Quotes from The Story of Philosophy IIIa: Frances Bacon: Is not that knowledge alone that doth clear the mind of all perturbations?

Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) is usually described as the father of the scientific method and empiricism, but he was much more as well.

I possessed a passion for research, a power of suspending judgment with patience, of meditating with pleasure, of assenting with caution, of correcting false impressions with readiness, and of arranging my thoughts with scrupulous pains.

In politics, as in love, it does not do to give one’s self wholly; one should at all times give, but at no time all.

“No man,” said Ben Jonson, “ever spoke more neatly, more (com)pressedly, more weightily, or suffered less emptiness, less idleness in what he uttered.

It was his motto that one lived best by the hidden life—bene vixit qui bene latuit.

My praise shall be dedicate to the mind itself. The mind is the man, and knowledge mind; a man is but what he knoweth . . . . Are not the pleasures of the affections greater than the pleasures of the senses, and are not the pleasures of the intellect greater than the pleasures of the affections? Is not that only a true and natural pleasure whereof there is no satiety? Is not that knowledge alone that doth clear the mind of all perturbations? How many things be there which we imagine are not? How many things do we esteem and value more than they are? These vain imaginations, these ill-proportioned estimations, these be the clouds of error that turn into the storms of perturbations. Is there then any such happiness as for a man’s mind to be raised above the confusion of things, where he may have a respect of the order of nature and the error of men?

“Some books are to be tasted,” reads a famous passage, “others to be swallowed, and some to be chewed and digested”;

Bacon

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