What are the disadvantages of a person in a high position mentioned in the essay ‘ Of Great Place ‘?
The essay Of Great Place ‘ contains miscellaneous reflections on the means and methods of attaining a great place and its nature and expectations. A very large part of it deals with the disadvantages and pitfalls of the position of high authority. Francis Bacon shades a very practical and rational light on them. Bacon opens the essay ‘ Of Great Place with the focal disadvantages of men in a high position. They are servants of three things. They are servants of the sovereign or state, of fame and their post They have to obey and carry out the order of the state or government to satisfy the highest authority in the country.
They must serve to maintain their fame and safeguard any adverse criticism or infamy by others. They have to retain their high position at the cost of their own freedom. They cannot but contribute most of their time in service of their post and cannot, therefore, have free time for their private lives. There is a paradox involved in achieving a great place Men in high post exercises power and authority over others but they do not have power over themselves. Thus they lose their personal liberty. According to Bacon high places can be secured by hard work and constant effort but it may sometimes involve mean practices which are inconvenient for the men of honor. The man comes to the post of honor and prestige after suffering plenty of insults and humiliations. After achieving this position he is involved in more hard work because the office imposes a heavy responsibility and demands constant work. The idea of sacrificing dignity for the sake of attaining a high place is Machiavellian in nature.
The expression All rising to a great place is by a winding stair refers to crooked methods or roundabout ways of attaining a great place. Since it needs to employ cunning and duplicity to achieve a high position, it throws a lurid light on the crookedness of Elizabethan statesmanship when corruption and intrigue prevailed everywhere. Attaining a high place does not bring respite to the aspirant. He risks downfall due to the displeasure of the supreme authority or for falling out of favor. The standing is slippery The loss of power and influence, which is the ultimate drawback of attaining a high post, may be either permanent or temporary, but in both cases, it would cause great suffering and misery to the person concerned. Besides, another disadvantage is that a man is reluctant to give up his high office even when he becomes old and sick. To cling to the high office when it is right and proper to retire is to invite the scorn of others. The most important disadvantage of persons in a high place is that they are not really happy because they have too many cares and worries.
But for their power and influence, others think that they must be quite happy. They live on the opinions of others. They must accept the opinions of others to be happy. On the other hand, they are too busy with their duties that they can spare no time to think of their physical or spiritual well being. They remain strangers to themselves. The essay ‘ Of Great Place ‘, therefore, catalogs a long list of disadvantages of the high place. The only advantage which high posts have is that they give men the power to do good deeds. By doing good alone can a man get an easy conscience and a peaceful soul.