“Of Studies” by Francis Bacon
The essay “Of Studies” is a well-known essay written by Francis Bacon. With the forceful use of Latin vocabulary, intellectual wisdom and didactic approach, he has skillfully told us the importance of studies in human life.
At the beginning of the essay, Bacon tells us three main advantages of studies. According to Bacon, the very first advantage of the studies is to delight. He believes that studies delight us in our private life. The second advantage of the studies is that they serve as an ornament in our speech. The third great advantage of the studies is that the studies improve our ability in the judgment of our business and other tasks related to it. A well-educated person can manage his business better than an uneducated person.
However, a point to be noted is this that he rejects the idea of studying too much. He believes that too much interest in studies is the sign of being lazy and inactive. Too much use of the studies in conversation creates exaggeration in the eyes of the other people. In the same way, if we make every judgment based on the studies, it is the sign of foolishness.
He further says that studies make a man perfect. It is not the inborn talent a man can have. However, the capabilities of a man may be polished with the help of studies. He further says that the men who are conservative in their thinking condemn studies. The simple men have a great appreciation for the studies, and the wise men use studies in their life. “Crafty men condemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them.” Knowledge should not be in use to confront or refute someone’s opinion; it should always be used to weigh and to consider.
Talking of the advantages of studies in human life, he says that the studies have a physical role in a man’s life. Any disease of mind can be cured with the help of proper studies. For bladder and kidneys, bowling is the best remedy. Shooting is the best cure for the lungs and breast. If a man’s wit cannot focus at a point, let him learn how to demonstrate rationally, and it can only be possible if he starts learning mathematics. Similarly, if a man finds it difficult to prove or explain a thing, he should be asked to study the lawyer’s cases. “So every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.”
Then, Bacon tells how different books should be studied. He opines: “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” It means he wants to convey the idea that every book is written with a different purpose. So, it depends on the selection of man what kind of book he chooses to study. Sometimes, we read the book in parts, some we read a book but with unserious attitude showing less interest in it and sometimes we are satisfied without reading a book because we have been told the details of the book by some other person. Sometimes, we become satisfied after reading the extract of the book. How beautifully he writes! “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.” Bacon believes that reading makes a man perfect in knowledge. His conversation when he uses the knowledge gained through studies with other persons makes him practical, but it is writing that makes a man complete. A man cannot remember everything. So, writing is the best tool to remember most of the things a person has learnt. It is writing that can help a man in creating new ideas. To conclude, in this essay, Bacon has adopted a pragmatic approach towards studies. With mastery of wordplay and witty ideas, he has fully conveyed to his readers the importance of the studies in a man’s life. He has fully proved his point of view that it is studies that make a man learned, witty, civilized and experienced. (Words: 671)