Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hamlet's Universe - 9

Hamlet’s Universe    Part 9 of 9

Bacon-Hamlet parallels continued:


Hamlet: “Well said old mole, canst work I’th’earth so fast?
A worthy pioneerHamlet 1.5.162

Based on Prof. Usher’s hypothesis that Hamlet is based on the work of Leonard and Thomas Digges, he finds connections between the name Digges and Shakespeare’s use of similar words like diggers, as in the grave-digger scene. Also, it’s believed that a source for Hamlet was a book called “Of ghostes and sprites walking by nyght” that has a phrase in it of “Pioneers or diggers for metal, do affirme, that in many mines, there apeare straunge shapes and sprites…”, which connects ‘diggers’, ghosts, and pioneers.  

Though this seems possible, there is also a quote by Bacon that can explain the Hamlet passage: “a pioneer in that mine of truth, which (he said) lay so deep.”  Bacon in a letter to Lord Burghley.


   'Doubt thou the stars are fire;
    Doubt that the sun doth move;
    Doubt truth to be a liar;
    But never doubt I love.
    O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers; I have not art
    to reckon my groans; but that I love thee best, O most best,
    believe it. Adieu.
      'Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst
    this machine is to him,

Bacon’s comments on ‘doubt’:

Both relate to the skilful proposing of Doubts; which is no despicable part of science. Problems deal with particular doubts; seeing that new doubts are daily arising. In this however there is a caution to be applied, which is of great importance. The registering and proposing of doubts has a double use: first, it guards philosophy against errors, when upon a point not clearly proved no decision or assertion is made (for so error might beget error), but judgment is suspended and not made positive; secondly, doubts once registered are so many suckers or sponges which continually draw and attract increase of knowledge; whence it comes that things which, if doubts had not preceded, would have been passed by lightly without observation, are through the suggestion of doubts attentively and carefully observed. But these two advantages are scarcely sufficient to countervail one inconvenience which will intrude itself, if it be not carefully debarred; which is that a doubt if once allowed as just, and authorised as it were, immediately raises up champions on either side, by whom this same liberty of doubting is transmitted to posterity; so that men bend their wits rather to keep the doubt up than to determine and solve it. Of this examples everywhere occur both in lawyers and scholars, who when a doubt has been once admitted will have it remain for ever a doubt, and hold to authority in doubting as much as in asserting ; whereas the legitimate use of reason is to make doubtful things certain and not certain things doubtful. Wherefore I say that a calendar of doubts or problems in nature is wanting, and I would wish it to be taken in hand ; if only care be taken that as knowledge daily increases (which it certainly will, if men listen to me) those doubts which are clearly sifted and settled be blotted out from the list. And to this calendar I would annex another of no less utility; for seeing that in every inquiry there are found things plainly true, things doubtful, and things plainly false, it would be most advantageous to add to the calendar of doubts a calendar of falsehoods and popular errors prevalent either in natural history of the dogmas of philosophers; that the sciences may be no longer troubled with them.”


This machine

      'Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst
    this machine is to him,

Prof. Usher, as well as others, says that ‘this machine’ refers to Hamlet himself. Though keep in mind that the character of Hamlet, per the Cosmic Allegory theory, represents the New Philosophy or even the unbounded  Diggesian model of Heliocentrism. That is, it could also mean “the frame or structure of the Universe”.

Bacon writes:

“For the first phenomenon is well accounted for by supposing that the fixed stars outrun the planets,  ……  and most certain it is, if one may but play the plain man for a moment (dismissing the fancies of astronomers and schoolmen, whose way it is to overrule the senses, often without reason, and to prefer what is obscure), that this motion does actually appear to the sense such as I have described; for I once had a machine made with iron wires to represent it.” 


If I do future posts directly related to the science between Shakespeare and Bacon I’ll add them to this topic. There could be several though I don’t have any immediate plans for any. In Hamlet’s Universe Prof. Usher refers to how one geologist was “astounded at the frequency and accuracy of the poet’s geological allusions”.  I’ve seen numerous such geological references by Bacon. And there are perhaps dozens of articles  relating to Shakespeare’s observations of the natural world, none that can be tied clearly to William of Stratford (since it’s not sure that he had any writings other than maybe some signatures), but all of which can be related to the writings of Francis Bacon.  Then scheduled for release in March of 2013 is an updated book on Shakespeare’s World of Science, which will help this research along. http://www.sciencefactory.co.uk/content/authors.php?aid=133

As a reminder, I’m not trying to state or make the case that Prof. Usher has already made in his two books, of Shakespeare’s deep astronomical knowledge and his connections to the research and theories of his time of the state of the cosmos. What I mean to do is to show how Baconian theory and his theory fit like a hand and glove match and are mutually-reinforcing, while having been produced independently of each other and for different purposes. His theory aims to explain the meaning behind some of the Shakespeare works while Baconian theory aims to explain who authored them. And as we can’t expect mainstream Shakespearean scholars to be able to escape their Ptolemaic shell of Stratfordian-centric Shakespeare, we can at least now hope that other astronomers and historians of science will devote some time to this exciting new topic.

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