From the Master of Kadosh (April, 2016)

posted Apr 1, 2016, 1:07 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated Apr 1, 2016, 1:07 PM ]

To Be, or not to Be, that is the question…

Greetings, Brethren.  April is the month many around the world will celebrate the birthday of the world's greatest dramatist, William Shakespeare.  Though no birth records exist, church records indicate that a William Shakespeare was baptized at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 26, 1564. From this, it is believed he was born on or near April 23, 1564, and this is the date scholars acknowledge as William Shakespeare's birthday.

Known throughout the world, the works of William Shakespeare have been performed in countless hamlets, villages, cities and metropolises for more than 400 years.  And yet, the personal history of William Shakespeare is somewhat a mystery. Written records give little indication of the way in which Shakespeare’s professional life molded his artistry. All that can be deduced is that over the course of 20 years, Shakespeare wrote plays that capture the complete range of human emotion and conflict.

As Victor Hugo remarked, it is "in Shakespeare  the birds sing, the bushes are clothed with green, hearts love, souls suffer, the cloud wanders, it is hot, it is cold, night falls, time passes, forests and multitudes speak, the vast eternal dream hovers over all. Sap and blood, all forms of the multiple reality, actions and ideas, man and humanity, the living and the life, solitudes, cities, religions, diamonds and pearls, dung-hills and charnelhouses, the ebb and flow of beings, the steps of comers and goers, all, all are on Shakespeare and in Shakespeare."

Another fascinating and enigmatic figure of Shakespeare's time was the philosopher, essayist, statesman and scientific methodologist, Sir Francis Bacon.  During his life, Bacon championed the new empiricism resulting from the achievements of early modern science.  He opposed alleged knowledge based on appeals to authority, and on the barrenness of scholasticism.  He thought that what was needed was a new attitude and methodology based on strictly scientific practices.  The goal of acquiring knowledge is the good of mankind:  "Knowledge is power (Scientia es Potentia)," as he stated.  The social order that should result from applied science is portrayed in his New Atlantis (1627).  The method of induction to be employed is worked out in detail in his Novum Organum (1620).  This new logic was to replace that of Aristotle's syllogism, as well as induction by simple enumeration of instances.  Neither of these older logics can produce knowledge of actual natural laws.  Bacon thought that we must intervene in nature, manipulate it by means of experimental control leading to the invention of new technology.  

Much of Bacon's work was written and published under his numerous pseudonyms.  One primary reason for this is that he was born the son of the Queen and heir to the throne, and was compelled to secrecy on the subject, but was trying to record for posterity the true history of his life and times.  The recording of this history thus had to be done cryptically, and in a variety of publications and styles that kept the real authorship concealed, lest suspicions be aroused.  Secondly, the danger of public opinion and opinion in high places, which was marked by ignorance, intolerance, superstition, and religious dogma and fervor, was very real, and could lead to dreadful persecutions and death.  Thirdly, censorship was tightly controlled.  Fourthly, it was considered a "discredit for a gentleman to seem learned or to show himself amorous of any good art in Elizabeth's court."

Lastly, and probably the most important reason Bacon chose to veil his works so elaborately and consistently is that he set out to be, and was, an ethical and spiritual teacher, a sublime philosopher, a scientist in the field of human consciousness and endeavor, and very much a reformer of the world's state of ignorance and vice, and of malpractice and repressive regimes.  By any viewpoint he was a revolutionary-not one that wielded a sword and forced his will upon others, but one that used the pen as an art and led people on to better things by means of inspiring entertainment and a treasure trail, in liaison with the natural curiosity and love of pleasure that most people have.  Any reformer as fundamental as was Bacon, living at that time, would soon have gone to the stake or scaffold if he had not been as discreet as Bacon.  But, playing the game as God plays it, and becoming "as little children (Mathew 18:3)," wonders can be performed.  This is the key which Bacon never tired of turning.  

"For so he (King Solomon) saith expressly, The Glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the Glory of a King is to find it out.  As if according to that innocent and affectionate play of children, the Divine Majesty took delight to hide his greater Honor, then to be God's play-fellows in that game, especially considering the great command they have of wits and means, whereby the investigation of all things may be perfected." Of the Advancement of Learning (1640)

For of the knowledges which contemplate the works of Nature, the Holy Philosopher hath said expressly; that the glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the glory of a king is to find it out:  as if the Divine Nature, according to the innocent and sweet play of children, which hide themselves to the end they may be found; took delight to hide his works, to the end they might be found out; and of his indulgence and goodness to mankind, had chosen the Soul of man to be his Play-fellow in this game." Of the Advancement of Learning  (1640)

Whereas of the sciences which regard nature the Holy Philosopher declares that 'it is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but it is the glory of the king to find it out.'  Even as thought the Divine Nature took pleasure in the innocent and kindly sport of children playing hide and seek, and vouched-safe of his kindness and goodness to admit the human spirit for his play fellow in that game." Of the Advancement of Learning (1640)

"He (God) cannot be seen of any mortal creature but is notwithstanding known by his works." Novum Organum (1620)

So, who was Sir Francis Bacon?       

J.R. McGovert, Master of Kadosh