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Principiis obsta, oppose or correct beginnings, The gradation once begun, you will not be equally able to check or to direct its course.
It is to the first operations, says Bacon, that we ought to pay particular attention; but this does not relieve us from the necessity of attending to those which follow. If the first operations are good, we obtain a base and a point of support ; we are in the right track; and the gradation or progression, in a direction that is known to be proper and salutary, cannot but be advantageous.
Our general law of gradation indicates also the natural and necessary course which the human mind must pursue in order to acquire knowledge. It must keep advancing by a continuous chain, by an ascending ladder, from link to link, from step to step, from the known to the unknown. The known serves it for a base and a point of support. It is often from the visible that it learns to judge of the invisible. The ladder of the understanding, described by Bacon, is one of the most important points of general philosophy, and of the science of education in particular.
The progressive state is natural to man. He is characterised by a thirst of knowledge.
His mind desires to be incessantly extending the sphere of his ideas and of his power over nature. This restless and insatiable desire, which ferments in the heart of man, seems to be the feeling of his immortality, and to reveal to him his final destination. *
Man ill at ease
Man must soar;
To love and know in man
Look nature through, 'tis near gradation all.
But how preserved
Grant a make
The general law of gradation, like that of the chain, which embraces and unites all the sciences, is alike applicable to natural history, cosmography, natural philosophy, chemistry, and to all the physical and natural sciences; to astronomy, and the observation of the courses of the celestial bodies; and to agriculture, which studies the progress of the seasons, the gradations and variations of temperature, as well as the successive degrees of the growth and development of plants and of a certain number of animals.
It belongs likewise to mechanics and to hydraulics, to the mathematics and to geometry, to the military art and to tactics, which, to draw up a well-arranged military line, forms with it a kind of ladder, all the parts and all the steps of which mutually support one another, so that each battalion, when attacked, is flanked by the company of the next battalion.
The same law is to be found in all the mechanical arts, and in the fine arts; in architecture, in sculpture, in painting, and in poetry, which are composed of slight and delicate shades, of varied gradations, that skill and taste ought to be able to combine; in the erection of an edifice, as in the organisation of a society; in the management of a garden or nursery, as in the direction of a state or an army; in plans laid down for study or occupation; in experiments in the arts and sciences; in the search after causes, which, if judiciously conducted, must lead to discoveries; in legislation, and all the moral and political sciences; in moral philosophy, which should operate imperceptibly and progressively upon the soul, as medicine does upon the body; in logic and rhetoric, which ought so to govern and combine the progress of argumentation and eloquence, as, from their united effect upon an assembly, to insinuate themselves dexterously into the mind, and pene trate to the heart; in education and instruction, which guide and gradually develop all the human faculties; lastly, in the good use of time, or the manner of regulating the employment of all our moments, with order, economy, and discernment; and in the whole conduct of life, with respect to our own interest, welfare, and happiness, and to our intercourse with other men and with society.
the gap; connection is no more ;
Young's Night Thoughts.
FIFTH GENERAL LAW.
LAW OF DIVISION AND RE-UNION.
Division and Re-union are two generating Principles, which must be combined, and act simultaneously,
in order to be productive.
Since all is gradation, it is necessary to take the elements of each thing, one by one, and to combine them, if we would form a whole. In order to create we must know how to divide and re-unite. This principle is a consequence of the preceding, and connects with our first four laws, of the point of support, of causes, of the chain, and of gradation.
It is by combining the double action of first dividing and then re-uniting, of taking singly each of the facts and principles of a science, for the purpose of connecting and arranging them, that we succeed in creating a compact whole, in erecting a solid edifice. Such is the general law which I term the law of division and re-union. From this law spring, in philosophy, the two grand methods known by the names of analysis and synthesis, which have, perhaps, been too much employed separately, instead of being combined. Synthesis sets out from particular facts,