Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bacon and Swift Preparing for the Future

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bacon and Swift Preparing for the Future

Through out the years of human existence there have always been issues that come from the study of science and technology. The human race has to make important decision about these issues. The ways these decisions have been made through the years has varied. The two English writers, Francis Bacon and Jonathan Swift, discussed some of these issues. Bacon¡¦s approach to discussing these problems was through a very structured method. He did this in his essay Ovum Organism where he describes the four idols of the humanity. On the other hand, Swift used satire to illustrate his views by story form. Gulliver¡¦s Travels is a story by Swift that discusses his political views and social views.

The Four Idols discussed by Francis Bacon in his essay Ovum Organism are Tribe, Cave, Market, and Theater. The ¡§Idols of the Tribe¡¨ hinder people¡¦s understanding because of human nature. Some examples of this are people trying to make things fit into patterns, looking for evidence to support their conclusions, having trouble conceiving of the finite or infinity, are affected by what they want to believe, having since fool them, and lacking to generalize or be abstract. The ¡§Idols of the Cave¡¨ hinder people¡¦s understanding because of individual shortcomings. Four individual shortcomings are favoring ideas that support previous conclusions, differences or similarities, antiquity or novelty, the part to the exclusion of the whole and vice versa. The third, the ¡§Idols of the Marketplace¡¨ hinders people¡¦s understanding because of words. This idol comes from people imagining and naming things that do not exist and giving multi-meaning of one word. The last of Bacon¡¦s idols is the ¡§Idols of the Theater,¡¨ which hindering understanding based on a system of philosophy, theology, or tradition (Points Made by Francis Bacon in The Four Idols). Bacon¡¦s writing is very organized and step format. He goes through each point in detail before moving on to the next point. This structure is seen in his creating of the Scientific Method, which he developed. The Scientific Method is a general set of steps that direct scientist in their approach to their studies.

Jonathan Swift¡¦s Gulliver¡¦s Travels is a story about a surgeon, named Gulliver, who takes voyages all over the world. Every voyage results in him being shipwrecked or banished and abandon. He makes it safely to land; however, the islands that he seeks refuge on have never been explored before. Each of the islands is unique. On the island of Lilliput, the people are really small, so Gulliver is a giant to them. On another island he comes across, he is the small one compared to the natives. He, also, is picked up by the floating island of Laputa this island was full of intellectual people. All they do throughout the day is to calculate, philosophy, and debate one another. Their whole existence is focused on intellectual thought and they therefore do not leave room to have any realistic or practical knowledge. The last journey Gulliver makes, he is abandoned on an island where horses have reason and the human like creature have no reason. The horses called Houyhnhnms live on the island in a utopian society. Gulliver learns to love the Houyhnhnms and despised the human-like creature called Yahoo.

Custom Essays on Bacon and Swift Preparing for the Future

Francis Bacon¡¦s The Four Idols refer to the flaws in human nature, which keeps mankind from becoming a perfect society. These flaws of not understanding ourselves, personal shortcomings, and miscommunication affect in every aspect of the human society (Points Made by Francis Bacon in The Four Idols). Because of these flaws, humans will never be able to perform or understand science and technology completely. Bacon is writing his essay as a scientist. He see the corruption of science of his day and sees how it will carry on through the years to come. Bacon uses his understanding of the problems that he recorded in The Four Idols to come up with a systematic way of studding science. This systematic way of studying science later became know as the Scientific Method. In his Scientific Method he sets up an order of operations that should be taken to get correct data and results from research. While the Scientific Method is pacific to science and technology, Bacon¡¦s Four Idols deal with every aspect of human life. In both cases Bacon presents the problems and resolutions straight forwardly and for this reason his writings are still being used today.

Jonathan Swift¡¦s Gulliver¡¦s Travels, also, discusses the problems that are common in human culture. Just as Bacon¡¦s works can be pacific for science and technology, part of Swift¡¦s Gulliver¡¦s Travels focus on those same issues. He uses a story swamped with satire to show his point of view. Each of the travels that Gulliver takes focuses on different important problems Swift saw in the England during his life. However, these issues are still true and evident in the world today. Swift deals with the political problems along with science and technology. The voyage where Gulliver is picked up by the floating Island is Swift¡¦s strongest satire against a sole abstract world, which included mathematics, philosophy, and other sciences. The Laputans represent a society that is based on abstract idealism. Although the Laputans can derive anything on paper, they have no practical skills. Swift describes this best

Their houses are very ill built, the walls bevil, without one right angle in any apartment; and this defect ariseth from the contempt they bear for practical geometry; which they despise as vulgar and mechanic, those instructions they give being too refined for the intellectuals of their workmen; which occasions perpetual mistakes. And although they are dextrous enough upon a piece of paper, in the management of the rule, the pencil, and the divider, yet in the common actions and behavior of life I have not seen a more clumsy, awkward, and up handy people, nor so slow and perplexed in their conceptions upon all other subjects, except those of mathematics and music. They are very bad reasoners, and vehemently given to opposition, unless when they happen to be of the right opinion, which is seldom their case. Imagination, fancy, and invention, they are wholly strangers to, nor have any words in their language by which those ideals can be expressed; the whole compass of their thoughts and mind being shut up within the two forementioned sciences. (Swift 418)

After showing this extreme, Swift shows the extreme in the other direction. The next journey Gulliver takes, he finds himself on an island with horses that have the capability to think and reason. The horses called Houyhnhnms represent another extreme in human culture that we can shift toward. This one extreme is of total reason. While being able to reason these horses have no idea of desiring. F. R. Leavis in ¡§The Irony of Swift¡¨ says ¡§Swift did his best for the Houyhnhnms, and they have all the reason, but the Yahoos have all the life¡¨(Jonathan Swift, Gulliver¡¦s Travels ). An example of this is in the marriage rituals of the Houyhnhnms.

Courtship, love, presents, jointures, settlement, have no place in their thoughts, or terms whereby to express them in their language. The young couple meet and are joined, merely because it is the deternination of their parents and friends;¡KBut the violation of marriage, or any other unchastity, was never heard of; and the married pair pass their lives with the same friendship and mutual benevolence that they bear to all others of the same species who come in their way, without jealousy, fondness quarreling, or discontent. (Swift 456)

Swift view humans as being like the Houyhnhnms if human throw out science and technology and ignore the part of our minds that give people creativity. If people do this, we will become dull logical people. Although Swift prefers this extreme over the other he see that it is not good either.

Although Francis Bacon and Jonathan Swift writing are totally different they both make similar stances on the modern issues about science and technology. Bacon sets up a structure that is an aid to people. His aid helps people realize the problems early and gives them a way to deal with them. On the other hand, Swift uses satire to make it obvious of the dangers of these issues not being resolved correctly. Both Bacon and Swift saw the importance of having a balance in society. They realized that there are many dangers and troubles that come from becoming totally focused in any one field, especially as a whole society. The things they discussed and the way they dill with it is still being used today in our issues with science and technology. They saw the problems of their day and saw that they would not change but increase in magnitude over the years. They made their writings capable of being used throughout the years.

Work Cited

Bacon, Francis. ¡§Novum Organum.¡¨ The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed.

M. H. Abrams. 1 vols. New York W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 000. 1544-1548.

¡§Jonathan Swift, Gulliver¡¦s Travels.¡¨ School of English Honours Module EN0

Eighteenth-Century Poetry and Prose. 0 Nov. 001. http//www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_se/personal/cjmm/Gtoutline.html.

¡§Points Made By Francis Bacon in The Four Idols¡¨. (18). 0 Nov. 001.


Swift, Jonathan. ¡§Gulliver¡¦s Travels.¡¨ The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed.

M. H. Abrams. 1 vols. New York W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 000. 1544-1548.

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