Bacon starts “Of Truth” with an allusion to Roman governor Pontius Pilate. Pilate was responsible for the crucification of Jesus Christ. It was Pilate who ordered to crucify Jesus.
However, Pilate knew Christ was free of guilt. Though he knew but he could not stand against the authorities and he let him die. He knew the truth but he could stay with the truth.
Therefore this phrase implies here that often people like to stay away from truth. Sticking to the truth is like . once a man follows the path of truth he cannot easily step back from the truth. Therefore for most people it seems like a bondage.
There is certainly a pleasure in the state of remaining free from such bondage. Man can exercise the freewill not only in his thinking but also in actions.
He can turn his thinking about something accordingly. However, in case of truth, he can not shift one stance to another frequently.
There used to be a group of philiosophers who used to search for the truth. That group is no more but similar to them, there are still people who are less intense than the earlier group.
Finding the truth is a difficult process, it takes time and energy. Man don’t seek truth not because it is hard to find, nor because it imposed upon man’s thoughts. Instead man ignores the truth because man has natural inclination towards the falsity or lies.
One of the Greek philosopher group has studied on the nature of man. They come up with a conclusion that man loves lies not because of the pleasure sake as a poet does, nor to get benefit out of it as it is the case with a merchant.
A poet lies while writing poetry to share his imagination with the reader. Similarly a merchant lies to gain profit from others in business. In both situations, lying can be justified to some extent.
While reading Donne’s “The Sunne Rising” the readers have the feeling that the poet is lying. However, with the suspension of disbelief we tend to understand what exactly the poet wants to say. So the lie plays an important factor in the poem.
Similarly, a merchant or a company (in the modern context) lies to sell his product to the customers. In both scenarios, they lie because they have a motif. As a result, their actions can be justified to some extent.
However, Bacon says that man lies for the lies sake. Man simply loves to lie.
I don’t agree with what Bacon says because human beings are inherently prone to truth. During childhood period of man, man’s basic nature was to tell the truth, no matter how blunt it sounds.
As man grows, the external world gradually affects the child and contaminate his mind. This can be understood from Blake’s concept of innocence and experience from his Songs of Innocence and Experience.
However, as man grows lying becomes his second nature. Truth is so blunt that Bacon compares to it with a day-light where everything is seen clear. On the other hand, the lies are like masks, murmeries, and triumphs of the world that look best in candle light.
In the absence of light, they look flashy and nice. Daylight exposes them.
Therefore Bacon compares truth with pearl and lies with diamond or carbuncle. A pearl shines only in the daylight. On the other hand, a diamond or carbuncle shines in varied light situation and they even shine in darkness.
In compare to diamond or carbuncle, a pearl is not shiny and it is less attractive. Similarly truth sounds less sweeter than lies. On the other hand, lies sound sweet.
Though lies begets lies Bacon says that the blending of truth and lies add pleasure. Every man lives with a hope, certain aspiration, unfulfilled dreams, etc. These are all false and if these are taken away from men then life would be futile. Everywhere will remain glimmer, despondent .
One of the fathers said that poetry is the food of the demon because it kindles the imagination. yet it is still a lie. Such lies don’t have any harm but the lies that we use are the ones that sticks to the mind. one needs to worry about such lies.
Man take the help of falsehood in the bad situation and affectation. However, search for the truth, knowledge of truth and following the path of truth is the best human nature one can possess.
Bacon again goes to the Biblical story of man creation.
When first God created man, God gave man first the light through which man can see and enjoy the beauty of the external world. The last gift of God was the reason. This is the reason why humans are superior to other animals.
It is pleasure to stand on the shore and watch a ship that is tossed by the sea. Similarly, it gives pleasure to stand at the window of a castle and watching a on-going battle outside the castle from inside. Above all Bacon says that attaining truth and looking at things from that vintage point.
The air is calm. This state is heaven on earth.
One can look at the errors of others, but that position one must not be pride rather feel pity for the others who lack it.
Aside from the theological and philosophical standpoint, even in daily usage, following the path of truth is curcial. The ones who don’t practice truthness that honesty and is the man’s best nature.
Lies is like mixture of alloy in the gold and silver that make the metal work better better but it embasth it. Following the falsity is like the serpent (Biblical allusion of the serpent that instigated Eve to eat the apple)
There is no greater vice than a man surrounded by false and shame. Montagine said in this regard why lie should be a disgarace. He said that when a man lies he is cowards toward the other fellow being but brave toward the God. He does not have the courage to tell the truth and he takes it for granted that lying would have no effect on the judgment day.
When Christ will return to the earth he will not find faith in humanity.