You’ve posted the preface of the New Organon (i.e. “volume 2” of The Great Renewal), but did you know that the whole work also has a preface? To me, this preface contains some of the most compelling material. Here are some selections from the Cambridge edition (ed. Jardine and Silverthorne; try libgen):
Men seem to me to have no good sense of either their resources or their power; but to exaggerate the former and underrate the latter. Hence, either they put an insane value on the arts which they already have and look no further or, undervaluing themselves, they waste their power on trifles and fail to try it out on things which go to the heart of the matter. And so they are like fatal pillars of Hercules to the sciences; for they are not stirred by the desire or the hope of going further. Belief in abundance is among the greatest causes of poverty; because of confidence in the present, real aids for the future are neglected. It is therefore not merely useful but quite essential that at the very outset of our work (without hesitation or pretense) we rid ourselves of this excess of veneration and regard, with a useful warning that men should not exaggerate or celebrate their abundance and its usefulness.
Besides, if such sciences were not a completely dead thing, it seems very unlikely that we would have the situation we have had for many centuries, that the sciences are almost stopped in their tracks, and show no developments worthy of the human race. Very often indeed not only does an assertion remain a mere assertion but a question remains a mere question, not resolved by discussion, but fixed and augmented; and the whole tradition of the disciplines presents us with a series of masters and pupils, not a succession of discoverers and disciples who make notable improvements to the discoveries. In the mechanical arts we see the opposite situation.
For you can hardly admire an author and at the same time go beyond him. It is like water; it ascends no higher than its starting point.
And then we warn men not to err in the opposite direction as they avoid this evil; which will certainly happen if they believe that any part of the inquiry into nature is forbidden by an interdict.
we want all and everyone to be advised to reflect on the true ends of knowledge: not to seek it for amusement or for dispute, or to look down on others, or for profit or for fame or for power or any such inferior ends, but for the uses and benefits of life, and to improve and conduct it in charity.
And we ask them to be of good hope; and not imagine or conceive of our Renewal as something infinite and superhuman, when in fact it is the end of unending error, and the right goal, and accepts the limitations of mortality and humanity, since it does not expect that the thing can be completely finished in the course of one lifetime, but provides for successors
This is really good! No, I didn’t think to look for the preface for the entire work. Thanks for raising this. It’s probably okay for us to quote some passages, though I’d be hesitant to post the whole thing from Libgen for copywrite reasons. (We have the license to post the version we’re posting, but I’d be surprised if Cambridge press was as permissive.)
Wikisource has several 19th century translations of the preface, eg, Spedding 1844.