Is anyone out there? Although I feel like a lonely gauche scientist who incessantly sends a life signal to an extraterrestrial being across the galaxies, I am again sending another life signal in writing to express that I am still alive. So, if any accidental reader stumbles on this blog, welcome.
I once read that magic is the power of manipulating nature without knowing the source of the force. If so, then the magic I once possessed is lost, making me good for nothing. But, as observed by Francis Bacon, I am talking about the faculty of cognition that affects linguistic abilities for speech that makes a ready person, reading a full person, and writing an exact person. The satisfaction of reason, the power of expression aspiring to development of the spirit, which gave me a content elbow room, vanished into the curtains of the past, leaving me to fend for provisional existence of survival in the most primitive way. It reminds me of Viktor E. Frankl’s memories in concentration camps, where many of the inmates dissipated into the hopelessness of abandoning themselves in the stupendousness of tragedies.
I always think of my life as an inspiration fit for a documentary film about a working-class immigrant single woman who painstakingly tries to preserve a sense of purpose in life with a grasp on intellectual aspiration. Doing so makes her compare to the burgeoning careers of her peers, who seem to be of a higher station in life than she. I am not trying to play a typecast role of proverbial fatalist or unreconstructed defeatist caviling at the happiness of others as a result of their hard work and abilities to do wonders. That would be a callous and sordid a priori judgment for her unfortunately cursed life. Didn’t Shakespeare also say that our lives are governed by our stars? Didn’t Cicero believe that our lives can be read by avian augury? Come to think of it, Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton also believed in and engaged in alchemy craft. The commonality of the examples described above illustrates that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt in your philosophy about the world, whatever it may be.
Ignorance is the timorous and indolent plight from fear because knowledge is considered to be remotely extensive and inscrutable to be comprehended. It retards the progress of the mind and numbs the sense. Samuel Johnson avers in his weekly essay ‘The Rambler, No. 137’ avers that one remains unenlightened unless he is diligent to search for the origin of wonder with a pause of reason, a sudden cessation of mental progress when confronting the unknown to him. The need for general knowledge, the knowledge that confers Citizenship of the World, is an essential element of human characteristics, and an easy task to fulfill in search of meaning in life.
Johnson’s idea of knowledge is simplicity. It is jettisoned from a concatenation of needless abstrusely sophisticated theories and ideologies. It also chimes the bell with the Renaissance virtuoso Leonard da Vinci’s adage that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication in all principles. However intimidating or formidable the unknown is, the essential feature is simple to understand by way of ‘Divide and Conquer,” a principle that complication is a confederacy of the abstruse that can be broken into parts marked by the gradations from the first agent to the last consequence. The force that breaks the shackle of fear for conquering the unknown huddle is patient diligence armored in confidence. The labor of inquiry for wonder follows natural curiosity and confidence that eclipses the soul’s darkness. It comes to fruition by ceaseless efforts to ascertain the origin of the wonder in simple ways. The English philosopher who also advocated democratic pedagogy, John Locke, affirms that the surest way of thorough comprehension knowledge is to attempt little by way of repetition. For the widest excursions of the mind result from short flights of mental imagery and instant thoughts triggered by neurons fired in our cerebral cortex, which can be transformed into an organization of ideas firmly engraved in the mind.
However, knowledge loses its purpose if it dissipates into the possessor’s cerebral ether or is locked in the mind’s cabinet. It becomes useful and purposeful when put into practice. That is why Johnson gives heed to those who pride themselves in the impressive educational backgrounds and belittle others whose mental capacities they arbitrarily judge ignorable or even ordinary. Knowledge is for share, and it is a duty of a scholar who has a wider variety of knowledge through years of academic endeavors for the common benefits of the world he lives in. As Francis Bacon fittingly concurs, books can never teach the use of books. Generally speaking, it is common for intellectuals, despite their ostensible calls for democracy and justice for all, to live out of touch with the practical realities of life and often regard such matters as trifles. But what is worthy of their glorious learning if it does not accommodate the purpose of life? Johnson criticizes such lofty arrogance of the rarified subset of the general population because they lose their days in unsocial silence and live in the crowd of life without a touch of humanity. It also reminds me of Bacon’s utterance of loneliness in a group as such: “Magna Civitas, Magna solitudo.” In this regard, George Orwell is together with Johnson because they saw the educated’s superciliousness, the intellectuals, who often conferred their knowledge to their honor in the voluntary seclusion.
Upon reading Johnson’s essay, I could not help but wholeheartedly agree with the purpose of knowledge and the idea of sharing it with others for the world’s common good. I was also glad to learn that I was not the only one who thought that people with academic credentials were frequently dismissive of the opinions of what they regarded as the mortals of the ordinary among whom I am. Therefore, I hope that the reader who reads this essay of mine should not belittle the soul attempting to obtain the sunshine of the light of letters to understand the world in a perspicuous way to declare to the world that I also can think and express it cogently. That is my essay on knowledge for the purpose of life.
Shakespeare said that fool thinks he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. This also means that a wise man knows what and when to speak. In this respect, simulation and dissimulation according to English Philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon is wisdom providing you with a strong heart to discern the opportune time to tell truth and to do it in protect of yourself against derisive remarks and false opinions on you by whom you talk to at work and any other social occasions. In Other Words: you take false shadows for true substance lest you should lose yourself under the misapprehension that revealing all of yourself will develop rapports for socialization.
In this “Express Yourself” era that lionize glory of show-it-all and tell-it-all in the form of memoirs and selfies, vying for a legion of followers cossetting juvenile mentality of the authors, Bacon’s tenets of veiling yourself may be deemed anachronistic and unreconstructed. However, it would contradict the importance of self-respect if we let ourselves peddled by the melee nitpicking someone’s weaknesses. That said, the advantages of simulation and dissimulation and how to do according to Bacon are as follows:
- To quiet opposition and to surprise
- To reserve a fair retreat to yourself. By concealing yourself to a certain degree, you can protect yourself in a situation that you fee inappropriate to you.
- The better to discover the mind of another by letting the other party open him/herself without sacrificing yourself to disclosing your inner thoughts that might be incompatible to the other, and that will generate a false impression on you.
- Have openness in appearance, such as smiling countenance and civil manner of listening to another.
- Keep your true feelings and thoughts to yourself. I have read that the former British Prime Minister David Cameroon was good at being canny enough not to speak of his opinions on politics during his university years, lest he should ruffle other students of different political opinions.
- Pretend to be what you are not if there seems to be no other way than to speak your mind in a setting where your true opinion will be unwelcome.
The aforesaid may seem boring or passé, but then there’s good reason why a wealth of wisdom shared by great minds of history still ring true, resounding through the leaps of time and borders of nations and boundaries of cultures. The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves and speak their minds when their ripe judgment of Reason deems the time apropos. Maybe it’s high time we got off the bandwagon of “Follow Me” and took a nice long walk alone around in romantic solitude and reflection thereof.