12/15/2018

"Of Nature in Men" by Becon: Summary.


Custom Alone can Alter Man:
A man's disposition may often be hidden; sometimes it can be altered or subdued; but it cannot be completely destroyed. Repression of disposition causes it to become all the more strong and violent when the repressive force is withdrawn. Preaching and lectures may moderate one’s disposition, but custom (or habit) alone can change or overcome it.

Custom may Alter Nature:
A person who seeks to overcome his nature should set himself tasks which are neither too easy nor too difficult. Let him graduate from the each to the more difficult. He should begin with external aids and go on with resolution to face situation which are more difficult than those he would usually face a man gain perfection in this manner. When natural disposition is very strong, the process of subduing it must necessarily be slow and laborious. It is commendable if a man has the strength of mind and resolution to curb a disposition instantly and completely. Another good method to change one's disposition is to practice the opposite characteristics, provided , of course, it is not a vice.

To Cultivate a New Habit:
A new habit can be cultivated better by intermitted effort rather than by continuous practice. Intervals in practice strength the new habit. But a man should not become complacent over his success in subduing his disposition; for one's nature is capable of laying hidden and springing up unexpectedly on occasions. A man should either avoid those situations which bring out this particular disposition, or the end, cease to be troubled by it.

Real Nature of Man:
The real Nature of Man is exhibited in certain situations: (a) In privacy  or private life when he is devoid of any pretence. (b) In moments of passion when professed principles have no hold over him; and (c ) In a completely new situation in which habit can not help him. Men, whose vocations suit their dispositions, are fortunate. In nucogenial situations, they can always feel it is only for a short while. In studies, for instance, one has to set apart a fixed time to devote to a course of work which one has been forced to choose against inclination; books one naturally loves need no special time set apart from them, as the mind is ready to deal with them at all times. Man's nature is apt to run towards good as well as evil; therefore, he should cultivate the good impulses and suppress the evil tendencies.

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