Bacon's Four Idols

Francis Bacon was a man who discussed, among many subjects, the idols that we keep in our mind that hold us back from thinking rationally and with reason.

Idol of the tribe: being "othered" and disliking someone or something because it's not like us (outside of the tribe)

Idols of the cave: the limitations of personal perspective, Plato's Cave

Idols of the marketplace: communication, peer pressure and sociology in general (inside of the tribe)

Idols of the theatre: the negative effects of the -ism and ideology

The two main topical ones are the cave and the theatre, though I could definitely come up with examples of the other two.

The cave deals with how our own perspectives warp the mind into thinking irrationally. For example, liking something only because it's new, not because it's better. Conversely, liking something only because it's old is also irrational.

I admit to conservatism in technology - I'm predisposed to liking something more when it's older. I have rational examples: Older things are cheaper, often more reliable, and time tested. But I would be foolish to say this is a blanket rule for all things, and liking something merely because it hits these bullet points would be irrational.

The theatre deals with rigid ideology, and in a way it is very close to the cave. Any end all be all ideologies end up here. Communism and capitalism are the two easiest to pinpoint.


You see why I brought the subject up. The reason why I'm discussing the subject is because I don't think minimalism is an ideology, but a bundle of verbs - word that each person fills in themselves. For minimalism, there's a general idea that it requires something minimal (it's right there in the word!) but where and why that threshold stops is entirely loose and as such it's hard to call minimalism an ideology.

But does this idea that Bacon expresses have any bearing on minimalism as we live it today? Are we too ridged in our following of our self-made principle? Is it making us irrational? Or are we more noble in our strength to follow what makes us happy?

I want comments. This is a discourse.

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