Idols and Francis Bacon
By: Bailey Gray
To Francis Bacon the four idols, tribe, cave, market place, and theater, beset the minds of men (Bacon). To him, the human race has four prejudices that haze our scientific thoughts: 1) Our perceptions are true and trust worthy,2) Experience make us wise, 3) Language provides us to be superior beings, and 4) We believe previous scientific theories and philosophical assertions (Bacon). Because of these prejudices Bacon says that we must acquire evidence and question the truth instead of assuming that what we know is all there is. Therefore, Bacon believes that the four idols interfere with the human race’s ability to perceive the truth and prevent humans from prospering in scientific thought (Bacon).
The Idols of the Tribe is the “tribe” or society you are born into. The Tribe is the natural weaknesses and tendencies common to human nature (Shouler). The Idols of the Tribe are a person’s barrier to understand things based on their human nature, for example where they grew up (Bruce). Living in the Deep South, also know as the Bible belt, Idols of the Tribe play a major part in our southern society, especially when dealing with ethnicity. Growing up I was taught the saying, “The Red Birds stay with the Red Birds and the Blue Birds stay with the Blue Birds.” This euphemism stating that blacks marry and reproduce with blacks and whites marry and reproduce with whites and they never mix together, is one of the very first “life lessons” I remember learning as a child. While researching more about Idols of the Tribe I realized that nowhere else in the United States, much less the rest of world, did parents and grandparents teach their children this racist ideology, besides the south. This made me realize that without even thinking about it I fell accustomed to an Idol of the Tribe without even processing what I was being told much less that I was being racist. I just assumed it was natural and typical because of the society and tribe I was placed born into.
The next idol, the Idol of the Cave, is based on an individual person’s taste and basis. Unlike the Tribe, it is not based on your society, but yourself as a person and what you believe in and have preferences for. For example, something that is a Cave Idol to me and not for others is feminism. I fully support the right of equality between all the sexes, while others believe that woman should still be paid less than men, should shave their body, and should be shamed for talking and acting out sex the way a man would. Another example of an Idol of the Cave is sexuality. As someone who not only likes men, but women as well, I fully believe that not being heterosexual- meaning anything that falls within the LGBTQ*category - is a common and natural occurrence that someone without a doubt can be born as. On the other hand to my liberal thinking, there are people, such as my grandparents, who believe that my way of thinking is unnatural, corrupt, and that someone chooses what sexuality they prefer. Is either of us wrong in our thinking? As much as I would love to say yes, the Idol of the Cave has taught me that the other person is not necessarily wrong, but just has different beliefs and point of views than I do.
The third idol, the Idol of the Marketplace, is by far the most troublesome according to Bacon. The Idol of the Marketplace comes from language and communication and the way humans go about talking to each other. Whether it is jargon, or whom thinks whose words has more power over the other commination has always had a hindrance on the human race. A prime example of the use of jargon in my life is when I go out with my best friend, Mel, who was born and raised in New Jersey. Her being a rough and tough Yankee and I being a “Southern Belle” we had a few miscommunications at the start of our friendship. One incident...
Cited: Bacon, Francis. "The Four Idols." Olearyweb.com.
Bruce, Terry. "Francis Bacon 's 'The Four Idols '" Francis Bacon 's 'The Four Idols ' N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2015.
Hall, Manly. "The Four Idols of Francis Bacon. "sirbacon.org.
Shouler, Kenneth. "Understanding Philosophy." The Corruption of the Mind: Bacon 's Four Idols -. Netplaces, n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2015.
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