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400 Year Cycle?

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I wasn’t sure where to post this, so it’s here.

In 2020 I noticed it was the 400th anniversary of Bacon’s Novum Organum, as well as the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Compact (1620) and the first general assembly in the Virginia Colony (1619), marking the beginning of democratic governance in North America. These events might seem unrelated except for Bacon's involvement in the Virginia Company, but they both represent revolutions from top-down to bottom-up ways of doing things. Bacon’s New Organon explicitly challenged Aristotle’s Organon, then the standard text on logic, which is based on deduction or the syllogism, a top-down method that starts with a premise assumed to be true universally. As Bacon wrote in the Advancement of Learning, if you begin with certainty you will end in doubt, but if you begin with doubt you will end in certainty.

It seemed a remarkable coincidence that 400 years later, science and democracy were summarily discarded and replaced with old top-down, authoritarian methods. So I looked up 400-year cycles and learned that the Gregorian calendar is a 400-year calendar, completing its leap-year cycle once in that period. There is a 400-year solar cycle that is not yet well understood. There may be 400 year periods in history, for example the Roman Empire’s collapse began in earnest around 400 AD, and Charlemagne reunited the European continent in 800 AD. There is also the “400 years of silence” or what Christians call the Intertestamental Period, stretching from Malachi (who ends the Hebrew Bible) to the arrival of John the Baptist and Jesus.

I wonder if Bacon will likewise have a 400-year silent period, if he is due for a reversal of fortune.

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