“Of Truth” by Francis Bacon

“Of Truth” by Francis Bacon

Bacon has been called the meanest kind of person by Pope. He believes that Bacon always prefers worldly benefits and success to eternal life. But the essay “Of Truth” negates this concept and we come across his strong faith in speaking truth. He says that the truth should be the first and foremost preference at any cost and in any situation. Through quotations and references, Bacon sends the probing arrow of his worldly wisdom into every heart and proves that he is “The Uncrowned Monarch” having great Seeing Eye and philosophical mind.  

As a keen observer of man and his attitude, in his essay “Of Truth,” Bacon is trying his best to tell what truth is. He opines that the truth is like a pearl. As a pearl is visible to the naked eye, in the same way, the truth has clarity. It cannot show anything even if unrealistic elements are added to it. On the other hand, falsehood can show something apparent even in the darkness. However, in general, the attitude of the people towards truth is discouraging. They do not care for truth and are never ready. According to him, the reason is that truth cannot be found out without strenuous effort but most of the people do not want to make this effort. The truth makes the people bound to some fact and lessens their freedom.

But why do the people ignore the truth? He says that telling a lie hides the real personality of a man. “A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure.” A statement that is the blend of truth and lie is a source of making things interesting. It causes the pleasure of everyone. He believes that things with real colours lose their charm. This fact also compels people to ignore the truth and follow falsehood. He gives the example of Jesting Pilate, a Roman philosopher. He had been one of the governors of the Roman Empire. He believed: “What is the truth? Said Jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.” Similarly, he gives the example of the poets who add false praises in their verses. A bit of lie added to truth is like making an alloy of copper and gold. He wants to say that it is easy to work with these metals. However, it also makes it impure. Similarly, Bacon compares telling a lie with a snake which moves on or crawls with the help of its belly but can never stand on its feet. He further quotes Montaigne to stress his point of view. Montaigne who opines:  “A liar is a man who is brave towards God but is coward towards man.” It is a negative quality for which a man is answerable to God. Whatever falsehood can do whatever the flavour it has, how much attraction it has, a liar has to face humiliation in the end. He can never raise his head before people.     

To conclude, Bacon forces us to hold truth. He appreciates the people who are ready to speak truth and are always ready to speak truth. He seems to be the true embodiment of morality.                                                                     (Words: 524)