The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

Of ambitions, it is less harmful, the ambition to prevail in great things, than that other, to appear in every thing; for... Options
Daemon
Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 12:00:00 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/7/2009
Posts: 22,245
Neurons: 66,738
Location: Inside Farlex computers
Of ambitions, it is less harmful, the ambition to prevail in great things, than that other, to appear in every thing; for that breeds confusion, and mars business.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
kitten
Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 5:32:01 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 12/28/2009
Posts: 2,468
Neurons: 7,420
Location: the city by the bay
Daemon wrote:
Of ambitions, it is less harmful, the ambition to prevail in great things, than that other, to appear in every thing; for that breeds confusion, and mars business.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)



In context the quote makes more sense, at least to me.Anxious


AMBITION is like choler; which is an humor that maketh men active, earnest, full of alacrity, and stirring, if it be not stopped. But if it be stopped, and cannot have his way, it becometh adust, and thereby malign and venomous. So ambitious men, if they find the way open for their rising, and still get forward, they are rather busy than dangerous; but if they be checked in their desires, they become secretly discontent, and look upon men and matters with an evil eye, and are best pleased, when things go backward; which is the worst property in a servant of a prince, or state. Therefore it is good for princes, if they use ambitious men, to handle it, so as they be still progressive and not retrograde; which, because it cannot be without inconvenience, it is good not to use such natures at all. For if they rise not with their service, they will take order, to make their service fall with them. But since we have said, it were good not to use men of ambitious natures, except it be upon necessity, it is fit we speak, in what cases they are of necessity. Good commanders in the wars must be taken, be they never so ambitious; for the use of their service, dispenseth with the rest; and to take a soldier without ambition, is to pull off his spurs. There is also great use of ambitious men, in being screens to princes in matters of danger and envy; for no man will take that part, except he be like a seeled dove, that mounts and mounts, because he cannot see about him. There is use also of ambitious men, in pulling down the greatness of any subject that overtops; as Tiberius used Marco, in the pulling down of Sejanus. Since, therefore, they must be used in such cases, there resteth to speak, how they are to be bridled, that they may be less dangerous. There is less danger of them, if they be of mean birth, than if they be noble; and if they be rather harsh of nature, than gracious and popular: and if they be rather new raised, than grown cunning, and fortified, in their greatness. It is counted by some, a weakness in princes, to have favorites; but it is, of all others, the best remedy against ambitious great-ones. For when the way of pleasuring, and displeasuring, lieth by the favorite, it is impossible any other should be overgreat. Another means to curb them, is to balance them by others, as proud as they. But then there must be some middle counsellors, to keep things steady; for without that ballast, the ship will roll too much. At the least, a prince may animate and inure some meaner persons, to be as it were scourges, to ambitions men. As for the having of them obnoxious to ruin; if they be of fearful natures, it may do well; but if they be stout and daring, it may precipitate their designs, and prove dangerous. As for the pulling of them down, if the affairs require it, and that it may not be done with safety suddenly, the only way is the interchange, continually, of favors and disgraces; whereby they may not know what to expect, and be, as it were, in a wood. Of ambitions, it is less harmful, the ambition to prevail in great things, than that other, to appear in every thing; for that breeds confusion, and mars business. But yet it is less danger, to have an ambitious man stirring in business, than great in dependences. He that seeketh to be eminent amongst able men, hath a great task; but that is ever good for the public. But he, that plots to be the only figure amongst ciphers, is the decay of a whole age. Honor hath three things in it: the vantage ground to do good; the approach to kings and principal persons; and the raising of a man’s own fortunes. He that hath the best of these intentions, when he aspireth, is an honest man; and that prince, that can discern of these intentions in another that aspireth, is a wise prince. Generally, let princes and states choose such ministers, as are more sensible of duty than of using; and such as love business rather upon conscience, than upon bravery, and let them discern a busy nature, from a willing mind.


Please thank www.authorama.com for the quote in context.


peace out, >^,,^<


The poor object to being governed badly, whilst the rich object to being governed at all. G.K. Chesterton
Jimbob
Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 9:31:57 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/26/2011
Posts: 162
Neurons: 486
Location: New Zealand
hi everyone :-)

Essays, moral, economical and political . With a memoir of the author : by Fancis Bacon (book search)

OF AMBITION.
Ambition is like choler, which is a humour that maketh men active, earnest, full of alacrity, and stirring if it be not stopped; but if it be stopped, and cannot have its way, it becometh adust, and thereby maligu and venomous; so ambitious men, if they find the way open for their rising, and still get forward, they are rather busy than dangerous; but if they be checked in their desires, they become secretly discontent, and look upon men and matters with an evil eye, and are best pleased when things go backward, which is the worst property in a servant of a prince or state; therefore, it is good for princes, if they use ambitious men, to handle it so as they be still progressive and not retrograde, which, because it cannot be without inconvenience, it is good not to use such natures at all; for if they rise not with their service, they will take order to make their service fall with them. But since we have said, it were good not to use men of ambitious natures, except it be upon necessity, it is fit we speak in what cases they are of necessity. Good commanders in the wars must be taken, be they never so ambitious, for the use of their service dispenseth with the rest; and to take a soldier without ambition is to pull off his spurs. There is also great use of ambitious men in being screens to princes in matters of danger and envy; for no man will take that part except he be like a seeled dove, that mounts and mounts, because he cannot see about him. There is use also of ambitious men in pulling down the greatness of any subject that overtops; as Tiberius used Macro in the pulling down of Sejanus. Since, therefore, they must be used in such cases, they resteth to speak how they are to be riddled, that they may be less dangerous. There is less danger of them, if they be of mean birth, than if they be noble; and if they be rather harsh of nature, than gracious and popular, and if they be rather new raised, than grown cunning and fortified in their greatness. It is counted by some a weakness in princes to have favourites, but it is, of all others, the best remedy against ambitious great ones; for when the way of pleasuring and displeasuring lieth by the favourite, it is impossible any other should be over great. Another means to curb them, is to balance them by others as proud as they; but then there must be some middle counsellors to keep things steady, for without that ballast, the ship will roll too much. At the least, a prince may animate and inure some meaner person to be scourges to ambitious men. As for the having of them obnoxious to ruin, if they be of fearful natures, it may do well, but if they be stout and daring, it may precipitate their designs, and prove dangerous. As for the pulling of them down, if the affairs require it, and that it may not be done with safety suddenly, the only way is, the interchange continually of favours and disgraces, whereby they may not know what to expect, and be, as it were, in a wood. Of ambitions, it is less harmful, the ambition to prevail in great things, than that other to appear in every thing; for that breeds confusion, and mars business; but yet it is less danger to have an ambitious man stirring in business, than great in dependencies. He that seeketh to be eminent amongst able men, hath a great task, but that is ever good for the public; but he that plots to be the only figure amongst cyphers, is the decay of a whole age. Honour hath three things in it; the vantage ground to do good, the approach to kings and principal persons, and the raising of a man's own fortunes. He that hath the best of these intentions, when he aspireth, is an honest man; and that prince that can discern of these intentions in another that aspireth, is a wise prince. Generally, let princes and states choose such ministers as are more sensible of duty than of rising, and such as love business rather upon conscience than upon bravery; and let them discern a busy nature from a willing mind.
````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````

O/D : ambition : determination to succeed

When it became clear to Tiberius (Emperor) that support for Sejanus was not as strong as he had feared, his next step was to choose Macro, previously prefect of the vigiles to replace Sejanus (an ambitious soldier) and affect his downfall and later execution.

Once again we see Bacon drawing on history as an example using the Roman Empire. So in a round about sort of way I guess he's implying that ambition has its merits, but beware of being pulled apart by someone more ambitious/powerful than yourself as in the case of Sejanus. Now one can only wonder at what Bacon would think of ambition now days! possibly with a great deal of interest. One word that he doesn't use is greed although "raising of a man's own fortunes" has a similar meaning. So now in modern times ambition is seen as getting an education/motivation of some description and with some hard work comes success accompanied by finacncial gain. Or no need for ambition in some cases, as we say in these parts "born with a silver spoon in your mouth". Nevertheless this can make ambition an easier task for those fortunate, without sounding envious, all good and well. lastly Competition for ambitious aspirations when Bacon refers to "middle counsellors to keep things steady, for without that ballast, the ship will roll too much" this almost sounds as though he is referring to a class system (middle class). Anyway I would love to chat all day but gtg work soon. then catch up with friends :)
panama
Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 12:00:06 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 2/20/2012
Posts: 8
Neurons: 24
Location: United States, NY
Success and fame are not necessarily mutually exclusive, fame oftentimes leads to greater success and vice versa.
Users browsing this topic
Guest


Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Main Forum RSS : RSS
Forum Terms and Guidelines. Copyright © 2008-2017 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.