It is our contention that great events in world history are deliberately planned; nothing happens at random, and things happen for a reason. To understand such reasons is the very definition of intelligence. The beginnings of the modern mind were found in the anti-metaphysics of nominalism. But it was Francis Bacon who sketched out the intellectual lineaments of modernity and, in the process, redefined what it means to be an “intelligent” man. His definition still holds today among the university educated and is even absorbed unconsciously among the masses.
Bacon lays out his plan in the Great Instauration, an ironic reference to Ephesians 1:10, “to instaurate everything in Christ”. We must not be deceived by Bacon’s pious language and Biblical references which are included to mask his true intentions, as the consequences of his method had to have been known to him. To deny that is to deny Bacon’s intelligence; Bacon was anything but unintelligent. The consequences of his plan will be the denial the supernatural from any understanding of the world. Bacon reveals his purpose in the Preface:
That the state of knowledge is not prosperous nor greatly advancing, and that a way must be opened for the human understanding entirely different from any hitherto known, and other helps provided, in order that the mind may exercise over the nature of things the authority which properly belongs to it.
- Problem: The state of knowledge is not advancing.
- Solution: A way of knowing entirely different from anything in the past.
- Benefit: The mind exercises its authority over the nature of things.
The attack on Tradition is made head-on. The Traditional view is totally opposed.
- The can be no advancement of Traditional knowledge.
- There is nothing new under the sun.
- The nature, or essence, of things has its authority in the mind of God.
Bacon masks his intentions by claiming to be returning to the Primordial State, when Adam was given dominion over the world. But Adam’s naming of the animals was an act of recognition, a remembering of their nature or form. Bacon, despite his protests, takes on the Satanic project of replacing God, so that the new man is now the arbiter of forms. This is not a moral judgment, but rather a description. To know what a thing is, is to know its sufficient reason. The Western Tradition lists four causes to explain a thing or event.
|Material||What something is made of|
|Formal||What it is||What|
|Efficient||How it came to be||How|
|Final||What is its purpose||Why|
Bacon takes his stand against this schema by first rejecting the final causes. He explains why:
I am laboring to lay the foundation, not of any sect or doctrine, but of human utility and power.
Hence we see that everything must be in service to human utility and power. If anything has its own reason for being, that is, its formal cause, then its usefulness for human ends is no longer the prime consideration. He then rejects the notion of formal cause:
Matter rather than forms should be the object of our attention, its configuration and changes of configuration, and simple action, and laws of action or motion, for forms are figments of the human mind, unless you call those laws of action forms.
Can it be said more clearly? Only matter, its configurations, changes, and actions are to taken into account. There is no hylomorphism and hence the natural world is not the reflection of the supernatural. There is a subtle change in the notion of the efficient cause. It no longer refers to the essential and internal relationship between forms, but rather to the accidental and external relationship between material configurations. Now Bacon calls the alleged intuition of forms a “figment of the imagination”. This is why we insist that debate is pointless. If a man can see the forms, or ideas, it is no figment; otherwise, it may as well be. Philosophical discussion can make the concept plausible, but only gnosis can prove it. Let us make a point in passing. The laws of action or science are not the forms. Scientists often claim they are reading the mind of God; however, this is not true, since the forms are in the mind of God.
We can briefly mention the consequences of the line of reasoning instaurated by Bacon. First and foremost, the function of Reason has been radically altered. In the Traditional view, it is the defining quality of the intellectual soul and its goals is complete understanding of the Logos. For Bacon and his successors, Reason has simply an instrumental value, as a tool used to accomplish human ends. This reaches its ultimate conclusion in Nietzsche when the will to power is pursued for its own sake, not simply for human betterment.
Not only are things considered configurations of matter, but so also is human society. Without a common understanding of final causes, there can be no rational discussion of how to achieve the common good, since the idea of the good is no longer common. Thus, every socio-politico-economic decision becomes a battle for power, with so-called rational discussion is just a means to an end.
Without any understanding of formal cause, the power to define “what is” is left to man, so it too becomes a contentious battleground. The end result is the hermeneutics of suspicion, so that any attempt to explain events is regarded as a deliberate deception with hidden motives. Thus, what started out as the desire to redefine Reason, ends up in total irrationality. QED