Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis (Nova Atlantis) UtopiaJune 27, 2021
The perfection and perfection of science in the ways outlined in Nova Organum, and thus its use to perfect the social order… this is the path to New Atlantis.
The New Atlantis is the work in which Bacon reflects the ideal social order in his thoughts (and which he assumes to be the result of his thoughts). As well as being one of the best examples of the philosophical and utopian novel tradition, the work can also be considered as the construction of the results of the methods Bacon stated especially in the Novum Organum. New Atlantis Science being perfected, perfected, and thus used to perfect the social order in the ways outlined in Nova Organum… this is the path to New Atlantis. The New Atlantis is the work in which Bacon reflects the ideal social order in his thoughts (and which he assumes to be the result of his thoughts). As well as being one of the best examples of the philosophical and utopian novel tradition, the work can also be considered as the construction of the results of the methods Bacon stated especially in the Novum Organum.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) wrote a utopia in his work New Atlantis (Nova Atlantis), in which scientific and technical developments determined the structure of society and state. Founded on an island called Ben Salem in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in the Southern Hemisphere, this state maintains a life disconnected from the outside world, sending a ship to foreign countries only once every 12 years and monitoring scientific developments and innovations there. Since other countries are not aware of the existence of this state, the delegation carries out its activities in disguise and without showing it to anyone. When a foreign ship lost its way in the ocean, with its crew, the islanders show sincere hospitality to these foreigners, and an official begins to describe the island’s society and state structure to these foreigners.
The most striking point on the island is that scientific enlightenment, scientific and technical development have reached a high level and a healthy and cultured society has been brought up accordingly. A scientific board runs the country. The mission of this committee, which continues its work in the so-called House of Solomon and known as the Sciences Chamber, is “to obtain information on the causes and hidden causes of events, to expand the limits of man’s sovereignty over nature in order to do everything possible.” The Board consists of 36 people and each of its members has deep expertise in a particular field of science. Their work is secret, they only train those who will come after them. A group of 12 people called the Light Gatherers secretly go to foreign countries and bring the latest scientific developments to the country. The rest seek to advance scientific development by performing all the different aspects of scientific research and study. They are divided into twelve groups consisting of three people each, and the groups take names according to the work they do. For example, the three members are called ‘looters’ because they collect essays they find in all the books. The remaining groups are referred to as ‘men of mystery,’ ‘miners,’ ‘gatherers,’ ‘drachoma’s, ‘lamps,’ ‘cooks’, and ‘nature interpreters’.
The main task of Ben Salem’s scientific committee is to learn the causes and hidden causes of events and to expand the limits of man’s domination over nature.
The scholars of the House of Solomon have captured the light that will illuminate the entire universe. The working tools or environments of the institution are gathered in 21 groups: Deep caves, high towers, artificial springs, artificial nature houses, health rooms, baths, gardens and all the rest are the results of scientific researches or new research and research areas. Capturing the highest level of scientific development and universal light has made all the individuals of this society enlightened and virtuous, and therefore they lead a happy life.
Such a pure belief in the blessings of science was undoubtedly meaningful as a challenge to religious institutions and offering an alternative at a time when everything was and still is explained by religion for many centuries. The atmosphere of trust and optimism created by scientific progress and inventions reinforced the belief that science would solve all kinds of difficulties. This scientific society utopia of Bacon can be accepted as a reflection of the developments in his period. The same ideal was found in Campanella. However, today’s environmental disasters caused by scientific and technological developments require rethinking and self-criticism on this issue.
Bacon’s utopian state design based on science is meaningful in that it offers an alternative to the Christian state design of the Middle Ages, where everything was based on religion.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); A