Superstition

date: 2015-12-15
revised: 2017-07-30
belief: fiction
status: poetry

An excerpt of verse for Dr. Eric Spencer’s English Renaissance Literature.

In 1572, Tycho Brahe observed 
a sudden and continuous rain of light 
emanating from the celestial realm of Cassiopeia. 

After a number of weeks, he noted that 
this new source of light failed to shift 
in position relative to the fixed heavenly sphere.

The source lacked parallax 
and must then have been located upon the surface 
of the celestial realm. 

He published De Nova Stella in 1573, 
claiming a new star had come into existence 
above the sublunary realm 
with the expressed conviction that 
the world was hastening to its end.

Tycho's new star is known today 
to have been the electromagnetic trace of SN 1572.

a star under enormous pressure 
whereby the free electrons of the stellar interior
were forcibly melded with protons to create 
a single giant atomic nucleus
imploded violently with exterior plasma collapsing 
only to rebound gallantly outwards

50 years later, proper time, 
with the publication of the Novum Organum,
Francis Bacon proclaimed 
the newness of a method available to human thought, 
by which the species might establish 
progressive stages of certainty.

Bacon differentiates his inductive method from Socratic midwifery 
in that Bacon retains the senses, 
helped and guided 
by a certain process of correction.

However, Bacon's method is new 
because he rejects 
the mental operation 
that follows an act of sense.

From Socrates:

"my art of midwifery is in most respects like theirs; 
but differs, in that I attend men and not women; 
and look after their souls when they are in labour, 
and not after their bodies: 

"and the triumph of my art is 
in thoroughly examining 
whether the thought which the mind of the young man 
brings forth is a false idol or a noble and true birth.

"Take a look round, then, 
and see that none of the uninitiated are listening.

"Now by the uninitiated I mean: 
the people who believe in nothing 
but what they can grasp in their hands, 
and who will not allow 
that action or generation 
or anything invisible 
can have real existence.

"Yes, indeed, Socrates, 
they are very hard and impenetrable mortals. 

"Yes, my boy, outer barbarians.
Far more ingenious 
are the brethren whose mysteries 
I am about to reveal to you.

Bacon identifies that 
in superstition arguments are fitted to practice 
in a reversed order.

Where the doctrine of schoolmen bare great sway
the schoolmen were like the astronomers,
which did feign eccentrics and epicycles 
and such engines of orbs to save the phenomena, 
though they knew there were no such things.

Superstition is
when things are either abhord or obserued
with a zealous or fearefull
but erroneous relation to God.

1. A tendency to fly up 
   too quickly to generalizations

2. A tendency to identify its own sense of order 
   with the cosmic order

3. A tendency to ignore or suppress 
   whatever does not accord

4. A tendency to assent 
   to forms---
   logical, 
   rhythmical, 
   syntactical

sources