Bacon Essay Of Truth
Of Truth Summary
What is truth? Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea, who tried Christ and sent him to death, asked the question but did not wait to have a reply. He was so very busy with his trade of falsehood and lies that he did not wait for the reply. Like Pilate, there are a number of thinkers who believe in free-will in thinking and action. They are not in favour of following one steady and unchanging course of action, but would change their opinions, views and statements according to their will and according to the needs of the situation. They do not believe in one steady course of action. There is little conformity in what they say and what they do. They are in love with this equivocating habit.
The question is why people are so much attracted and fascinated by the vicious course of lies and falsehood. It is a fact that they love lies because it is a very difficult and arduous task to find truth or because once truth is discovered, man will be forced to tread on the path of truth. The fact is otherwise. Man loves lies for ‘a natural though corrupt love of the lie itself.’
Those who love lies for the pleasure and satisfaction that lies bring to them are not virtuous and sound persons. No doubt, a little admixture of lies in the form of flattery, vanity, false valuations, gives pleasure to the person who indulges in lies, but the pleasure that so emanates is not of a lasting character. The joy that comes from treading or following the path of truth is of a lasting nature. The joy of truth is more abiding and sustaining and gives exhilaration and joy to man.
Truth sheds light like the sun. Truth is ‘a naked and open daylight that illumines the objects of life. It is like the pearl that shines in day, and not like the diamond that shines in the light of candles. The effulgent light of truth illumines all the worldly things and gives value to life. Truth in its varied and myriad forms is the sovereign good of human nature. God created man with emotions, reason and intellect and has inspired all his creatures to follow the path of truth. Standing on the vantage ground of truth, man can have a full command over all earthly things of life.
Coming to the transaction of business of ordinary life it is necessary for us to be truthful, honest, straight-forward and sincere in our dealings. Clear and round dealings are the honour of man’s nature. Nothing stains and debases human life and human beings so much as false and perfidious course of action. Those who adopt untruthful and dishonest ways of life are like the serpent that creeps and crawls rather than walks straight on its feet. Those who indulge in the vicious course of dishonesty and falsehood disfigure humanity and bring the slur and wrath of God on themselves.
Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to have a man’s mind move in charity, rest in Providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.
Of Truth Short Analysis
I. Some men care not for truth:
- Anciently they were philosophers.
- Now they are ‘discoursing wits.’
II. Reasons for this:
- The difficulty and labour of finding out truth.
- The obligations it imposes upon the conduct.
- A natural preference for lying, because –
(a) Truth would expose too many shams.
(b) Falsehood gives pleasure to imagination.
III. Yet truth is the ‘sovereign good of human nature’, being-
- The perpetual creation and gift of God.
- The only secure resting place, for men, as Lucretius says.
IV. “Truth of civil business” i. e., moral truth) :
- 1.Universall allowed to be honorable.
- As lying is a disgrace (Montaigne)
- And will be the last peal to call down Divine judgment.
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