Superphysics Superphysics
Chapter 1

The Reign of Man

by Francis Bacon Icon
4 minutes  • 724 words

1 The aim of human power is to generate a new nature on a body.

The aim of human knowledge is to discover the true form of a given nature. This has 2 secondary aims:

  1. The transformation of concrete bodies from one to another
  2. In moving bodies, the discovery of:
  • the latent and uninterrupted process from start to end
  • the latent conformation of bodies at rest

2 True knowledge is deduced from causes. The 4 causes are:

  1. Material cause

  2. Form

The discovery of form is considered desperate.

  1. Efficient cause

Together with matter, this is desultory and superficial. It scarcely avails of real and active knowledge.

  1. Final cause

This is not beneficial. It even corrupts the sciences, except in the intercourse of man with man.

Currently, efficient cause and matter are placed remote from from form, without any latent process towards it.

The human mind has a bad habit in assigning the first qualities of essence to forms.

The Law of Forms dictate the individual effects in real individual bodies. This law:

  • is the foundation both of theory and practice.
  • has a parallel in each science

3 Imperfect knowledge comes from learning the cause of a particular nature (such as whiteness or heat), in particular subjects only.

Imperfect power is that which can induce a certain effect on particular substances only, among those which are susceptible of it.

Efficient and material causes [material cause and effect] are variable and mere vehicles conveying form to particular substances.

  • Those who have learned these 2 might discover things in matters of a similar nature, but does not stir the limits of things which are much more deeply rooted.

Those who know forms comprehends the unity of nature in substances apparently most distinct from each other.

  • He can disclose and bring forward, therefore (though it has never yet been done), things which neither the vicissitudes of nature, nor the industry of experiment, nor chance itself, would ever have brought about.
  • Genuine theory and free practice arises from the discovery of forms*.

*Superphysics Note: An example of the knowledge of a Form is the knowledge of electromagnetism which is the Form of electrons, photons, and other subatomic particles.

4 The ways of human power and human knowledge are intimately connected.

It is by far safest to:

  • build up the sciences from practical foundations, and
  • let those foundations mark out and limit the theoretical.

This is because of the dangers of dwelling on abstractions.

How can we discover the nature of a given body?

We must have a method to follow if we wanted to induce:

  • the yellow color of gold on silver, or
  • an additional weight or transparency on an opaque stone,
  • tenacity in glass,
  • vegetation on a substance that does not have vegetation
  1. We want some method that will neither fail in effect nor deceive us in the trial of it
  2. The prescribed method should not restrict him and tie him down to peculiar means, and certain particular methods of acting

If there were other methods to discover such a nature, we must be capable of them.

Yet by the confined limits of the method, we cannot reap any advantage from them.

  1. We will be anxious to be shown something not so difficult as the required effect itself, but approaching more nearly to practice.

Our rule of practice is that it should be certain, free and preparatory, or having relation to practice.

  • This is the same thing as the discovery of a true form
  • For the form of any nature is such, that when it is assigned the particular nature infallibly follows.

Form, therefore:

  • is always present when that nature is present
  • universally attests such presence, and
  • is inherent in the whole of it.

If the same form is removed, the particular nature infallibly vanishes. Therefore, it:

  • is absent whenever that nature is absent, and
  • perpetually testifies such absence, and
  • exists in no other nature.

Lastly, the true form deduces the particular nature from some source of essence existing in many subjects, and more known to nature, than the form itself.

Our theoretical axiom is that a nature is convertible with a given nature, yet limits the more known nature, in the manner of a real genus.

But these practical rules and theoretical rules are the[113] same.

  • That which is most useful in practice is most correct in theory.

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