July 22, 2013

Francis Bacon and the Neo-Aristocrat

Nature to be commanded must be obeyed
- Francis Bacon

This quote may be the most concise explanation of the Neo-Aristocrat's philosophy on life that I have seen yet. For those who don't know, Francis Bacon was a scientific philosopher born in London in the 1500's. His book, Novum Organum Scientiarum (a new method for science), outline the beginnings of the process known as the scientific method which is the foundation for modern science. Opposed to the ancient methods where truth about the world was believed to be reached through careful thought an consideration, the Novum Organum emphasized a focus on the physical world and the importance of experimentation and experience. I would recommend at least reading his introduction, if not the whole book. It is a really fascinating read.

The above quote is one of his most favorite and is extremely applicable to today's reality of climate change. It is a little confusing to parse on the first read through because it appears, at first, like another paradox (yay!). How can you command something if you must obey it first?

There are certain laws in the universe which exist: gravity, the conservation of momentum, the feed back cycle, the interchange of yin and yang, etc. Or, for the Neo-Aristocrat, the realization that certain external factor influence your perception of reality, personality, and day to day life. If you are studying in school and working a job, this will make you tired. If you are alone, listening to sad, wispy music and the sky is overcast, you will end up feeling lost and forlorn. Granted, the effects differ between people. A certain set of factors may have little effect on one person but a huge effect on another. But the fact is, our environments and activities have effects on ourselves. 

But if we ignore these laws- if I decide to attend a party after a long week of school rather than sleep, or if a child jumps from the roof attempting to mimic the birds- we will suffer necessary consequences. The introvert will end up more drained rather than refreshed and the child will suffer broken bones and bruised skin. We must obey these laws of nature.

However, man does fly in airplanes. He may not be able to overcome gravity through the force of his will alone, but he can observe the other animals who are not constrained to land. He can study wingspan, aerodynamics  lift and propulsion and- still obeying, still using the laws of nature- build himself an airplane to take to the sky.

In the same way, the Neo-Aristocrat can use the laws of how the environment to affect her personality and world view in a conscious, deliberate way. If, at the end of a long week, she is exhausted, she knows to go to bed rather than a party. If she realizes her soul has taken a twist for the melancholy, she knows not to indulge in activities, such as lying in bed and sighing soulfully at the ceiling, that will entrench rather than fight the mood.  The laws of her personality are still obeyed. At no time is she trying to will herself out of the state. Instead, she is in control, commanding her nature rather than being a victim of it. 

The first step to this ability to command is the recognition that these laws can not be ignored, but first must be obeyed. Then comes the long and never ending study into the delicate interplay between personality, worldview and environment. This study will never end, so begin employing the laws you learn as soon as you learn them. Also, be careful in the application. In psychology, even more so than biology, too much of a good thing can be deadly. 

The Neo-Aristocrat looks clearly upon the laws of the world, but is not cowed by them. Instead, she realizes the power she has to control them and her situation and uses that to improve and better herself. 

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