Of Studies by Francis Bacon

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“People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates,” said Thomas Szasz. The saying tells that self is not sticking by nature, or what one is from the time of its birth; but it is something nurtured, or developed through time. Such quotation can be realized from one of the best essays of all time, which is “Of Studies” by Francis Bacon. As the essay generally implies the purposes of written records such as of history and literature, it can also be entailed from such how a person can search deeper in himself. And through examination deeper of one’s life, he can find the purpose in life. Hence, “Of Studies”, in some point of view, serves reading of books as a tool in finding his reason for living.

“Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man” is the most impressive statement a reader can find in Bacon’s essay. Reading, in such statement, mainly points out the importance of knowledge in one’s life. Making a full man indicates the importance of a person’s memory in living his life. Conventions, facts, cultures theories, principles, and ideologies shape a man’s behavior and perspectives towards attaining happiness. Conferencing a ready man shows the man’s ability to express through declarations of what he knows and arguments of what he believes is true. Here, reading makes a man a good conversationalist; as such, one is able to find meaning in life with upright communication in relationships with people. Writing an exact man signifies efficiency of his daily activities in life. In search of his meaning, the use of logic helps him surpass any kind of natural or human-related obstacle. Moreover, the quotation extends that “And, therefore, if a man writes little, he had needed have a great memory; if he confers little, he had need of a ready wit; and if he read little, he had need of much cunning to seem to know that he knoweth not.” Such statement illustrates the absence of books; that without them, man would only stick to what he already has. Here, Bacon can also make his readers realize, in some perspective, that man needs to grow and develop through time not only to survive but also to enjoy life. In search for one’s purpose, he should have a tendency of adapting to new ways of thought and living that are influenced by literature and history. To internalize the above statements, as an illustration, a college student dreams of becoming a lawyer someday. The only to attain the skills of becoming a lawyer is through reading. Reading does not only enable the student to know the laws of the land, become a good debater, and win cases. It also makes him understand the rationale of the law in helping people, standing up to his moral principles, and win cases that benefit the public. The former statement entails the becoming of a lawyer in search for wealth, while the latter in search for the meaning of life. Hence, a person reading can either be influenced by what a society dictates him to be, or he can be dictated by what his heart tells him to be. And only through following one’s heart can he achieve happiness.

The statement of Bacon “Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider” is also an effective one. Open-mindedness is the topic of such statement. First, it tells the primary aim of reading is not to fill an empty mind, but to open a closed one. Not only to provided information for the memory, reading enables a person to consider all factors that would contribute to his happiness. In other terms, reading does not really create doubts, but rather it carries people away from depression as it offers much more things to think about. Second, it extends the senses of people due to their physical limitation. Reading cuts the boundaries as sources of information are passed from one place to another. In such case, a person cannot...
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