The New Atlantis, a Place Where Science and Nature Merged for the Benefit of All
Francis Bacon conceived a place in which ideal social organization came from the knowledge derived from science, understanding and the advantageous use of nature.
New Atlantis, by Francis Bacon, proposes an ideal society where all inhabitants share a type of functional and harmonious happiness. His is overall a pragmatic fantasy, a utopian land that, in accordance with his brilliant and scientific principles, is based on nature and knowledge as the primary compass of human development.
This realm, located in the fictional island of Bensalem, was governed by a select institution called the “Salomon’s House”, whose philosophical purpose was to study nature in order to understand it and use it wisely. The best and brightest minds on the island belonged to this college where, additionally, scientific experiments were constantly taking place.
For Bacon, harmony between human beings could be reached by an understanding of nature, which uses science as a mediator (at the end of the day we are one and the same). In this sense, understanding the natural rhythms through culture, embracing its patterns and guidelines, results in a society that is guided towards evolution, self-awareness and respect.
New Atlantis invites us to do more than simply trust our ideas; we must also channel them in favor of a tangible and greater common good. It is also a reminder of how, by understanding our natural environment, we can imitate its virtues and insert ourselves in its wisdom’s inertia.
Imagining a desirable scenario, aimed at our shared evolution, is a must and can eventually be materialized —hence the crucial importance of combining praxis and fantasy and making them converge in utopian models. And it is precisely this realm of knowledge imagined by the English empiricist, which occupies an exemplary place within the historical archive of this archetypal exercise.
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