Based on Francis Bacon's quotation, how is time the greatest innovator?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The misquote we may often hear is that "time is the great motivator," which means that the amount of time one has to do a task or complete a job can be a strong motivation in reaching one's goal—if time is limited.

Francis Bacon, an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, author, etc., wrote:

He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest innovator.

The quote regarding time as a "greatest innovator" could mean that when time is short and a problem must be solved, it drives one to become innovative—new or "novel." However, Bacon is stating that if one does not innovate and provide new solutions to problems, something "evil" will come of that problem over time, for time allows the "greatest" innovation—the greatest opportunity for change: good or bad. defines "innovate:" introduce something new; make changes in anything established

A common association with "innovator" is the sense that someone can make do with the materials at hand and in so doing, create something or change something. Often times we see an innovator in spy movies: if the hero is trapped, sometimes he is able to cross wires to open a door or set off an alarm that brings help. Necessity demands innovation, especially when time is short. Again if the spy must find a way to escape before he is killed or a bomb explodes, this is an example of innovation based on time, or limited time, in these scenarios.

Bacon's quote, however, provides the reader with the ability to see innovation not as something that will simply serve the individual, but can serve the greater good of mankind. If innovation is not forthcoming, Bacon predicts that evil will arise from the problem that remains unsolved. Innovation, then, can be seen in a positive way or a negative way.

In Bacon's case, there is a sad irony. Bacon tried to follow his own observation in scientific pursuits, but...

His dedication probably led to his death, bringing him into a rare historical group of scientists who were killed by their own experiments.

While studying the effects of freezing with "the preservation of meat," to solve the problem of food spoilage (one expects), Bacon was exposed to freezing temperatures; he contracted pneumonia and died.

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