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Bacon’s Four Idols

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    Bacon’s “The Four Idols” Bacon’s “The Four Idols” is about the reasoning behind our difficulties in understanding the world around us. Bacon describes four types of idols which are the idols of the Tribe; the second, idols of the Cave; the third, idols of the Marketplace, and the fourth, idols of the Theatre, which in his point of view are natural features of human nature that are common to us all. In order to improve our understanding of the world, we as individuals need see things in the correct state of mind, and correct the inadequacies we think that are true.

    According to Bacon, “Human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it” (582) which means our senses, according to Bacon these were not very well developed because we can easily be fooled by them. Our tendency to see order and pattern where there is none. Bacon claimed that we tend to look at random events and will somehow force them to fit a pattern. Bacon states, “… All perceptions as well of the sense as of the mind are according to the measure of the individual and not according to the measure of the universe” (582).

    Wishful thinking is what Bacon believes that we naturally want to believe that which we want to be true, and the false idea which now has possession of the human understanding. Bacon also believed we as individuals are natural to have our own judgments and believe our own judgments and conclusions rather than when we should carefully gather evidence before we judge. Bacon states, “The human understanding is of its own nature prone to suppose the existence of more order and regularity in the world than it finds” (584). Idols of the Tribe are deceptive beliefs inherited in the mind of a man, and therefore belonging to the human race.

    When a man has set his mind to believing what he sees, they extend their opinions and gain dignity and are said to be the facts until the compounds become inseparable. Idols of the Cave are arise of the mind of an individual, the thoughts of an individual roam about in this dark cave and are variously modified by temperament, education, habit, and environment. Idols of the Marketplace are errors arising from the false significance believed upon words; the constant impact of words constantly used without attention to their true meaning, and can also mean words often betray the men’s own purpose of their thoughts xpressed. Idols of the Theatre are those which are due to false learning built up into the field of theology, philosophy, and science. Bacon believes that people name and imagine things that are not existence. The prevention of the four idols is for people to believe what is known to be the stated truth rather than going on a personal believe, knowing the truth about how we are shaped into this world without having any control over it. According to Bacon, The human understanding is moved by those things most which strike and enter the mind simultaneously and suddenly, and so fill the imagination; and then it feigns and supposes all other things to be somehow, thought it cannot see how, similar to those few things by which it is surrounded” (585). The organization of this essay is in a way that shows the way the idols are believed in, and which people fall into depending on where and how they grew up and these idols build our characteristics and most of our personalities.

    In my point of view, I feel like the Idols of Cave have a significant impact on me because most of what I have grown up believing in is what has shaped me to believe certain things in life about the thoughts we have set out to believe, and although they are not all accurate we still believe in the thoughts because it’s our own personal view. The Idols of cave is an example of things in the world that shape us, which are things we really have no control over such as religion, schools as to what they are allowed to teach us as individuals and what is allowed to be published in school books.

    The Idols of Tribe represent the illusions of human nature, it refers to the idea that our everyday problems arise simply because we are humans. It is human nature to think that there is more order in the world than there really is, accept things as they are without question, and we don’t want to let it rest until we discover the truth about a subject. We as humans tend to believe what we want to believe, even if there is evidence for the opposing theory. Works Cited Bacon, Frances. “The Four Idols. ” A World of Ideas. Ed. Lee Jacobus. 8th e. Boston: Bedford, 2010. Print.

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