Francis Bacon: of Studies Summary

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It is an essay written to inform us of the benefits of studying. He tells us that natural abilities are like natural plants that need pruning by study. Studying is applying the mind to learning and understanding a subject, especially through reading, which is perhaps why by 'studying', Sir Francis Bacon mostly refers to reading. He said read is not for discussion 'but to weigh. In his short essay, he strives to persuade us to study, and tells us how to study if we are to make the best of what we read. In his essay entitled Of Studies, Francis Bacon examines the benefits and effects of studies, maintaining that when studies are balanced by experience, diverse studies may help counteract personal imperfections. Bacon proposes that study may be done for three purposes: for one’s own entertainment, such as reading book on a favorite author, to impress others and bring attention to oneself, such as by touting one’s academic accomplishments in hopes of gaining a pretty girl’s admiration, or to gain competence and proficiency, an example would be by studying for an upcoming exam. Too much study may be considered a downfall, as the individual studying may be considered by others to be self-indulgent or even lazy if they appear to be studying and not much else. Just to do what books tell you to do and nothing else is characteristic of an academic/bookish individual. Studying alone is insufficient; learning must also be accompanied by real life experience, as they are counter-balances of one another. Abilities are strengthened and capabilities balanced by studies. Cunning individuals regard studies with contempt because concepts learned from books might thwart their devious goals; unpretentious individuals admire studies because they themselves may have had little opportunity for study, and an astute individual makes good use of studies and knowledge gained by studying as a

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