In the wake of the latest Eurasianism excitement (of which there will be much more), comes a wide-ranging piece at Mitrailleuse. It made me wonder whether Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis (1626) is still in any kind of cultural circulation. It‘s short — and odd. The date and cultural lineage place it decisively within Dugin’s framework of the rising new Atlantean power — English-speaking, protestant, maritime, philosemitic, technophilic, and (piously) materially acquisitive. There’s even a clear seam of Sinophilia running through it, although one might suspect that — for reasons of geopolitical pragmatism — this is not a feature Eurasianism would want to emphasize.
For a taste, here’s a sample from the New Atlantis tour:
“We have also engine-houses, where are prepared engines and instruments for all sorts of motions. There we imitate and practise to make swifter motions than any you have, either out of your muskets or any engine that you have; and to make them and multiply them more easily and with small force, by wheels and other means, and to make them stronger and more violent than yours are, exceeding your greatest cannons and basilisks. We represent also ordnance and instruments of war and engines of all kinds; and likewise new mixtures and compositions of gunpowder, wild-fires burning in water and unquenchable, also fire-works of all variety, both for pleasure and use. We imitate also flights of birds; we have some degrees of flying in the air. We have ships and boats for going under water and brooking of seas, also swimming-girdles and supporters. We have divers curious clocks and other like motions of return, and some perpetual motions. We imitate also motions of living creatures by images of men, beasts, birds, fishes, and serpents; we have also a great number of other various motions, strange for equality, fineness, and subtilty.
“We have also a mathematical-house, where are represented all instruments, as well of geometry as astronomy, exquisitely made.
“We have also houses of deceits of the senses, where we represent all manner of feats of juggling, false apparitions, impostures and illusions, and their fallacies. And surely you will easily believe that we, that have so many things truly natural which induce admiration, could in a world of particulars deceive the senses if we would disguise those things, and labor to make them more miraculous. But we do hate all impostures and lies, insomuch as we have severely forbidden it to all our fellows, under pain of ignominy and fines, that they do not show any natural work or thing adorned or swelling, but only pure as it is, and without all affectation of strangeness. …”
Scrupulous scientific realism combined with a precocious Virtual Reality industry. This is indeed an enemy, very naturally, to be feared.
Note: There’s also a post on Eurasianism, probing gently into the China angle, over at Urban Future.