Saturday, March 12, 2022

What are the aims of studies stated by Bacon in his essay 'Of Studies"? What are the results of studies?

Ans. In the very first sentence of his essay 'On Studies' Bacon states that the main aims of studies are delight, ornament and ability. A man should study for providing himself some pleasure and entertainment. When one is in privateness and retiring, i.e., when one is alone, he may, if he so desires, derive pleasure from a study of books, particularly from books on poetry, literature and novels. From the earliest days of civilization, we find in all countries great literary figures who have provided men with enduring and unalloyed pleasure. The poetical works of Homer, the fables of Aesop, to name but a few, have been perennial sources of pleasure to men. Had men not found the study of books delightful and instructive, books would long ago have become extinct. Bacon thinks that this delight is to be pursued in privateness and retiring.

The second aim of studies is decoration or ornamentation of language. In an assembly of varied people, a speaker's aim is to win the hearts and minds of the listeners. Studies give a polish to speech and help a man to become an orator. In ancient Greece the Sophists travelled from city-state to city-state and taught, among other things, the art of oratory to the sons of the well-off. The power to influence people through polished and moving speeches was highly valued. Studies help a man to learn what to say, when to say and how to say. Oratory can work for good or evil. The orator can excite people to indulge in loot, arson and even murder. On the other hand, he can inspire people to do sublime deeds of heroism and sacrifice. Studies can teach us not only decorative and polished speech but also how to use language and for what purpose.

The third aim of studies is to increase or strengthen the natural abilities that a person already possesses. Even though a person may have natural powers or capacities for a work, studies help him to make his power trimmer and more efficient. Studies may show a man proper direction i.e., the way in which he should proceed. Studies being of such great importance to us, Bacon proceeds to warn us that there are books and books and we should not waste our precious time by attaching equal importance to the all. Some books can be just read in synopses. Others are to be read just in parts and only a few books are there which are to be studied wholly and in depth. Distilled books are like distilled waters, tasteless and insipid. They are not to be read wholly or in great detail. Most books are meant for one or other purpose. Just as bodily defects may be corrected by appropriate exercise, so can different mental defects be corrected by a study of suitable books. If a man's intelligence is wayward or wandering, he should read books on mathematics which will improve his power of mental concentration. If a person finds it difficult to understand subtle differences, he should study the works of schoolmen who are experts in making fine distinctions. If one wants to prove and establish a point, he should study law books. Thus, different types of books serve different purposes. Every defect of the mind has its special remedy in the study of appropriate kind of books. Study of books thus forms an essential part of human life.

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