Bone Idols

Writing online for the last three years has involved hundreds (sometimes thousands) of words each day, so apart from polished articles, and unpolished chat, I have honed a few blog entries I feel fairly proud of…just from all the research.

How about Francis Bacon’s Four Idols (no, not the painter guy, brilliant though I consider him, but the man who maybe also helped write ‘Shakepeare’s plays’).

 ‘Idols’ is a term which Bacon used figuratively for fallacies which block or distort men’s perception of reality and their pursuit of truth. They are psychological barriers – prepossessions, prejudices, and delusions, emotional and sentimental biases. In short, they include all the imaginings which prevent men from seeing the object ‘as it really is’.

My brief summary of his theory appeared here, with links to better qualified sites.

Idols of the Tribe: (Human Chauvinism – sensory limits – bodymind?)

A person’s education:
The books a person reads:
The people a person admires: (try not to end up with their bad habits, too)
A person’s experiences:
Our need to seek more and more regularity in the world than there really is: (23s and The Law of Fives?)
Our tendency to seek out evidence of that which we already believe to be true: (self-fulfilling prophecy, The Prover proves what the Thinker thinks)
Our tendency to see personal truths as universal: (opinion disguised with isness)
Our belief in empirical data: (only part of the spectrum)
Our tendency to let emotions rule reason: (faith-based vs experiment-based)

Idols of the Cave: (Personal reality-tunnels)

People see things in light of their own special knowledge and opinions:
Some of us are governed by similarities, others by differences:
Those who love the past and those who love the possibilities of the future obscure the knowledge of the present:
Some of us see only the details and others see only the global:
Bacon advised students to hold in suspicion any idea which particularly appealed to them

Idols of the Marketplace: (General Semantics and NLP)  (Hi Ben!)
Words are misused or misunderstood:
Words have a true and a vulgar meaning: (slang and jargon)
Words cannot be defined because we need words to define them:
Names of things which do not exist confuse our understanding: (nominalizations)
‘Idols of the Market Place are the most troublesome of all’
‘It is not possible to divorce ourselves from these fallacies and false appearances, because they are so inseparable from our nature and condition of life’

Idols of the Theatre: (The State – true believers – ready-made fictions)
Dogma:
Religion:
Political systems (democracy, communism, etc.):
Education:
Political parties:

Ring any bells?

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