque usu et applicatione ; quae res remedium et medicinam suscipit. Itaque optimum fuerit illos ipsos errores proponere : quot enim fuerint errorum impedimenta in praeterito, tot sunt spei argumenta in futurum. Ea vero licet in his, quae superius dicta sunt, non intacta omnino fuerint ; tamen ea etiam nunc breviter, verbis nudis ac simplicibus, repraesentare visum est. Next comes a consideration of the greatest importance as an argument of hope; I mean that drawn from the errors of past time, and of the ways hitherto trodden. For most excellent was the censure once passed upon a government that had been unwisely administered. "That which is the worst thing in reference to the past, ought to be regarded as best for the future. For if you had done all that your duty demanded, and yet your affairs were no better, you would not have even a hope left you that further improvement is possible. But now, when your misfortunes are owing, not to the force of circumstances, but to your own errors, you may hope that by dismissing or correcting these errors, a great change may be made for the better." In like manner, if during so long a course of years men had kept the true road for discovering and cultivating sciences, and had yet been unable to make further progress therein, bold doubtless and rash would be the opinion that further progress is possible. But if the road itself has been mistaken, and men's labor spent on unfit objects, it follows that the difficulty has its rise not in things themselves, which are not in our power, but in the human understanding, and the use and application thereof, which admits of remedy and medicine. It will be of great use therefore to set forth what these errors are. For as many impediments as there have been in times past from this cause, so many arguments are there of hope for the time to come. And although they have been partly touched before, I think fit here also, in plain and simple words, to represent them.
Qui tractaverunt scientias aut empirici aut dogmatici fuerunt. Empirici, formicae more, congerunt tantum, et utuntur : rationales, aranearum more, telas ex se conficiunt : apis vero ratio media est, quae materiam ex floribus horti et agri elicit ; sed tamen eam propria facultate vertit et digerit. Neque absimile philosophiae verum opificium est ; quod nec mentis viribus tantum aut praecipue nititur, neque ex historia naturali et mechanicis experimentis praebitam materiam, in memoria integram, sed in intellectu mutatam et subactam, reponit. Itaque ex harum facultatum (experimentalis scilicet et rationalis) arctiore et sanctiore foedere (quod adhuc factum non est) bene sperandum est. Those who have handled sciences have been either men of experiment or men of dogmas. The men of experiment are like the ant, they only collect and use; the reasoners resemble spiders, who make cobwebs out of their own substance. But the bee takes a middle course: it gathers its material from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own. Not unlike this is the true business of philosophy; for it neither relies solely or chiefly on the powers of the mind, nor does it take the matter which it gathers from natural history and mechanical experiments and lay it up in the memory whole, as it finds it, but lays it up in the understanding altered and digested. Therefore from a closer and purer league between these two faculties, the experimental and the rational (such as has never yet been made), much may be hoped.
Naturalis philosophia adhuc sincera non invenitur, sed infecta et corrupta : in Aristotelis schola, per logicam, in Platonis schola, per theologiam naturalem ; in secunda schola Platonis, Procli, et aliorum, per mathematicam ; quae philosophiam naturalem terminare, non generare aut procreare debet. At ex philosophia naturali pura et impermista meliora speranda sunt. We have as yet no natural philosophy that is pure; all is tainted and corrupted: in Aristotle's school by logic; in Plato's by natural theology; in the second school of Platonists, such as Proclus and others, by mathematics, which ought only to give definiteness to natural philosophy, not to generate or give it birth. From a natural philosophy pure and unmixed, better things are to be expected.
Nemo adhuc tanta mentis constantia et rigore inventus est, ut decreverit et sibi imposuerit theorias et notiones communes penitus abolere, et intellectum abrasum et aequum ad particularia de integro applicare. Itaque ratio illa humana, quam habemus, ex multa fide, et multo etiam casu, nec non ex puerilibus, quas primo hausimus, notionibus, farrago quaedam est et congeries. Quod si quis aetate matura, et sensibus integris, et mente repurgata, se ad experientiam et ad particularia de integro applicet, de eo melius sperandum est. Atque hac in parte nobis spondemus fortunam Alexandri Magni : neque quis nos vanitatis arguat, antequam exitum rei audiat, quae ad exuendam omnem vanitatem spectat. Etenim de Alexandro et ejus rebus gestis Aeschines ita loquutus est : Nos certe vitam mortalem non vivimus ; sed in hoc nati sumus, ut posteritas de nobis portenta narret et praedicet : perinde ac si Alexandri res gestas pro miraculo habuisset. At aevis sequentibus Titus Livius melius rem advertit et introspexit, atque de Alexandro hujusmodi quippiam dixit : Eum non aliud quam bene ausum vana contemnere. Atque simile etiam de nobis judicium futuris temporibus factum iri existimamus : Nos nil magni fecisse ; sed tantum ea, quae pro magnis habentur, minoris fecisse. Sed interim (quod jam diximus) non est spes nisi in regeneratione scientiarum ; ut eae scilicet ab experientia certo ordine excitentur et rursus condantur : quod adhuc factum esse aut cogitatum nemo (ut arbitramur) affirmaverit. No one has yet been found so firm of mind and purpose as resolutely to compel himself to sweep away all theories and common notions, and to apply the understanding, thus made fair and even, to a fresh examination of particulars. Thus it happens that human knowledge, as we have it, is a mere medley and ill-digested mass, made up of much credulity and much accident, and also of the childish notions which we at first imbibed. Now if anyone of ripe age, unimpaired senses, and well-purged mind, apply himself anew to experience and particulars, better hopes may be entertained of that man. In which point I promise to myself a like fortune to that of Alexander the Great, and let no man tax me with vanity till he have heard the end; for the thing which I mean tends to the putting off of all vanity. For of Alexander and his deeds Aeschines spoke thus: "Assuredly we do not live the life of mortal men; but to this end were we born, that in after ages wonders might be told of us," as if what Alexander had done seemed to him miraculous. But in the next age Titus Livius took a better and a deeper view of the matter, saying in effect that Alexander "had done no more than take courage to despise vain apprehensions." And a like judgment I suppose may be passed on myself in future ages: that I did no great things, but simply made less account of things that were accounted great. In the meanwhile, as I have already said, there is no hope except in a new birth of science; that is, in raising it regularly up from experience and building it afresh, which no one (I think) will say has yet been done or thought of.
Atque experientiae fundamenta (quando ad hanc omnino deveniendum est) aut nulla, aut admodum infirma adhuc fuerunt ; nec particularium sylva et materies, vel numero, vel genere, vel certitudine, informando intellectui competens, aut ullo modo sufficiens, adhuc quaesita est et congesta. Sed contra homines docti (supini sane et faciles) rumores quosdam experientiae, et quasi famas et auras ejus, ad philosophiam suam vel constituendam vel confirmandam exceperunt, atque illis nihilominus pondus legitimi testimonii attribuerunt. Ac veluti si regnum aliquod aut status non ex literis et relationibus a legatis et nuntiis fide dignis missis, sed ex urbanorum sermunculis et ex triviis consilia sua et negotia gubernaret ; omnino talis in philosphiam administratio, quatenus ad experientiam, introducta est. Nil debitis modis exquisitum, nil verificatum, nil numeratum, nil appensum, nil dimensum in naturali historia reperitur. At quod in observatione indefinitum et vagum, id in informatione fallax et infidum est. Quod si cui haec mira dictu videantur, et querelae minus justae propiora, cum Aristoteles tantus ipse vir, et tanti regis opibus subnixus, tam accuratam de animalibus historiam confecerit, atque alii nonnulli majore diligentia (licet strepitu minore) multe adjecerint, et rursus alii de plantis, de metallis, et fossilibus, historias et narrationes copiosas conscripserint ; is sane non satis attendere et perspicere videtur, quid agatur in praesentia. Alia enim est ratio naturalis historiae, quae propter se confecta est ; alia ejus, quae collecta est ad informandum intellectum in ordine ad condendam philosophiam. Atque hae duae historiae tum aliis rebus, tum praecipue in hoc differunt ; quod prima ex illis specierum naturalium varietatem, non artium mechanicarum experimenta contineat. Quemadmodum enim in civilibus ingenium cujusque, et occultus animi affectuumque sensus, melius elicitur, cum quis in perturbatione ponitur, quam alias : simili modo, et occulta naturae magis se produnt per vexationes artium, quam cum cursu suo meant. Itaque tum demum bene sperandum est de naturali philosophia, postquam historia naturalis (quae ejus basis est et fundamentum) melius instructa fuerit ; antea vero minime. Now for grounds of experience — since to experience we must come — we have as yet had either none or very weak ones; no search has been made to collect a store of particular observations sufficient either in number, or in kind, or in certainty, to inform the understanding, or in any way adequate. On the contrary, men of learning, but easy withal and idle, have taken for the construction or for the confirmation of their philosophy certain rumors and vague fames or airs of experience, and allowed to these the weight of lawful evidence. And just as if some kingdom or state were to direct its counsels and affairs not by letters and reports from ambassadors and trustworthy messengers, but by the gossip of the streets; such exactly is the system of management introduced into philosophy with relation to experience. Nothing duly investigated, nothing verified, nothing counted, weighed, or measured, is to be found in natural history; and what in observation is loose and vague, is in information deceptive and treacherous. And if anyone thinks that this is a strange thing to say, and something like an unjust complaint, seeing that Aristotle, himself so great a man, and supported by the wealth of so great a king, has composed so accurate a history of animals; and that others with greater diligence, though less pretense, have made many additions; while others, again, have compiled copious histories and descriptions of metals, plants, and fossils; it seems that he does not rightly apprehend what it is that we are now about. For a natural history which is composed for its own sake is not like one that is collected to supply the understanding with information for the building up of philosophy. They differ in many ways, but especially in this: that the former contains the variety of natural species only, and not experiments of the mechanical arts. For even as in the business of life a man's disposition and the secret workings of his mind and affections are better discovered when he is in trouble than at other times, so likewise the secrets of nature reveal themselves more readily under the vexations of art than when they go their own way. Good hopes may therefore be conceived of natural philosophy, when natural history, which is the basis and foundation of it, has been drawn up on a better plan; but not till then.
Atque rursus in ipsa experimentorum mechanicorum copia, summa eorum, quae ad intellectus informationem maxime faciunt et juvant, detegitur inopia. Mechanicus enim, de veritatis inquisitione nullo modo sollicitus, non ad alia quam quae operi suo subserviunt aut animum erigit aut manum porrigit. Tum vero de scientiarum ulteriore progressu spes bene fundabitur, quum in Historiam Naturalem recipientur et aggregabuntur complura experimenta, quae in se nullius sunt usus, se ad inventionem causarum et axiomatum tantum faciunt ; quae nos lucifera experimenta, ad differentiam fructiferorum, appellare consuevimus. Illa autem miram habent in se virtutem et conditionem ; hanc videlicet, quod nunquam fallant aut frustrentur. Cum enim ad hoc adhibeantur, non ut opus aliquod efficiant sed ut causam naturalem in aliquo revelent, quaquaversum cadunt, intentioni aeque satisfaciunt ; cum quaestionem terminent. Again, even in the great plenty of mechanical experiments, there is yet a great scarcity of those which are of most use for the information of the understanding. For the mechanic, not troubling himself with the investigation of truth, confines his attention to those things which bear upon his particular work, and will not either raise his mind or stretch out his hand for anything else. But then only will there be good ground of hope for the further advance of knowledge when there shall be received and gathered together into natural history a variety of experiments which are of no use in themselves but simply serve to discover causes and axioms, which I call Experimenta lucifera, experiments of light, to distinguish them from those which I call fructifera, experiments of fruit. Now experiments of this kind have one admirable property and condition: they never miss or fail. For since they are applied, not for the purpose of producing any particular effect, but only of discovering the natural cause of some effect, they answer the end equally well whichever way they turn out; for they settle the question.
C. C
At non solum copia major experimentorum quaerenda est et procuranda, atque etiam alterius generis, quam adhuc factum est ; sed etiam methodus plane alia et ordo et processus continuande et provehendae Experientiae introducenda. Vaga enim Experientia et se tantum sequens (ut superius dictum est) mera palpatio est, et homines potius stupefacit quam informat. At cum Experientia lege certa procedet, seriatim et continenter, de scientiis aliquid melius sperari poterit. But not only is a greater abundance of experiments to be sought for and procured, and that too of a different kind from those hitherto tried; an entirely different method, order, and process for carrying on and advancing experience must also be introduced. For experience, when it wanders in its own track, is, as I have already remarked, mere groping in the dark, and confounds men rather than instructs them. But when it shall proceed in accordance with a fixed law, in regular order, and without interruption, then may better things be hoped of knowledge.
Postquam vero copia et materies Historiae Naturalis et Experientiae, talis qualis ad opus intellectus sive ad opus philosophicum requiritur, praesto jam sit et parata ; tamen nullo modo sufficit intellectus, ut in illam materiem agat sponte et memoriter ; non magis, quam si quis computationem alicujus ephemeridis memoriter se tenere et superare posse speret. Atque hactenus tamen potiores meditationis partes quam scriptionis in inveniendo fuerunt ; neque adhuc Experientia literata facta est : atqui nulla nisi de scripto inventio probanda est. Illa vero in usum inveniente, ab Experientia facta demum literata melius sperandum. But even after such a store of natural history and experience as is required for the work of the understanding, or of philosophy, shall be ready at hand, still the understanding is by no means competent to deal with it offhand and by memory alone; no more than if a man should hope by force of memory to retain and make himself master of the computation of an ephemeris. And yet hitherto more has been done in matter of invention by thinking than by writing; and experience has not yet learned her letters. Now no course of invention can be satisfactory unless it be carried on in writing. But when this is brought into use, and experience has been taught to read and write, better things may be hoped.
Atque insuper cum tantus sit particularium numerus et quasi exercitus, isque ita sparsus et diffusus, ut intellectum disgreget et confundat, de velitationibus et levibus motibus et transcursibus intellectus non bene sperandum est ; nisi fiat instructio et coordinatio, per tabulas inveniendi idoneas et bene dispositas et tanquam vivas, eorum quae pertinent ad subjectum in quo versatur inquisitio, atque ad harum tabularum auxilia praeparata et digesta mens applicetur. Moreover, since there is so great a number and army of particulars, and that army so scattered and dispersed as to distract and confound the understanding, little is to be hoped for from the skirmishings and slight attacks and desultory movements of the intellect, unless all the particulars which pertain to the subject of inquiry shall, by means of Tables of Discovery, apt, well arranged, and, as it were, animate, be drawn up and marshaled; and the mind be set to work upon the helps duly prepared and digested which these tables supply.
Verum post copiam particularium rite et ordine veluti sub oculos positorum, non statim transeundum est ad inquisitionem et inventionem novorum particularium aut operum ; aut saltem, si hoc fiat, in eo non acquiescendum. Neque enim negamus, postquam omnia omnium artium experimenta collecta et digesta fuerint atque ad unius hominis notitam et judicium pervenerint, quin ex ipsa traductione experimentorum unius artis in alias multa nova inveniri possint ad humanam vitam et statum utilia, per istam Experientiam quam vocamus Literatam : sed tamen minora de ea speranda sunt ; majora vero a nova luce Axiomatum ex particularibus illis certa via et regula eductorum, quae rursus nova particularia indicent et designent. Neque enim in plano via sita est, sed ascendendo et descendendo ; ascendendo primo ad Axiomata, descendendo ad Opera. But after this store of particulars has been set out duly and in order before our eyes, we are not to pass at once to the investigation and discovery of new particulars or works; or at any rate if we do so we must not stop there. For although I do not deny that when all the experiments of all the arts shall have been collected and digested, and brought within one man's knowledge and judgment, the mere transferring of the experiments of one art to others may lead, by means of that experience which I term literate, to the discovery of many new things of service to the life and state of man, yet it is no great matter that can be hoped from that; but from the new light of axioms, which having been educed from those particulars by a certain method and rule, shall in their turn point out the way again to new particulars, greater things may be looked for. For our road does not lie on a level, but ascends and descends; first ascending to axioms, then descending to works.
Neque tamen permittendum est, ut intellectus a particularibus ad axiomata remota et quasi generalissima (qualia sunt principia, quae vocant, artium et rerum) saliat et volet ; et ad eorum immotam veritatem axiomata media probet et expediat : quod adhuc factum est, prono ad hoc impetu naturali intellectus, atque etiam ad hoc ipsum, per demonstrationes quae fiunt per syllogismum, jampridem edocto et assuefacto. Sed de scientiis tum demum bene sperandum est, quando per scalam veram, et per gradus continuos et non intermissos aut hiulcos, a particularibus ascendetur ad axiomata minora, et deinde ad media, alia aliis superiora, et postremo demum ad generalissima. Etenim axiomata infirma non multum ab experientia nuda discrepant. Suprema vero illa et generalissima (quae habentur) notionalia sunt et abstracta, et nil habent solidi. At media sunt axiomata illa vera et solida et viva, in quibus humanae res et fortunae sitae sunt ; et supra haec quoque, tandem ipsa illa generalissima ; talia scilicet quae non abstracta sint, sed per haec media vere limitantur. Itaque hominum intellectui non plumae addendae, sed plumbum potius et pondera ; ut cohibeant omnem saltum et volatum. Atque hoc adhuc factum non est ; quum vero factum fuerit, melius de scientiis sperare licebit. The understanding must not, however, be allowed to jump and fly from particulars to axioms remote and of almost the highest generality (such as the first principles, as they are called, of arts and things), and taking stand upon them as truths that cannot be shaken, proceed to prove and frame the middle axioms by reference to them; which has been the practice hitherto, the understanding being not only carried that way by a natural impulse, but also by the use of syllogistic demonstration trained and inured to it. But then, and then only, may we hope well of the sciences when in a just scale of ascent, and by successive steps not interrupted or broken, we rise from particulars to lesser axioms; and then to middle axioms, one above the other; and last of all to the most general. For the lowest axioms differ but slightly from bare experience, while the highest and most general (which we now have) are notional and abstract and without solidity. But the middle are the true and solid and living axioms, on which depend the affairs and fortunes of men; and above them again, last of all, those which are indeed the most general; such, I mean, as are not abstract, but of which those intermediate axioms are really limitations. The understanding must not therefore be supplied with wings, but rather hung with weights, to keep it from leaping and flying. Now this has never yet been done; when it is done, we may entertain better hopes of the sciences.
In constituendo autem axiomate, forma inductionis alia quam adhuc in usu fuit excogitanda est ; eaque non ad principia tantum (quae vocant) probanda et invenienda, sed etiam ad axiomata minora et media, denique omnia. Inductio enim quae procedit per enumerationem simplicem res puerilis est, et precario concludit, et periculo exponitur ab instantia contradictoria, et plerumque secundum pauciora quam par est, et ex his tantummodo quae praesto sunt, pronunciat. At inductio, quae ad inventionem et demonstrationem scientiarum et artium erit utilis, naturam separare debet, per rejectiones et exclusiones debitas ; ac deinde, post negativas tot quot sufficiunt, super affirmativas concludere ; quod adhuc factum non est, nec tentatum certe, nisi tantummodo a Platone, qui ad excutiendas definitiones et ideas hac certe forma inductionis aliquatenus utitur. Verum ad hujus inductionis, sive demonstrationis, instructionem bonam et legitimam quamplurima adhibenda sunt, quae adhuc nullius mortalium cogitationem subiere ; adeo ut in ea major sit consumenda opera, quam adhuc consumpta est in syllogismo. Atque hujus inductionis auxilio, non solum ad axiomata invenienda, verum etiam ad notiones terminandas, utendum est. Atque in hac certe inductione spes maxima sita est. In establishing axioms, another form of induction must be devised than has hitherto been employed, and it must be used for proving and discovering not first principles (as they are called) only, but also the lesser axioms, and the middle, and indeed all. For the induction which proceeds by simple enumeration is childish; its conclusions are precarious and exposed to peril from a contradictory instance; and it generally decides on too small a number of facts, and on those only which are at hand. But the induction which is to be available for the discovery and demonstration of sciences and arts, must analyze nature by proper rejections and exclusions; and then, after a sufficient number of negatives, come to a conclusion on the affirmative instances — which has not yet been done or even attempted, save only by Plato, who does indeed employ this form of induction to a certain extent for the purpose of discussing definitions and ideas. But in order to furnish this induction or demonstration well and duly for its work, very many things are to be provided which no mortal has yet thought of; insomuch that greater labor will have to be spent in it than has hitherto been spent on the syllogism. And this induction must be used not only to discover axioms, but also in the formation of notions. And it is in this induction that our chief hope lies.
At in axiomatibus constituendis per hanc inductionem, examinatio et probatio etiam facienda est, utrum quod constituitur axioma aptatum sit tantum et ad mensuram factum eorum particularium ex quibus extrahitur ; an vero sit amplius et latius. Quod si sit amplius aut latius, videndum an eam suam amplitudinem et latitudinem per novorum particularium designationem, quasi fide-jussione quadam, firmet ; ne vel in jam notis tantum haereamus, vel laxiore fortasse complexu umbras et formas abstractas, non solida et determinata in materia, prensemus. Haec vero cum in usum venerint, solida tum demum spes merito affulserit. But in establishing axioms by this kind of induction, we must also examine and try whether the axiom so established be framed to the measure of those particulars only from which it is derived, or whether it be larger and wider. And if it be larger and wider, we must observe whether by indicating to us new particulars it confirm that wideness and largeness as by a collateral security, that we may not either stick fast in things already known, or loosely grasp at shadows and abstract forms, not at things solid and realized in matter. And when this process shall have come into use, then at last shall we see the dawn of a solid hope.
Atque hic etiam resumendum est, quod superius dictum est de Naturali Philosophia producta et scientiis particularibus ad eam reductis, ut non fiat scissio et truncatio scientiarum ; nam etiam absque hoc minus de progressu sperandum est. And here also should be remembered what was said above concerning the extending of the range of natural philosophy to take in the particular sciences, and the referring or bringing back of the particular sciences to natural philosophy, that the branches of knowledge may not be severed and cut off from the stem. For without this the hope of progress will not be so good.
Atque de desperatione tollenda et spe facienda, ex praeteriti temporis erroribus valere jussis aut rectificatis, jam dictum est. Videndum autem et si quae alia sint quae spem faciant. Illud vero occurrit ; si hominibus non quaerentibus, et aliud agentibus, multa utilia, tanquam casu quodam aut per occasionem, inventa sint ; nemini dubium esse posse, quin iisdem quaerentibus et hoc agentibus, idque via et ordine, non impetu et desultorie, longe plura detegi necesse sit. Licet enim semel aut iterum accidere possit, ut quispiam in id forte fortuna incidat, quod magno conatu et de industria scrutantem antea fugit ; tamen in summa rerum proculdubio contrarium invenitur. Itaque longe plura et meliora, atque per minora intervalla, a ratione et industria et directione et intentione hominum speranda sunt, quam a casu et instinctu animalium et hujusmodi, quae hactenus principium inventis dederunt. So much then for the removing of despair and the raising of hope through the dismissal or rectification of the errors of past time. We must now see what else there is to ground hope upon. And this consideration occurs at once — that if many useful discoveries have been made by accident or upon occasion, when men were not seeking for them but were busy about other things, no one can doubt but that when they apply themselves to seek and make this their business, and that too by method and in order and not by desultory impulses, they will discover far more. For although it may happen once or twice that a man shall stumble on a thing by accident which, when taking great pains to search for it, he could not find, yet upon the whole it unquestionably falls out the other way. And therefore far better things, and more of them, and at shorter intervals, are to be expected from man's reason and industry and direction and fixed application than from accident and animal instinct and the like, in which inventions have hitherto had their origin.
Etiam illud ad spem trahi possit, quod nonnulla ex his quae jam inventa sunt ejus sint generis ut antequam invenirentur haud facile cuiquam in mentem venisset de iis aliquid suspicari ; sed plane quis illa ut impossibilia contempsisset. Solent enim homines de rebus novis ad exemplum veterum, et secundum phantasiam ex iis praeceptam et inquinatam, hariolari ; quod genus opinandi fallacissimum est, quandoquidem multa ex his quae ex fontibus rerum petuntur per rivulos consuetos non fluant. Veluti si quis, ante tormentorum igneorum inventionem, rem per effectus descripsisset, atque in hunc modum dixisset : inventum quoddam detectum esse, per quod muri et munitiones quaeque maximae ex longo intervallo concuti et dejici possint ; homines sane de viribus tormentorum et machinarum per pondera et rotas et hujusmodi arietationes et impulsus multiplicandis, multa et varia secum cogitaturi fuissent ; de vento autem igneo, tam subito et violenter se expandente et exsufflante, vix unquam aliquid alicujus imaginationi aut phantasiae occursurum fuisset ; utpote cujus exemplum in proximo non vidisset, nisi forte in terrae motu aut fulmine, quae, ut magnalia naturae et non imitabilia ab homine, homines statim rejecturi fuissent. Eodem modo si, ante fili bombycini inventionem, quispiam hujusmodi sermonem injecisset : esse quoddam fili genus inventum ad vestium et supellectilis usum, quod filum linteum aut laneum tenuitate, et nihilominus tenacitate, ac etiam splendore et mollitie, longe superaret ; homines statim aut de serico aliquo vegetabili, aut de animalis alicujus pilis delicatioribus, aut de avium plumis et lanugine, aliquid opinaturi fuissent ; verum de vermis pusilli textura, eaque tam copiosa et se renovante et anniversaria, nil fuissent certe commenturi. Quod si quis etiam de vermi verbum aliquod injecisset, ludibrio certe futurus fuisset, ut qui novas aranearum operas somniaret. Similiter, si ante inventionem acus nauticae quispiam hujusmodi sermonem intulisset : inventum esse quoddam instrumentum, per quod cardines et puncta coeli exacte capi et dignosci possint ; homines statim de magis exquisita fabricatione instrumentorum astronomicorum ad multa et varia, per agitationem phantasiae, discursuri fuissent ; quod vero aliquid inveniri possit, cujus motus cum coelestibus tam bene conveniret, atque ipsum tamen ex coelestibus non esset, sed tantum substantia lapidea aut metallica, omnino incredibile visum fuisset. Atque haec tamen et similia per tot mundi aetates homines latuerunt, nec per philosophiam aut artes rationales inventa sunt, sed casu et per occasionem ; suntque illius (ut diximus) generis, ut ab iis quae antea cognita fuerunt plane heterogenea et remotissima sint, ut praenotio aliqua nihil prorsus ad illa conducere potuisset. Itaque sperandum omnino est, esse adhuc in naturae sinu multa excellentis usus recondita, quae nullam cum jam inventis cognationem habent aut parallelismum, sed omnino sita sunt extra vias phantasiae ; quae tamen adhuc inventa non sunt ; quae proculdubio per multos saeculorum circuitus et ambages et ipsa quandoque prodibunt, sicut illa superiora prodierunt ; sed per viam, quam nunc tractamus, propere et subito et simul repraesentari et anticipari possunt. Another argument of hope may be drawn from this — that some of the inventions already known are such as before they were discovered it could hardly have entered any man's head to think of; they would have been simply set aside as impossible. For in conjecturing what may be men set before them the example of what has been, and divine of the new with an imagination preoccupied and colored by the old; which way of forming opinions is very fallacious, for streams that are drawn from the springheads of nature do not always run in the old channels. If, for instance, before the invention of ordnance, a man had described the thing by its effects, and said that there was a new invention by means of which the strongest towers and walls could be shaken and thrown down at a great distance, men would doubtless have begun to think over all the ways of multiplying the force of catapults and mechanical engines by weights and wheels and such machinery for ramming and projecting; but the notion of a fiery blast suddenly and violently expanding and exploding would hardly have entered into any man's imagination or fancy, being a thing to which nothing immediately analogous had been seen, except perhaps in an earthquake or in lightning, which as magnalia or marvels of nature, and by man not imitable, would have been immediately rejected. In the same way, if, before the discovery of silk, anyone had said that there was a kind of thread discovered for the purposes of dress and furniture which far surpassed the thread of linen or of wool in fineness and at the same time in strength, and also in beauty and softness, men would have begun immediately to think of some silky kind of vegetable, or of the finer hair of some animal, or of the feathers and down of birds; but a web woven by a tiny worm, and that in such abundance, and renewing itself yearly, they would assuredly never have thought. Nay, if anyone had said anything about a worm, he would no doubt have been laughed at as dreaming of a new kind of cobwebs. So again, if, before the discovery of the magnet, anyone had said that a certain instrument had been invented by means of which the quarters and points of the heavens could be taken and distinguished with exactness, men would have been carried by their imagination to a variety of conjectures concerning the more exquisite construction of astronomical instruments; but that anything could be discovered agreeing so well in its movements with the heavenly bodies, and yet not a heavenly body itself, but simply a substance of metal or stone, would have been judged altogether incredible. Yet these things and others like them lay for so many ages of the world concealed from men, nor was it by philosophy or the rational arts that they were found out at last, but by accident and occasion, being indeed, as I said, altogether different in kind and as remote as possible from anything that was known before; so that no preconceived notion could possibly have led to the discovery of them. There is therefore much ground for hoping that there are still laid up in the womb of nature many secrets of excellent use, having no affinity or parallelism with anything that is now known, but lying entirely out of the beat of the imagination, which have not yet been found out. They too no doubt will some time or other, in the course and revolution of many ages, come to light of themselves, just as the others did; only by the method of which we are now treating they can be speedily and suddenly and simultaneously presented and anticipated.
Attamen conspiciuntur et alia inventa ejus generis, quae fidem faciant, posse genus humanum nobilia inventa, etiam ante pedes posita, praeterire et transilire. Utcunque enim pulveris tormentarii vel fili bombycini vel acus nauticae vel sacchari vel papyri vel similium inventa quibusdam rerum et naturae proprietatibus niti videantur, at certe imprimendi artificium nil habet quod non sit apertum et fere obvium. Et nihilominus homines, non advertentes literarum modulos difficilius scilicet collocari quam literae per motum manus scribantur, sed hoc interesse, quod literarum moduli semel collocati infinitis impressionibus, literae autem per manum exaratae unicae tantum scriptioni, sufficiant ; aut fortasse iterum non advertentes atramentum ita inspissari posse, ut tingat, non fluat ; praesertim literis resupinatis et impressione facta desuper ; hoc pulcherrimo invento (quod ad doctrinarum propagationem tantum facit) per tot saecula caruerunt. Solet autem mens humana, in hoc inventionis curriculo, tam laeva saepenumero et male composita esse, ut primo diffidat, et paulo post se contemnat ; atque primo incredibile ei videatur aliquid tale inveniri posse, postquam autem inventum sit, incredibile rursus videatur id homines tamdiu fugere potuisse. Atque hoc ipsum ad spem rite trahitur ; superesse nimirum adhuc magnum inventorum cumulum, qui non solum ex operationibus incognitis eruendis, sed et ex jam cognitis transferendis et componendis et applicandis, per eam quam diximus Experientiam Literatam, deduci possit. But we have also discoveries to show of another kind, which prove that noble inventions may be lying at our very feet, and yet mankind may step over without seeing them. For however the discovery of gunpowder, of silk, of the magnet, of sugar, of paper, or the like, may seem to depend on certain properties of things themselves and nature, there is at any rate nothing in the art of printing which is not plain and obvious. Nevertheless for want of observing that although it is more difficult to arrange types of letters than to write letters by the motion of the hand, there is yet this difference between the two, that types once arranged serve for innumerable impressions, but letters written with the hand for a single copy only; or perhaps again for want of observing that ink can be so thickened as to color without running (particularly when the letters face upwards and the impression is made from above) — for want, I say, of observing these things, men went for so many ages without this most beautiful discovery, which is of so much service in the propagation of knowledge. But such is the infelicity and unhappy disposition of the human mind in this course of invention, that it first distrusts and then despises itself: first will not believe that any such thing can be found out; and when it is found out, cannot understand how the world should have missed it so long. And this very thing may be justly taken as an argument of hope, namely, that there is a great mass of inventions still remaining which not only by means of operations that are yet to be discovered, but also through the transferring, comparing, and applying of those already known, by the help of that learned experience of which I spoke, may be deduced and brought to light.
Neque illud omittendum ad faciendam spem : reputent (si placet) homines infinitas ingenii, temporis, facultatum expensas, quas homines in rebus et studiis longe minoris usus et pretii collocant ; quorum pars quota si ad sana et solida verteretur, nulla non difficultas superari possit. Quod idcirco adjungere visum est, quia plane fatemur Historiae Naturalis et Experimentalis collectionem, qualem animo metimur et qualis esse debet, opus esse magnum, et quasi regium, et multae operae atque impensae. There is another ground of hope that must not be omitted. Let men but think over their infinite expenditure of understanding, time, and means on matters and pursuits of far less use and value; whereof, if but a small part were directed to sound and solid studies, there is no difficulty that might not be overcome. This I thought good to add, because I plainly confess that a collection of history natural and experimental, such as I conceive it and as it ought to be, is a great, I may say a royal work, and of much labor and expense.
Interim particularium multitudinem nemo reformidet, quin potius hoc ipsum ad spem revocet. Sunt enim artium et naturae particularia Phaenomena manipuli instar ad ingenii commenta, postquam ab evidentia rerum disjuncta et abstracta fuerint. Atque hujus viae exitus in aperto est, et fere in propinquo ; alterius exitus nullus, sed implicatio infinita. Homines enim adhuc parvam in Experientia moram fecerunt, et eam leviter perstrinxerunt, sed in meditationibus et commentationibus ingenii infinitum tempus contriverunt. Apud nos vero si esset praesto quispiam qui de facto naturae ad interrogata responderet, paucorum annorum esset inventio causarum et scientiarum omnium. Meantime, let no man be alarmed at the multitude of particulars, but let this rather encourage him to hope. For the particular phenomena of art and nature are but a handful to the inventions of the wit, when disjoined and separated from the evidence of things. Moreover, this road has an issue in the open ground and not far off; the other has no issue at all, but endless entanglement. For men hitherto have made but short stay with experience, but passing her lightly by, have wasted an infinity of time on meditations and glosses of the wit. But if someone were by that could answer our questions and tell us in each case what the fact in nature is, the discovery of all causes and sciences would be but the work of a few years.
Etiam nonnihil hominibus spei fieri posse putamus ab exemplo nostro proprio ; neque jactantiae causa hoc dicimus sed quod utile dictu sit. Si qui diffidant, me videant, hominem inter homines aetatis meae civilibus negotiis occupatissimum, nec firma admodum valetudine (quod magnum habet temporis dispendium), atque in hac re plane protopirum, et vestigia nullius sequutum, neque haec ipsa cum ullo mortalium communicantem, et tamen veram viam constanter ingressum et ingenium rebus submittentem, haec ipsa aliquatenus (ut existimamus) provexisse : et deinceps videant, quid ab hominibus otio abundantibus, atque a laboribus consociatis, atque a temporum successione, post haec indicia nostra expectandum sit ; praesertim in via quae non singulis solummodo pervia est (ut fit in via illa rationali), sed ubi hominum labores et operae (praesertim quantum ad experientiae collectam) optime distribui et deinde componi possint. Tum enim homines vires suas nosse incipient, cum non eadem infiniti, sed alia alii praestabunt. Moreover, I think that men may take some hope from my own example. And this I say not by way of boasting, but because it is useful to say it. If there be any that despond, let them look at me, that being of all men of my time the most busied in affairs of state, and a man of health not very strong (whereby much time is lost), and in this course altogether a pioneer, following in no man's track nor sharing these counsels with anyone, have nevertheless by resolutely entering on the true road, and submitting my mind to Things, advanced these matters, as I suppose, some little way. And then let them consider what may be expected (after the way has been thus indicated) from men abounding in leisure, and from association of labors, and from successions of ages — the rather because it is not a way over which only one man can pass at a time (as is the case with that of reasoning), but one in which the labors and industries of men (especially as regards the collecting of experience) may with the best effect be first distributed and then combined. For then only will men begin to know their strength when instead of great numbers doing all the same things, one shall take charge of one thing and another of another.
Postremo, etiamsi multo infirmior et obscurior aura spei ab ista Nova Continente spiraverit, tamen omnino experiendum esse (nisi velimus animi esse plane abjecti) statuimus. Non enim res pari periculo non tentatur, et non succedit ; cum in illo ingentis boni, in hoc exiguae humanae operae, jactura vertatur. Verum ex dictis, atque etiam ex non dictis, visum est nobis spei abunde subesse, non tantum homini strenuo ad experiendum, sed etiam prudenti et sobrio ad credendum. Lastly, even if the breath of hope which blows on us from that New Continent were fainter than it is and harder to perceive, yet the trial (if we would not bear a spirit altogether abject) must by all means be made. For there is no comparison between that which we may lose by not trying and by not succeeding, since by not trying we throw away the chance of an immense good; by not succeeding we only incur the loss of a little human labor. But as it is, it appears to me from what has been said, and also from what has been left unsaid, that there is hope enough and to spare, not only to make a bold man try, but also to make a sober-minded and wise man believe.
Atque de desperatione tollenda, quae inter causas potentissimas ad progressum scientiarum remorandum et inhibendum fuit, jam dictum est. Atque simul sermo de signis et causis errorum, et inertiae et ignorantiae quae invaluit, absolutus est ; praesertim cum subtiliores causae, et quae in judicium populare aut observationem non incurrunt, ad ea quae de Idolis animi humani dicta sunt referri debeant. Atque hic simul pars destruens Instaurationis nostrae claudi debet, quae perficitur tribus redargutionibus : redargutione nimirum Humanae Rationis Nativae et sibi permissae ; redargutione Demonstrationum ; et redargutione Theoriarum, sive philosophiarum et doctrinarum quae receptae sunt. Redargutio vero earum talis fuit qualis esse potuit ; videlicet per signa, et evidentiam causarum ; cum confutatio alia nulla a nobis (qui et de principiis et de demonstrationibus ab aliis dissentimus) adhiberi potuerit. Quocirca tempus est, ut ad ipsam artem et normam Interpretandi Naturam veniamus ; et tamen nonnihil restat quod praevertendum est. Quum enim in hoc primo Aphorismorum libro illud nobis propositum sit, ut tam ad intelligendum quam ad recipiendum ea quae sequuntur mentes hominum praeparentur ; expurgata jam et abrasa et aequata mentis area, sequitur ut mens sistatur in positione bona, et tanquam aspectu benevolo, ad ea quae proponemus. Valet enim in re nova ad praejudicium, non solum praeoccupatio fortis opinionis veteris, sed et praeceptio sive praefiguratio falsa rei quae affertur. Itaque conabimur efficere ut habeantur bonae et verae de iis quae adducimus opiniones, licet ad tempus tantummodo, et tanquam usurariae, donec res ipsa pernoscatur. Concerning the grounds then for putting away despair, which has been one of the most powerful causes of delay and hindrance to the progress of knowledge, I have now spoken. And this also concludes what I had to say touching the signs and causes of the errors, sluggishness, and ignorance which have prevailed; especially since the more subtle causes, which do not fall under popular judgment and observation, must be referred to what has been said on the Idols of the human mind. And here likewise should close that part of my Instauration which is devoted to pulling down, which part is performed by three refutations: first, by the refutation of the natural human reason, left to itself; secondly, by the refutation of the demonstrations; and thirdly, by the refutation of the theories, or the received systems of philosophy and doctrine. And the refutation of these has been such as alone it could be: that is to say, by signs and the evidence of causes, since no other kind of confutation was open to me, differing as I do from the others both on first principles and on rules of demonstration. It is time therefore to proceed to the art itself and rule of interpreting nature. Still, however, there remains something to be premised. For whereas in this first book of aphorisms I proposed to prepare men's minds as well for understanding as for receiving what is to follow, now that I have purged and swept and leveled the floor of the mind, it remains that I place the mind in a good position and as it were in a favorable aspect toward what I have to lay before it. For in a new matter it is not only the strong preoccupation of some old opinion that tends to create a prejudice, but also a false preconception or prefiguration of the new thing which is presented. I will endeavor therefore to impart sound and true opinions as to the things I propose, although they are to serve only for the time, and by way of interest (so to speak), till the thing itself, which is the principal, be fully known.
Primo itaque postulandum videtur, ne existiment homines nos, more antiquorum Graecorum, aut quorundam novorum hominum, Telesii, Patricii, Severini, sectam aliquam in philosophia condere velle. Neque enim hoc agimus ; neque etiam multum interesse putamus ad hominum fortunas quales quis opiniones abstractas de natura et rerum principiis habeat ; neque dubium est, quin multa hujusmodi et vetera revocari et nova introduci possint ; quemadmodum et complura themata coeli supponi possunt, quae cum phaenomenis sat bene conveniunt, inter se tamen dissentiunt. At nos de hujusmodi rebus opinabilibus, et simul inutilibus, non laboramus. At contra nobis constitutum est experiri, an revera potentiae et amplitudinis humanae firmiora fundamenta jacere ac fines in latius proferre possimus. Atque licet sparsim, et in aliquibus subjectis specialibus, longe veriora habeamus et certiora (ut arbitramur) atque etiam magis fructuosa quam quibus homines adhuc utuntur (quae in quintam Instaurationis nostrae partem congessimus), tamen theoriam nullam universalem aut integram proponimus. Neque enim huic rei tempus adhuc adesse videtur. Quin nec spem habemus vitae producendae ad sextam. Instaurationis partem (quae philosophiae per legitimam Naturae Interpretationem inventae destinata est) absolvendam ; sed satis habemus si in mediis sobrie et utiliter nos geramus, atque interim semina veritatis sincerioris in poteros spargamus, atque initiis rerum magnarum non desimus. First, then, I must request men not to suppose that after the fashion of ancient Greeks, and of certain moderns, as Telesius, Patricius, Severinus, I wish to found a new sect in philosophy. For this is not what I am about, nor do I think that it matters much to the fortunes of men what abstract notions one may entertain concerning nature and the principles of things. And no doubt many old theories of this kind can be revived and many new ones introduced, just as many theories of the heavens may be supposed which agree well enough with the phenomena and yet differ with each other. But for my part I do not trouble myself with any such speculative and withal unprofitable matters. My purpose, on the contrary, is to try whether I cannot in very fact lay more firmly the foundations and extend more widely the limits of the power and greatness of man. And although on some special subjects and in an incomplete form I am in possession of results which I take to be far more true and more certain and withal more fruitful than those now received (and these I have collected into the fifth part of my Instauration), yet I have no entire or universal theory to propound. For it does not seem that the time is come for such an attempt. Neither can I hope to live to complete the sixth part of the Instauration (which is destined for the philosophy discovered by the legitimate interpretation of nature), but hold it enough if in the intermediate business I bear myself soberly and profitably, sowing in the meantime for future ages the seeds of a purer truth, and performing my part toward the commencement of the great undertaking.
Atque quemadmodum sectae conditores non sumus, ita nec operum particularium largitores aut promissores. Attamen possit aliquis hoc modo occurrere ; quod nos, qui tam saepe operum mentionem faciamus et omnia eo trahamus, etiam operum, etiam operum aliquorum pignora exhibeamus. Verum via nostra et ratio (ut saepe perspicue diximus et adhuc dicere juvat) ea est ; ut non opera ex operibus sive experimenta ex experimentis (ut empirici), sed ex operibus et experimentis causas et axiomata, atque ex causis et axiomatibus rursus nova opera et experimenta (ut legitimi Naturae Interpretes), extrahamus. Atque licet in tabulis nostris inveniendi (ex quibus quarta pars Instaurationis consistit), atque etiam exemplis particularium (quae in secunda parte adduximus), atque insuper in observationibus nostris super historiam (quae in tertia parte operis descripta est), quivis vel mediocris perspicaciae et solertiae complurium operum nobilium indicationes et designationes ubique notabit ; ingenue tamen fatemur, historiam naturalem quam adhuc habemus, aut ex libris aut ex inquisitione propria, non tam copiosam esse et verificatam, ut legitimae Interpretationi satisfacere aut ministrare possit. Itaque si quis ad mechanica sit magis aptus et paratus, atque sagax ad venanda opera ex conversatione sola cum experimentis, ei permittimus et relinquimus illam industriam, ut ex historia nostra et tabulis multa tanquam in via decerpat et applicet ad opera, ac veluti foenus recipiat ad tempus, donec sors haberi possit. Nos vero, cum ad majora contendamus, moram omnem praeproperam et praematuram in istiusmodi rebus tanquam Atalantae pilas (ut saepius solemus dicere) damnamus. Neque enim aurea poma pueriliter affectamus, sed omnia in victoria cursus artis super naturam ponimus ; neque muscum aut segetem herbidam demetere festinamus, sed messem tempestivam expectamus. And as I do not seek to found a school, so neither do I hold out offers or promises of particular works. It may be thought, indeed, that I who make such frequent mention of works and refer everything to that end, should produce some myself by way of earnest. But my course and method, as I have often clearly stated and would wish to state again, is this — not to extract works from works or experiments from experiments (as an empiric), but from works and experiments to extract causes and axioms, and again from those causes and axioms new works and experiments, as a legitimate interpreter of nature. And although in my tables of discovery (which compose the fourth part of the Instauration), and also in the examples of particulars (which I have adduced in the second part), and moreover in my observations on the history (which I have drawn out in the third part), any reader of even moderate sagacity and intelligence will everywhere observe indications and outlines of many noble works; still I candidly confess that the natural history which I now have, whether collected from books or from my own investigations, is neither sufficiently copious nor verified with sufficient accuracy to serve the purposes of legitimate interpretation. Accordingly, if there be anyone more apt and better prepared for mechanical pursuits, and sagacious in hunting out works by the mere dealing with experiment, let him by all means use his industry to gather from my history and tables many things by the way, and apply them to the production of works, which may serve as interest until the principal be forthcoming. But for myself, aiming as I do at greater things, I condemn all unseasonable and premature tarrying over such things as these, being (as I often say) like Atalanta's balls. For I do not run off like a child after golden apples, but stake all on the victory of art over nature in the race. Nor do I make haste to mow down the moss or the corn in blade, but wait for the harvest in its due season.
Occurret etiam alicui proculdubio, postquam ipsam historiam nostram et inventionis tabulas perlegerit, aliquid in ipsis experimentis minus certum, vel omnino falsum ; atque propterea secum fortasse reputabit, fundamentis et principiis falsis et dubiis inventa nostra niti. Verum hoc nihil est ; necesse enim est talia sub initiis evenire. Simile enim est ac si in scriptione aut impressione una forte litera aut altera perperam posita aut collocata sit ; id enim legentem non multum impedire solet, quandoquidem errata ab ipso sensu facile corriguntur. Ita etiam cogitent homines, multa in historia naturali experimenta falso credi et recipi posse, quae paulo post a causis et axiomatibus inventis facile expunguntur et rejiciuntur. Sed tamen verum est, si in historia naturali et experimentis magna et crebra et continua fuerint errata, illa nulla ingenii aut artis foelicitate corrigi aut emendari posse. Itaque si in historia nostra naturali, quae tanta diligentia et severitate et fere religione probata et collecta est, aliquid in particularibus quandoque subsit falsitatis aut erroris, quid tandem de naturali historia vulgari, quae prae nostra tam negligens est et facilis, dicendum erit? aut de philosophia et scientiis super hujusmodi arenas (vel syrtes potius) aedificatis? Itaque hoc quod diximus neminem moveat. There will be found, no doubt, when ray history and tables of discovery are read, some things in the experiments themselves that are not quite certain, or perhaps that are quite false, which may make a man think that the foundations and principles upon which my discoveries rest are false and doubtful. But this is of no consequence, for such things must needs happen at first. It is only like the occurrence in a written or printed page of a letter or two mistaken or misplaced, which does not much hinder the reader, because such errors are easily corrected by the sense. So likewise may there occur in my natural history many experiments which are mistaken and falsely set down, and yet they will presently, by the discovery of causes and axioms, be easily expunged and rejected. It is nevertheless true that if the mistakes in natural history and experiments are important, frequent, and continual, they cannot possibly be corrected or amended by any felicity of wit or art. And therefore, if in my natural history, which has been collected and tested with so much diligence, severity, and I may say religious care, there still lurk at intervals certain falsities or errors in the particulars, what is to be said of common natural history, which in comparison with mine is so negligent and inexact? And what of the philosophy and sciences built on such a sand (or rather quicksand)? Let no man therefore trouble himself for this.
Occurrent etiam in historia nostra et experimentis plurimae res, primo leves et vulgatae, deinde viles et illiberales, postremo nimis subtiles ac mere speculativae, et quasi nullius usus : quod genus rerum hominum studia avertere et alienare possit. Atque de istis rebus, quae videntur vulgatae, illud homines cogitent ; solere sane eos adhuc nihil aliud agere, quam ut eorum quae rara sunt causas ad ea quae frequenter fiunt referant et accommodent, at ipsorum quae frequenter eveniunt nullas causas inquirant, sed ea ipsa recipiant tanquam concessa et admissa. Itaque non ponderis, non rotationis coelestium, non caloris, non frigoris, non luminis, non duri, non mollis, non tenuis, non densi, non liquidi, non consistentis, non animati, non inanimati, non similaris, non dissimilaris, nec demum organici, causas quaerunt ; sed illis, tanquam pro evidentibus et manifestis, receptis, de ceteris rebus, quae non tam frequenter et familiariter occurrunt, disputant et judicant. Nos vero, qui satis scimus nullum de rebus raris aut notabilibus judicium fieri posse, multo minus res novas in lucem protrahi, absque vulgarium rerum causis et causarum causis rite examinatis et repertis, necessario ad res vulgarissimas in historiam nostram recipiendas compellimur. Quinetiam nil magis philosophiae offecisse deprehendimus quam quod res, quae familiares sunt et frequenter occurrunt, contemplationem hominum non morentur et detineant, sed recipiantur obiter, neque earum causae quaeri soleant : ut non saepius requiratur informatio de rebus ignotis, quam attentio in notis. There will be met with also in my history and experiments many things which are trivial and commonly known; many which are mean and low; many, lastly, which are too subtle and merely speculative, and that seem to be of no use; which kind of things may possibly avert and alienate men's interest. And first, for those things which seem common. Let men bear in mind that hitherto they have been accustomed to do no more than refer and adapt the causes of things which rarely happen to such as happen frequently, while of those which happen frequently they never ask the cause, but take them as they are for granted. And therefore they do not investigate the causes of weight, of the rotation of heavenly bodies, of heat, cold, light, hardness, softness, rarity, density, liquidity, solidity, animation, inanimation, similarity, dissimilarity, organization, and the like; but admitting these as self-evident and obvious, they dispute and decide on other things of less frequent and familiar occurrence. But I, who am well aware that no judgment can be passed on uncommon or remarkable things, much less anything new brought to light, unless the causes of common things, and the causes of those causes, be first duly examined and found out, am of necessity compelled to admit the commonest things into my history. Nay, in my judgment philosophy has been hindered by nothing more than this, that things of familiar and frequent occurrence do not arrest and detain the thoughts of men, but are received in passing without any inquiry into their causes; insomuch that information concerning things which are not known is not oftener wanted than attention concerning things which are.
Quod vero ad rerum vilitatem attinet, vel etiam turpitudinem, quibus (ut ait Plinius) honos praefandus est ; eae res, non minus quam lautissimae et pretiosissimae, in historiam naturalem recipiendae sunt. Neque propterea polluitur naturalis historia : sol enim aeque palatia et cloacas ingreditur, neque tamen polluitur. Nos autem non Capitolium aliquod aut Pyramidem hominum superbiae dedicamus aut condimus, sed templum sanctum ad exemplar mundi in intellectu humano fundamus. Itaque exemplar sequimur. Nam quicquid essentia dignum est, id etiam scientia dignum, quae est essentiae imago. At vilia aeque subsistunt ac lauta. Quinetiam, ut e quibusdam putridis materiis, veluti musco et zibetho, aliquando optimi odores generantur ; ita et ab instantiis vilibus et sordidis quandoque eximia lux et informatio emanat. Verum de hoc nimis multa ; cum hoc genus fastidii sit plane puerile et effoeminatum. And for things that are mean or even filthy — things which (as Pliny says) must be introduced with an apology — such things, no less than the most splendid and costly, must be admitted into natural history. Nor is natural history polluted thereby, for the sun enters the sewer no less than the palace, yet takes no pollution. And for myself, I am not raising a capitol or pyramid to the pride of man, but laying a foundation in the human understanding for a holy temple after the model of the world. That model therefore I follow. For whatever deserves to exist deserves also to be known, for knowledge is the image of existence; and things mean and splendid exist alike. Moreover, as from certain putrid substances — musk, for instance, and civet — the sweetest odors are sometimes generated, so, too, from mean and sordid instances there sometimes emanates excellent light and information. But enough and more than enough of this, such fastidiousness being merely childish and effeminate.
At de illo omnino magis accurate dispiciendum ; quod plurima in historia nostra captui vulgari, aut etiam cuivis intellectui (rebus praesentibus assuefacto), videbuntur curiosae cujusdam et inutilis subtilitatis. Itaque de hoc ante omnia et dictum et dicendum est : hoc scilicet ; nos jam sub initiis et ad tempus, tantum lucifera experimenta, non fructifera quaerere ; ad exemplum creationis divinae, quod saepius diximus, quae primo die lucem tantum produxit, eique soli unum integrum diem attribuit, neque illo die quicquam materiati operis immiscuit. Itaque si quis istiusmodi res nullius esse usus putet, idem cogitat ac si nullum etiam lucis esse usum censeat, quia res scilicet solida aut materiata non sit. Atque revera dicendum est, simplicum naturarum cognitionem bene examinatam et definitam instar lucis esse ; quae ad universa operum penetralia aditum praebet, atque tota agmina operum et turmas, et axiomatum nobilissimorum fontes, potestate quadam complectitur et post se trahit ; in se tamen non ita magni usus est. Quin et literarum elementa per se et separatim nihil significant nec alicujus usus sunt, sed tamen ad omnis sermonis compositionem et apparatum instar materiae primae sunt. Etiam semina rerum potestate valida, usu (nisi in processu suo) nihili sunt. Atque lucis ipsius radii dispersi, nisi coeant, beneficium suum non impertiuntur. Quod si quis subtilitatibus speculativis offendatur, quid de scholasticis viris dicendum erit, qui subtilitatibus immensum indulserunt? quae tamen subtilitates in verbis, aut saltem vulgaribus notionibus (quod tantundem valet), non in rebus aut natura consumptae fuerunt, atque utilitatis expertes erant, non tantum in origine, sed etiam in consequentiis ; tales autem non fuerunt, ut haberent in praesens utilitatem nullam, sed per consequens infinitam ; quales sunt eae de quibus loquimur. Hoc vero sciant homines pro certo, omnem subtilitatem disputationum et discursuum mentis, si adhibeatur tantum post axiomata inventa, seram esse et praeposteram ; et subtilitatis tempus verum ac proprium, aut saltem praecipuum, versari in pensitanda experientia et inde constituendis axiomatibus : nam illa altera subtilitas naturam prensat et captat, sed nunquam apprehendit aut capit. Et verissimum certe est quod de occasione sive fortuna dici solet, si transferatur ad naturam : videlicet, eam a fronte comatam, ab occipitio calvam esse. Denique de contemptu in naturali historia rerum aut vulgarium, aut vilium, aut nimis subtilium et in originibus suis inutilium, illa vox mulierculae ad tumidum principem, qui petitionem ejus ut rem indignam et majestate sua inferiorem abjecisset, pro oraculo sit ; Disne ergo rex esse : quia certissimum est, imperium in naturam, si quis hujusmodi rebus ut nimis exilibus et minutis vacare nolit, nec obtineri nec geri posse. But there is another objection which must be more carefully looked to, namely, that there are many things in this History which to common apprehension, or indeed to any understanding accustomed to the present system, will seem to be curiously and unprofitably subtle. Upon this point, therefore, above all I must say again what I have said already: that at first, and for a time, I am seeking for experiments of light, not for experiments of fruit, following therein, as I have often said, the example of the divine creation which on the first day produced light only, and assigned to it alone one entire day, nor mixed up with it on that day any material work. To suppose, therefore, that things like these are of no use is the same as to suppose that light is of no use, because it is not a thing solid or material. And the truth is that the knowledge of simple natures well examined and defined is as light: it gives entrance to all the secrets of nature's workshop, and virtually includes and draws after it whole bands and troops of works, and opens to us the sources of the noblest axioms; and yet in itself it is of no great use. So also the letters of the alphabet in themselves and apart have no use or meaning, yet they are the subject matter for the composition and apparatus of all discourse. So again the seeds of things are of much latent virtue, and yet of no use except in their development. And the scattered rays of light itself, until they are made to converge, can impart none of their benefit. But if objection be taken to speculative subtleties, what is to be said of the schoolmen, who have indulged in subtleties to such excess — in subtleties, too, that were spent on words, or at any rate on popular notions (which is much the same thing), not on facts or nature; and such as were useless not only in their origin but also in their consequences; and not like those I speak of, useless indeed for the present, but promising infinite utility hereafter. But let men be assured of this, that all subtlety of disputation and discourse, if not applied till after axioms are discovered, is out of season and preposterous, and that the true and proper or at any rate the chief time for subtlety is in weighing experience and in founding axioms thereon. For that other subtlety, though it grasps and snatches at nature, yet can never take hold of her. Certainly what is said of opportunity or fortune is most true of nature: she has a lock in front, but is bald behind. Lastly, concerning the disdain to receive into natural history things either common, or mean, or oversubtle and in their original condition useless, the answer of the poor woman to the haughty prince who had rejected her petition as an unworthy thing and beneath his dignity, may be taken for an oracle: "Then leave off being king." For most certain it is that he who will not attend to things like these as being too paltry and minute, can neither win the kingdom of nature nor govern it.
Occurrit etiam et illud ; mirabile quiddam esse et durum, quod nos omnes scientias atque omnes authores simul ac veluti uno ictu et impetu summoveamus : idque non assumpto aliquo ex antiquis in auxilium et praesidium nostrum, sed quasi viribus propriis. Nos autem scimus, si minus sincera fide agere voluissemus, non difficile fuisse nobis, ista quae afferuntur vel ad antiqua saecula ante Graecorum tempora (cum scientiae de natura magis fortasse sed tamen majore cum silentio floruerint, neque in Graecorum tubas et fistulas adhuc incidissent), vel etiam (per partes certe) ad aliquos ex Graecis ipsis referre, atque astipulationem et honorem inde petere : more novorum hominum, qui nobilitatem sibi ex antiqua aliqua prosapia, per genealogiarum favores, astruunt et affingunt. Nos vero rerum evidentia freti, omnem commenti et imposturae conditionem rejicimus ; neque ad id quod agitur plus interesse putamus, utrum quae jam invenientur antiquis olim cognita, et per rerum vicissitudines et saecula occidentia et orientia sint, quam hominibus curae esse debere, utrum Novus Orbis fuerit insula illa Atlantis et veteri mundo cognita, an nunc primum reperta. Rerum enim inventio a naturae luce petenda, non ab antiquitatis tenebris repetenda est. Quod vero ad universalem istam reprehensionem attinet, certissimum est vere rem reputanti, eam et magis probabilem esse et magis modestam, quam si facta fuisset ex parte. Si enim in primis notionibus errores radicati non fuissent, fieri non potuisset quin nonnulla recte inventa alia perperam inventa correxissent. Sed cum errores fundamentales fuerint, atque ejusmodi, ut homines potius res neglexerint ac praeterierint, quam de illis pravum aut falsum judicium fecerint ; minime mirum est, si homines id non obtinverint quod non egerint, nec ad metam pervenerint quam non posuerint aut collocarint, neque viam emensi sint quam non ingressi sint aut tenuerint. Atque insolentiam rei quod attinet ; certe si quis manus constantia atque oculi vigore lineam magis rectam aut circulum magis perfectum se describere posse quam alium quempiam sibi assumat, inducitur scilicet facultatis comparatio : quod si quis asserat se adhibita regula aut circumducto circino lineam magis rectam aut circulum magis perfectum posse describere, quam aliquem alium vi sola oculi et manus, is certe non admodum jactator fuerit. Quin hoc, quod dicimus, non solum in hoc nostro conatu primo et incoeptivo locum habet ; sed etiam pertinet ad eos qui huic rei posthac incumbent. Nostra enim via inveniendi scientias exaequat fere ingenia, et non multum excellentiae eorum relinquit : cum omnia per certissimas regulas et demonstrationes transigat. Itaque haec nostra (ut saepe diximus) foelicitatis cujusdam sunt potius quam facultatis, et potius temporis partus quam ingenii. Est enim certe casus aliquis non minus in cogitationibus humanis, quam in operibus et factis. It may be thought also a strange and a harsh thing that we should at once and with one blow set aside all sciences and all authors; and that, too, without calling in any of the ancients to our aid and support, but relying on our own strength. And I know that if I had chosen to deal less sincerely, I might easily have found authority for my suggestions by referring them either to the old times before the Greeks (when natural science was perhaps more flourishing, though it made less noise, not having yet passed into the pipes and trumpets of the Greeks), or even, in part at least, to some of the Greeks themselves; and so gained for them both support and honor, as men of no family devise for themselves by the good help of genealogies the nobility of a descent from some ancient stock. But for my part, relying on the evidence and truth of things, I reject all forms of fiction and imposture; nor do I think that it matters any more to the business in hand whether the discoveries that shall now be made were long ago known to the ancients, and have their settings and their risings according to the vicissitude of things and course of ages, than it matters to mankind whether the new world be that island of Atlantis with which the ancients were acquainted, or now discovered for the first time. For new discoveries must be sought from the light of nature, not fetched back out of the darkness of antiquity. And as for the universality of the censure, certainly if the matter be truly considered such a censure is not only more probable but more modest, too, than a partial one would be. For if the errors had not been rooted in primary notions, there must have been some true discoveries to correct the false. But the errors being fundamental, and not so much of false judgment as of inattention and oversight, it is no wonder that men have not obtained what they have not tried for, nor reached a mark which they never set up, nor finished a course which they never entered on or kept. And as for the presumption implied in it, certainly if a man undertakes by steadiness of hand and power of eye to describe a straighter line or more perfect circle than anyone else, he challenges a comparison of abilities; but if he only says that he with the help of a rule or a pair of compasses can draw a straighter line or a more perfect circle than anyone else can by eye and hand alone, he makes no great boast. And this remark, be it observed, applies not merely to this first and inceptive attempt of mine, but to all that shall take the work in hand hereafter. For my way of discovering sciences goes far to level men's wit and leaves but little to individual excellence, because it performs everything by the surest rules and demonstrations. And therefore I attribute my part in all this, as I have often said, rather to good luck than to ability, and account it a birth of time rather than of wit. For certainly chance has something to do with men's thoughts, as well as with their works and deeds.
Itaque dicendum de nobis ipsis quod ille per jocum dixit, praesertim cum tam bene rem secet : fieri non potest ut idem sentiant, qui aquam et qui vinum bibant. At caeteri homines, tam veteres quam novi, liquorem biberunt crudum in scientiis, tanquam aquam vel sponte ex intellectu manantem, vel per dialecticam, tanquam per rotas ex puteo, haustam. At nos liquorem bibimus et propinamus ex infinitis confectam uvis, iisque maturis et tempestivis, et per racemos quosdam collectis ac decerptis, et subinde in torculari pressis, ac postremo in vase repurgatis et clarificatis. Itaque nil mirum si nobis cum aliis non conveniat. I may say then of myself that which one said in jest (since it marks the distinction so truly), "It cannot be that we should think alike, when one drinks water and the other drinks wine." Now other men, as well in ancient as in modern times, have in the matter of sciences drunk a crude liquor like water, either flowing spontaneously from the understanding, or drawn up by logic, as by wheels from a well. Whereas I pledge mankind in a liquor strained from countless grapes, from grapes ripe and fully seasoned, collected in clusters, and gathered, and then squeezed in the press, and finally purified and clarified in the vat. And therefore it is no wonder if they and I do not think alike.
Occurret proculdubio et illud : nec metam aut scopum scientiarum a nobis ipsis (id quod in aliis reprehendimus) verum et optimum praefixum esse. Esse enim contemplationem veritatis omni operum utilitate et magnitudine digniorem et celsiorem : longam vero istam et sollicitam moram in experientia et materia et rerum particularium fluctibus mentem veluti humo affigere, vel potius in Tartarum quoddam confusionis et perturbationis dejicere ; atque ab abstractae sapientiae serenitate et tranquillitate (tanquam a statu multo diviniore) arcere et summovere. Nos vero huic rationi libenter assentimur ; et hoc ipsum, quod innuunt ac praeoptant, praecipue atque ante omnia agimus. Etenim verum exemplar mundi in intellectu humano fundamus ; quale invenitur, non quale cuipiam sua propria ratio dictaverit. Hoc autem perfici non potest, nisi facta mundi dissectione atque anatomia diligentissima. Modulos vero ineptos mundorum et tanquam simiolas, quas in philosophiis phantasiae hominum extruxerunt, omnino dissipandas edicimus. Sciant itaque homines (id quod superius diximus) quantum intersit inter humanae mentis idola et divinae mentis ideas. Illa enim nihil aliud sunt quam abstractiones ad placitum : hae autem sunt vera signacula Creatoris super creaturas, prout in materia per lineas veras et exquisitas imprimuntur et terminantur. Itaque ipsissimae res sunt (in hoc genere) veritas et utilitas : atque opera ipsa pluris facienda sunt, quatenus sunt veritatis pignora, quam propter vitae commoda. Again, it will be thought, no doubt, that the goal and mark of knowledge which I myself set up (the very point which I object to in others) is not the true or the best, for that the contemplation of truth is a thing worthier and loftier than all utility and magnitude of works; and that this long and anxious dwelling with experience and matter and the fluctuations of individual things, drags down the mind to earth, or rather sinks it to a very Tartarus of turmoil and confusion, removing and withdrawing it from the serene tranquility of abstract wisdom, a condition far more heavenly. Now to this I readily assent, and indeed this which they point at as so much to be preferred is the very thing of all others which I am about. For I am building in the human understanding a true model of the world, such as it is in fact, not such as a man's own reason would have it to be; a thing which cannot be done without a very diligent dissection and anatomy of the world. But I say that those foolish and apish images of worlds which the fancies of men have created in philosophical systems must be utterly scattered to the winds. Be it known then how vast a difference there is (as I said above) between the idols of the human mind and the ideas of the divine. The former are nothing more than arbitrary abstractions; the latter are the Creator's own stamp upon creation, impressed and defined in matter by true and exquisite lines. Truth, therefore, and utility are here the very same things; 2 and works themselves are of greater value as pledges of truth than as contributing to the comforts of life.
Occurret fortasse et illud : nos tanquam actum agere, atque antiquos ipsos eandem quam nos viam tenuisse. Itaque verisimile putabit quispiam etiam nos, post tantum motum et molitionem, deventuros tandem ad aliquam ex illis philosophiis quae apud antiquos valuerunt. Nam et illos in meditationum suarum principiis vim et copiam magnam exemplorum et particularium paravisse, atque in commentarios per locos et titulos digessisse, atque inde philosophias suas et artes confecisse, et postea, re comperta, pronuntiasse, et exempla ad fidem et docendi lumen sparsim addidisse ; sed particularium notas et codicillos ac commentarios suos in lucem edere supervacuum et molestum putasse : ideoque fecisse quod in aedificando fieri solet, nempe post aedificii structuram machinas et scalas a conspectu amovisse. Neque aliter factum esse credere certe oportet. Verum nisi quis omnino oblitus fuerit eorum quae superius dicta sunt, huic objectioni (aut scrupulo potius) facile respondebit. Formam enim inquirendi et inveniendi apud antiquos et ipsi profitemur, et scripta eorum prae se ferunt. Ea autem non alia fuit, quam ut ab exemplis quibusdam et particularibus (additis notionibus communibus, et fortasse portione nonnulla ex opinionibus receptis, quae maxime placuerunt) ad conclusiones maxime generales sive principia scientiarum advolarent, ad quorum veritatem immotam et fixam conclusiones inferiores per media educerent ac probarent ; ex quibus artem constituebant. Tum demum si nova particularia et exempla mota essent et adducta quae placitis suis refragarentur, illa aut per distinctiones aut per regularum suarum explanationes in ordinem subtiliter redigebant, aut demum per exceptiones grosso modo summovebant : at rerum particularium non refragantium causas ad illa principia sua laboriose et pertinaciter accommodabant. Verum nec historia naturalis et experientia illa erat, quam fuisse oportebat (longe certe abest), et ista advolatio ad generalissima omnia perdidit. It may be thought again that I am but doing what has been done before; that the ancients themselves took the same course which I am now taking; and that it is likely therefore that I too, after all this stir and striving, shall come at last to some one of those systems which prevailed in ancient times. For the ancients, too, it will be said, provided at the outset of their speculations a great store and abundance of examples and particulars, digested the same into notebooks under heads and titles, from them completed their systems and arts, and afterward, when they understood the matter, published them to the world, adding a few examples here and there for proof and illustration; but thought it superfluous and inconvenient to publish their notes and minutes and digests of particulars, and therefore did as builders do: after the house was built they removed the scaffolding and ladders out of sight. And so no doubt they did. But this objection (or scruple rather) will be easily answered by anyone who has not quite forgotten what I have said above. For the form of inquiry and discovery that was in use among the ancients is by themselves professed and appears on the very face of their writings. And that form was simply this. From a few examples and particulars (with the addition of common notions and perhaps of some portion of the received opinions which have been most popular) they flew at once to the most general conclusions, or first principles of science. Taking the truth of these as fixed and immovable, they proceeded by means of intermediate propositions to educe and prove from them the inferior conclusions; and out of these they framed the art. After that, if any new particulars and examples repugnant to their dogmas were mooted and adduced, either they subtly molded them into their system by distinctions or explanations of their rules, or else coarsely got rid of them by exceptions; while to such particulars as were not repugnant they labored to assign causes in conformity with those of their principles. But this was not the natural history and experience that was wanted; far from it. And besides, that flying off to the highest generalities ruined all. 2 Ipsissimζ res. I think this must have been Bacon's meaning, though not a meaning which the word can properly bear. — J. S.
Occurret et illud : nos, propter inhibitionem quandam pronuntiandi et principia certa ponendi donec per medios gradus ad generalissima rite perventum sit, suspensionem quandam judicii tueri, atque ad Acatalepsiam rem deducere. Nos vero non Acatalepsiam, sed Eucatalepsiam meditamur et proponimus : sensui enim non derogamus, sed ministramus ; et intellectum non contemnimus, sed regimus. Atque melius est scire quantum opus sit, et tamen nos non penitus scire putare, quam penitus scire nos putare, et tamen nil eorum quae opus est scire. It will also be thought that by forbidding men to pronounce and to set down principles as established until they have duly arrived through the intermediate steps at the highest generalities, I maintain a sort of suspension of the judgment, and bring it to what the Greeks call Acatalepsia — a denial of the capacity of the mind to comprehend truth. But in reality that which I meditate and propound is not Acatalepsia, but Eucatalepsia; not denial of the capacity to understand, but provision for understanding truly. For I do not take away authority from the senses, but supply them with helps; I do not slight the understanding, but govern it. And better surely it is that we should know all we need to know, and yet think our knowledge imperfect, than that we should think our knowledge perfect, and yet not know anything we need to know.
Etiam dubitabit quispiam potius quam objiciet, utrum nos de Naturali tantum Philosophia, an etiam de scientiis reliquis, Logicis, Ethicis, Politicis, secundum viam nostram perficiendis loquamur. At nos certe de universis haec quae dicta sunt intelligimus : atque quemadmodum vulgaris logica, quae regit res per syllogismum, non tantum ad naturales, sed ad omnes scientias pertinet ; ita et nostra, quae procedit per inductionem, omnia complectitur. Tam enim historiam et tabulas inveniendi conficimus de ira, metu, et verecundia, et similibus ; ac etiam de exemplis rerum civilium : nec minus de motibus mentalibus memoriae, compositionis et divisionis, judicii, et reliquorum, quam de calido et frigido, aut luce, aut vegetatione, aut similibus. Sed tamen cum nostra ratio interpretandi, post historiam praeparatam et ordinatam, non mentis tantum motus et discursus (ut logica vulgaris), sed et rerum naturam intueatur ; ita mentem regimus, ut ad rerum naturam se, aptis per omnia modis, applicare possit. Atque propterea multa et diversa in doctrina interpretationis praecipimus, quae ad subjecti, de quo inquirimus, qualitatem et conditionem, modum inveniendi nonnulla ex parte applicent. It may also be asked (in the way of doubt rather than objection) whether I speak of natural philosophy only, or whether I mean that the other sciences, logic, ethics, and politics, should be carried on by this method. Now I certainly mean what I have said to be understood of them all; and as the common logic, which governs by the syllogism, extends not only to natural but to all sciences, so does mine also, which proceeds by induction, embrace everything. For I form a history and table of discovery for anger, fear, shame, and the like; for matters political; and again for the mental operations of memory, composition and division, judgment, and the rest; not less than for heat and cold, or light, or vegetation, or the like. But, nevertheless, since my method of interpretation, after the history has been prepared and duly arranged, regards not the working and discourse of the mind only (as the common logic does) but the nature of things also, I supply the mind such rules and guidance that it may in every case apply itself aptly to the nature of things. And therefore I deliver many and diverse precepts in the doctrine of interpretation, which in some measure modify the method of invention according to the quality and condition of the subject of the inquiry.
At illud de nobis ne dubitare quidem fas sit ; utrum nos philosophiam et artes et scientias quibus utimur destruere et demoliri cupiamus : contra enim, earum et usum et cultum et honores libenter amplectimur. Neque enim ullo modo officimus, quin istae, quae invaluerunt, et disputationes alant, et sermones ornent, et ad professoria munera ac vitae civilis compendia adhibeantur et valeant ; denique, tanquam numismata quaedam, consensu inter homines recipiantur. Quinetiam significamus aperte, ea quae nos adducimus ad istas res non multum idonea futura ; cum ad vulgi captum deduci omnino non possint, nisi per effecta et opera tantum. At hoc ipsum, quod de affectu nostro et bona voluntate erga scientias receptas dicimus, quam vere profiteamur, scripta nostra in publicum edita (praesertim libri De Progressu Scientiarum) fidem faciant. Itaque id verbis amplius vincere non conabimur. Illud interim constanter et diserte monemus ; his modis, qui in usu sunt, nec magnos in scientiarum doctrinis et contemplatione progressus fieri, nec illas ad amplitudinem operum deduci posse. On one point not even a doubt ought to be entertained, namely, whether I desire to pull down and destroy the philosophy and arts and sciences which are at present in use. So far from that, I am most glad to see them used, cultivated, and honored. There is no reason why the arts which are now in fashion should not continve to supply matter for disputation and ornaments for discourse, to be employed for the convenience of professors and men of business, to be, in short, like current coin, which passes among men by consent. Nay, I frankly declare that what I am introducing will be but little fitted for such purposes as these, since it cannot be brought down to common apprehension save by effects and works only. But how sincere I am in my professions of affection and good will toward the received sciences, my published writings, especially the books on the advancement of learning, sufficiently show; and therefore I will not attempt to prove it further by words. Meanwhile I give constant and distinct warning that by the methods now in use neither can any great progress be made in the doctrines and contemplative part of sciences, nor can they be carried out to any magnitude of works.
Superest ut de Finis excellentia pauca dicamus. Ea si prius dicta fuissent, votis similia videri potuissent : sed spe jam facta, et iniquis praejudiciis sublatis, plus fortasse ponderis habebunt. Quod si nos omnia perfecissemus et plane absolvissemus, nec alios in partem et consortium laborum subinde vocaremus, etiam ab hujusmodi verbis abstinuissemus, ne acciperentur in praedicationem meriti nostri. Cum vero aliorum industria acuenda sit et animi excitandi atque accendendi, consentaneum est ut quaedam hominibus in mentem redigamus. Primo itaque, videtur inventorum nobilium introductio inter actiones humanas longe primas partes tenere : id quod antiqua saecula judicaverunt. Ea enim rerum inventoribus divinos honores tribuerunt ; iis autem qui in rebus civilibus merebantur (quales erant urbium et imperiorum conditores, legislatores, patriarum a diuturnis malis liberatores, tyrannidum debellatores, et his similes), heroum tantum honores decreverunt. Atque certe si quis ea recte conferat, justum hoc prisci saeculi judicium reperiet. Etenim inventorum beneficia ad universum genus humanum pertinere possunt, civilia ad certas tantummodo hominum sedes : haec etiam non ultra paucas aetates durant, illa quasi perpetuis temporibus. Atque status emendatio in civilibus non sine vi et perturbatione plerumque procedit : at inventa beant, et beneficium deferunt absque alicujus injuria aut tristitia. Etiam inventa quasi novae creationes sunt, et divinorum operum imitamenta ; ut bene cecinit ille : Primum frugiferos foetus mortalibus aegris
Dididerant quondam praestanti nomine Athenae ;
Et recreaverunt vitam, legesque rogarunt.
It remains for me to say a few words touching the excellency of the end in view. Had they been uttered earlier, they might have seemed like idle wishes, but now that hopes have been raised and unfair prejudices removed, they may perhaps have greater weight. Also if I had finished all myself, and had no occasion to call in others to help and take part in the work, I should even now have abstained from such language lest it might be taken as a proclamation of my own deserts. But since I want to quicken the industry and rouse and kindle the zeal of others, it is fitting that I put men in mind of some things. In the first place, then, the introduction of famous discoveries appears to hold by far the first place among human actions; and this was the judgment of the former ages. For to the authors of inventions they awarded divine honors, while to those who did good service in the state (such as founders of cities and empires, legislators, saviors of their country from long endured evils, quellers of tyrannies, and the like) they decreed no higher honors than heroic. And certainly if a man rightly compare the two, he will find that this judgment of antiquity was just. For the benefits of discoveries may extend to the whole race of man, civil benefits only to particular places; the latter last not beyond a few ages, the former through all time. Moreover, the reformation of a state in civil matters is seldom brought in without violence and confusion; but discoveries carry blessings with them, and confer benefits without causing harm or sorrow to any. Again, discoveries are as it were new creations, and imitations of God's works, as the poet well sang: To man's frail race great Athens long ago
First gave the seed whence waving harvests grow,
And re-created all our life below.
Atque videtur notatu dignum in Solomone ; quod cum imperio, auro, magnificentia operum, satellitio, famulitio, classe insuper, et nominis claritate, ac summa hominum admiratione floreret, tamen nihil horum delegerit sibi ad gloriam sed ita pronuntiaverit : Gloriam Dei esse, celare rem ; gloriam regis, investigare rem. Rursus (si placet) reputet quipiam, quantum intersit inter hominum vitam in excultissima quapiam Europae provincia, et in regione aliqua Novae Indiae maxime fera et barbara : ea tantum differre existimabit, ut merito hominem homini Deum esse, non solum propter auxilium et beneficium, sed etiam per status comparationem, recte dici possit. Atque hoc non solum, non coelum, non corpora, sed artes praestant. Rursus, vim et virtutem et consequentias rerum inventarum notare juvat ; quae non in aliis manifestius occurrunt, quam in illis tribus quae antiquis incognitae, et quarum primordia, licet recentia, obscura et ingloria sunt : Artis nimirum Imprimendi, Pulveris Tormentarii, et Acus Nauticae. Haec enim tria rerum faciem et statum in orbe terrarum mutaverunt : primum, in re literaria ; secundum, in re bellica ; tertium, in navigationibus : unde innumerae rerum mutationes sequutae sunt ; ut non imperium aliquod, non secta, non stella, majorem efficaciam et quasi influxum super res humanas exercuisse videatur, quam ista mechanica exercuerunt. Praeterea non abs re fuerit, tria hominum ambitionis genera et quasi gradus distinguere. Primum eorum, qui propriam potentiam in patria sua amplificare cupiunt ; quod genus vulgare est et degener. Secundum eorum, qui patriae potentiam et imperium inter humanum genus amplificare nituntur ; illud plus certe habet dignitatis, cupiditatis haud minus. Quod si quis humani generis ipsius potentiam et imperium in rerum universitatem instaurare et amplificare conetur, ea proculdubio ambitio (si modo ita vocanda sit) reliquis et sanior est et augustior. Hominis autem imperium in res, in solis artibus et scientiis ponitur. Naturae enim non imperatur, nisi parendo. Praeterea, si unius alicujus particularis inventi utilitas ita homines affecerit, ut eum qui genus humanum universum beneficio aliquo devincire potuerit homine majorem putaverint ; quanto celsius videbitur tale aliquid invenire, per quod alia omnia expedite inveniri possint? Et tamen (ut verum omnino dicamus) quemadmodum luci magnam habemus gratiam, quod per eam vias inire, artes exercere, legere, nos invicem dignoscere possimus ; et nihilominus ipsa visio lucis res praestantior est et pulchrior, quam multiplex ejus usus : ita certe ipsa contemplatio rerum prout sunt, sine superstitione aut impostura, errore aut confusione, in seipsa magis digna est, quam universus inventorum fructus. Postremo, siquis depravationem scientiarum et artium ad malitiam et luxuriam et similia objecerit ; id neminem moveat. Illud enim de omnibus mundanis bonis dici potest, ingenio, fortitudine, viribus, forma, divitiis, luce ipsa, et reliquis. Recuperet modo genus humanum jus suum in naturam quod ei ex dotatione divina competit, et detur ei copia : usum vero recta ratio et sana religio gubernabit. And it appears worthy of remark in Solomon that, though mighty in empire and in gold, in the magnificence of his works, his court, his household, and his fleet, in the luster of his name and the worship of mankind, yet he took none of these to glory in, but pronounced that "The glory of God is to conceal a thing; the glory of the king to search it out." Again, let a man only consider what a difference there is between the life of men in the most civilized province of Europe, and in the wildest and most barbarous districts of New India; he will feel it be great enough to justify the saying that "man is a god to man," not only in regard to aid and benefit, but also by a comparison of condition. And this difference comes not from soil, not from climate, not from race, but from the arts. Again, it is well to observe the force and virtue and consequences of discoveries, and these are to be seen nowhere more conspicuously than in those three which were unknown to the ancients, and of which the origin, though recent, is obscure and inglorious; namely, printing, gunpowder, and the magnet. For these three have changed the whole face and state of things throughout the world; the first in literature, the second in warfare, the third in navigation; whence have followed innumerable changes, insomuch that no empire, no sect, no star seems to have exerted greater power and influence in human affairs than these mechanical discoveries. Further, it will not be amiss to distinguish the three kinds and, as it were, grades of ambition in mankind. The first is of those who desire to extend their own power in their native country, a vulgar and degenerate kind. The second is of those who labor to extend the power and dominion of their country among men. This certainly has more dignity, though not less covetousness. But if a man endeavor to establish and extend the power and dominion of the human race itself over the universe, his ambition (if ambition it can be called) is without doubt both a more wholesome and a more noble thing than the other two. Now the empire of man over things depends wholly on the arts and sciences. For we cannot command nature except by obeying her. Again, if men have thought so much of some one particular discovery as to regard him as more than man who has been able by some benefit to make the whole human race his debtor, how much higher a thing to discover that by means of which all things else shall be discovered with ease! And yet (to speak the whole truth), as the uses of light are infinite in enabling us to walk, to ply our arts, to read, to recognize one another — and nevertheless the very beholding of the light is itself a more excellent and a fairer thing than all the uses of it — so assuredly the very contemplation of things as they are, without superstition or imposture, error or confusion, is in itself more worthy than all the fruit of inventions. Lastly, if the debasement of arts and sciences to purposes of wickedness, luxury, and the like, be made a ground of objection, let no one be moved thereby. For the same may be said of all earthly goods: of wit, courage, strength, beauty, wealth, light itself, and the rest. Only let the human race recover that right over nature which belongs to it by divine bequest, and let power be given it; the exercise thereof will be governed by sound reason and true religion.
Jam vero tempus est ut artem ipsam Interpretandi Naturam proponamus : in qua licet nos utilissima et verissima praecepisse arbitremur, tamen necessitatem ei absolutam (ac si absque ea nil agi possit) aut etiam perfectionem non attribuimus. Etenim in ea opinione sumus : si justam Naturae et Experientiae Historiam praesto haberent homines, atque in ea sedulo versarentur, sibique duas res imperare possent ; unam, ut receptas opiniones et notiones deponerent ; alteram, ut mentem a generalissimis et proximis ab illis ad tempus cohiberent ; fore ut etiam vi propria et genuina mentis, absque alia arte, in formam nostram Interpretandi incidere possent. Est enim Interpretatio verum et naturale opus mentis, demptis iis quae obstant : sed tamen omnia certe per nostra praecepta erunt magis in procinctu, et multo firmiora. Neque tamen illis nihil addi posse affirmamus : sed contra, nos, qui mentem respicimus non tantum in facultate propria, sed quatenus copulatur cum rebus, Artem inveniendi cum Inventis adolescere posse, statuere debemus. And now it is time for me to propound the art itself of interpreting nature, in which, although I conceive that I have given true and most useful precepts, yet I do not say either that it is absolutely necessary (as if nothing could be done without it) or that it is perfect. For I am of the opinion that if men had ready at hand a just history of nature and experience, and labored diligently thereon, and if they could bind themselves to two rules — the first, to lay aside received opinions and notions; and the second, to refrain the mind for a time from the highest generalizations, and those next to them — they would be able by the native and genuine force of the mind, without any other art, to fall into my form of interpretation. For interpretation is the true and natural work of the mind when freed from impediments. It is true, however, that by my precepts everything will be in more readiness, and much more sure. Nor again do I mean to say that no improvement can be made upon these. On the contrary, I regard that the mind, not only in its own faculties, but in its connection with things, must needs hold that the art of discovery may advance as discoveries advance.

THE LOGIC MUSEUM Copyright (html only) C E.D.Buckner 2007.