The lasting impacts of the Royal society

The ideals espoused by Francis Bacon, Thomas Sprat, and Sir Isaac Newton has immensely impacted the 21st century learned society by establishing the significance of science and how it can be possible even with religion as well as emphasizing the importance of proper communication and conduct in Science, boosting the competitiveness and qualifications to become a member. In Bacons The New Atlantis (1626), Bacon intends to not just illuminate the importance of essentially what is now called the scientific method, but also draw attention to the importance of fiction in the understanding of complicated matters like science. Through fiction  he is attempting to restore faith by creating a new understanding between man and God and where the understanding of God can now be facilitated through science, reestablishing a divine relationship that has been absent since Adams fall, as he mentions. By emphasizing the hand and hand relationship between what we would call church and state it offered an opportunity to finally truly study science in all of its forms. Newton and Sprat were even able to draw attention to the study of nature by emphasizing that key roles in the bible such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses, were all able to learn more about God by learning about nature. The reason that this connection of Science and Religion is so important is that this is still a time where it was more uncommon for somone to not be religious than it was to be religious. If in the past science was questioned the Church would shut it down for fear of questioning God. The difference we now face in todays society is that we have a literal separation of church and state for politics but in Science we have the scientific method as well as other codes of ethics or guidelines to ensure that science has little to no biases in regards to religion or other prejudices. In Bacons The New Atlantis, the king states “The end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes, and secret motion of all things: and the enlarging bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible.”, to reemphasize that knowledge is the key to success. After he states this he begins to list off all the highlights of the city he lives in which would not have been possible if it were not for observation and advancing scientific understanding. At the time of the Royal society, there was an emphasis also on humanism which has subtly changed over time. Modern science today still covers a lot of the same research done from back then but in todays world we also focus on thing such as environmental science, animal science, and more that just weren’t as important just yet unless related to the human cause. The impacts made from this time are still highly important today for example Newton in his Principia articulated what is now known as calculus and the laws of motion that are still taught today. The importance being that without this kind of breakthrough in science society may not have been able to advance as far as it has in technology which is vital to our economic success. When thinking of the importance of the Royal Society and modern times I think of Darwins famous quote ” I stand on the shoulders of giants”, in that we today use all the information that was provided then to make further research today. The idea of the scientific method, calculus, scientific journals (The royal society is the oldest one), all of this is still used to advance other research. This also could have been seen as the firs big time science and their beliefs stepped away from the government policy meaning that aspiring scientist, physicist, matmaticians, etc., could now regulate and uphold higher ideals of research and data that wasn’t suppressed. With the individualism of the royal society it paved the path for the type of research and science ethics that we still hold globally today. No matter which government you belong to each individual sector of science has its own criteria for credibility that is recognized wherever you travel to so that everyone can be held up to the same standards of credibility.Even in Todays time the idea of a royal society is still impactful  such as most college campuses have Greek life which in their own ways are like the royal society in that they all encourage high ideals of ethics and education. According to The Royal Society’s website they are the first “learned Society”, meaning that they are there to promote academic discipline or profession. The importance  here being that The Royal Society may have not only encouraged research and science but also a social emphasis on education in exclusive memberships such as fraternities and sororities. Lastly, at the origins of the Royal society the focus was primarily on language and the promotion of science advancement whereas today if you visit their website their main focus seems to be primarily on their history. This is a dramatic difference of the royal society from then and until now.

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“I love the name of honor, more than i fear death”

John Dryden’s Indian Emperour (1667), the author throughout the play focuses on themes of love versus honor, private interests versus the public good, and the motivation behind the character’s actions, but at the ending never explicitly states whether Cydaria and Hernan Cortez are united in matrimony. I personally believe Dryden’s purpose in doing so is to perpetuate the heroic thematic devices utilized in the play. By not explicitly addressing whether or not Cortez and Cydaria marry, the audience is then focused on the ramifications of the series of events that have just transpired in the play.Firstly, it is important to note the power that the woman have in this play. In every major scene there is a woman helping to guide the man, for example, when Guyomar is bargaining for Alibechs life and right to marry she actually says no matter what people say she isn’t an object and chooses who she shall marry. That is important to the ending of the play because it demonstrates the power of the woman’s right to choose and not be seen as an object. Had they been married at the end of the play, it would thus be a happy romance play that didn’t make the audience see the bigger picture of what Dryden was aiming to get at. Not only in the play is the power of the woman seen, but in the actuality of making the play as well. Cydaria in the play was being performed by the kings mistress (supposedly), the notion of a mistress playing such a key role and marrying someone of power doesn’t necessarily demonstrate the anxieties of the foreign imperialist and the aztec people, but the anxieties of what the modern times had come to. Dryden utilized every character and action in the play to criticize what the current society had come to, such as when Montezuma is portrayed literally like christ and even says ‘oh father’.  Had Cydaria and Cortez actually married on this stage where the nobility were present and watching it would have sent drastic ramifications to the audience that I don’t think Dryden was prepared for. He utilized the Spanish imperialism to talk about English imperialism but did it in such a way so that it was more acceptable to talk about just like the role of Cydaria, which was supposedly also written for the mistress intentionally.  By not mentioning the unity of Cortes and Cyndaria, the audience is now left to speculate and rethink the events that have just transpired instead of focusing on a happy ending. A king rather than give up his power for peace has just committed suicide after defeat, a brother betrayed his land due to unrequited love, and a woman loyal to her country has now just committed suicide rather than betray her beliefs. Each individual story intertwined in the play definitely focuses on the theme of love for something but duty to another which also centers back to the time period  of publication. During this time period it was lustful and full of partying, the playhouses were also somewhat of a brothel in a sense. Class has slipped and with the slip of class so too had the idea of love and honor. Morals were diminishing during the restoration period as people were accustomed to having mistresses and cheating on their spouses. By keeping this theme of love and duty it attempts to demonstrate the rightness of following through with you’re love and loyalty to the country. In a sense the main winner of the play was cortez and he too stayed loyal to his love, for example when he let Guyomar go to please Cydaria, but also with Duty when he still took down the native empire although he himself admits that the orders he has received may not be right and he was also going against his lover by essentially destroying her country. The other people in the play such as Montezuma for example did not stay loyal to his people, instead of listening to the spirits that told him he would loose he choose his pride over his country and lost it all including his life. Each character would die for their love or for their duty to their country even when there was other logical paths they could have taken. I think Dryden really aims to question the foundation of blind loyalty to a country and the selfish nature of listening to your heart in respects to the good of the majority. The evidence of this claim is in the ending of the play, throughout the entire play Cortes remained loyal to his country and still went to war all the while honoring his love for Cyndaria for example letting Guyomar go, and stayed true to both sides of duty and honor and he came out the best. The others either gave into blind faith to oders or their own personal love and they all perished. Cortes will have his name go down in history as the conquer of the Aztecs and the rest won’t. So no Dryden did not mention the marriage of Cortes and Cynadaria not due to his doubts of their unity but because it would dimmish the power Cynadaria and the women in the play have ever so subtly developed, but also because what Dryden was inferring by having a mistress play her role would not be scandalous for the audience and society.

 

 

The legacy of ” A city upon a hill”

 

John Winthrop, the first leader of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and devout Puritan, wrote A Modell of Christian Charity, to facilitate the development of a strong community, as he and many other puritan settlers were on their way to the new land on the ship Arabella. In his sermon he discusses how the colonist should treat each other in order to ensure the survival of the new colony as well as listing the three reasons for differentiation of rank in society. He notes that firstly, God demonstrates his wisdom in creating different ranks of man, each rank is meant to respect each other, and lastly it brings mankind closer together so that through love and respect we can also depend on one another. To finish his sermon, he states “For wee must consider that wee shall be as a city upon a hill”, meaning that the colony must follow those three guidelines in order for the community to survive because they will be watched by outsiders and if they fail as a community they will have failed God and their beliefs. Winthrop intended for the community to lead by example with Puritan beliefs, due to him and many other Puritans not being able to live under Charles I, who was against the Puritan ideology. Winthrop wanted each class to work together and be able to rely on one another for a properly functioning community, but today we have conflicts amongst majority of Americans in regards to beliefs, gender conformity, politics, and many more. In some regards the “city upon the hill” is still in tact in that America is still one of the leading countries for opportunity and equality, and in some aspects Winthrop was expressing a faith in American Nationalism that would predate the founding of the United States in 1776 which in a sense gave way to the idea of our first amendment. The key difference being that Winthrop was enforcing Puritan ideals and today we focus on a separation of church and state although religion does come up a lot in politics. John Milton on the other hand had different intentions on the meaning of “a city upon the hill” in his speech given to Parliament in 1644, he titled it AREOPAGITICA, in reference to the speech given to the ancient counsel of Athens in regards to the diminished power of the Aeropagus counsel, elders of the community, that would meet on top of a hill. Milton referenced the City on the hill to demonstrate just like the Aeropagus lost rights from the council, people elected from the community, the English people lost their rights when parliament put restrictions on literature. Both Winthrop and Milton are similar in their use of a “city upon a hill” to demonstrate the importance of freedom but they differ on what it means to be that city on the hill. Winthrop means to lead by example with puritan beliefs while Milton means to demonstrate the effects of restriction on their freedom, but they both are stressing the importance of freedom and respect of different ideas which in most aspects is still held in todays world although it is not always as effective as some may wish it to be.  The recent Women’s march that began in the united states was a movement seen all around the world, demonstrating just how important America is to the rest of the world. Marches were seen across the globe in support of women’s rights, although here in America women have more rights than many other women across the globe. The point being that America is still a “city upon the hill” in that across the globe we as a nation have influences everywhere. What happens in America is discussed globally whether that be good or bad. With such a powerful country and an emphasis on freedom of speech and equality, America is constantly in the spotlight and scrutinized for everything that happens as a nation. For example, the election of Trump is globally talked about and has many other governments not only responding on social media in response to Trumps winning the election but also taking political matters into their own hands to support international efforts that trump has just attempted to stop funding for. America will always be “the city upon the hill” I think because with such a powerful country that is so different and so free compared to most other places in the world, we will always be scrutinized for being essentially the symbol of freedom.