Thursday, July 9, 2009

July 9: A Little Lying Now and Then (Vol. 3, pp. 7-19)

Sir Francis Bacon became Privy Councilor this day in 1616. In this reading, Bacon offers his attempt to answer the eternal question, "What is truth?"

Bacon finds that absolute truth is important in theological or philosophical principles, but in what he calls "the truth of civil business ... clear and round dealing in the honor of man's nature" and that the mixture of falsehood "is like allow in gold and silver, which may make the metal work better, but it embaseth it."

A touch of falsehood may make a man feel better, Bacon says, and the elimination of it from daily affairs would "leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and imposition."

In other words, without white lies and rationalizations, we would all have a tough time getting through each day.

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