France is bacon


Lucas A. Meyer


June 26, 2022

Although it’s hard to know whether it’s real or not, that’s one of my favorite stories ever. Similar to a classic Greek tragedy, real or not, it shows a core truth about reality.

The story goes:

“When I was young my father said to me: ‘Knowledge is Power… Francis Bacon’

I understood it as ‘Knowledge is power, France is Bacon’.

For more than a decade I wondered over the meaning of the second part, and what was the surreal linkage between the two? If I said the quote to someone, ‘Knowledge is power, France is Bacon’ they nodded knowingly. Or someone might say, ‘Knowledge is power’ and I’d finish the quote ‘France is Bacon’ and they wouldn’t look at me like I’d said something very odd but thoughtfully agree. I did ask a teacher what did ‘Knowledge is power, France is bacon’ mean and got a full 10-minute explanation of the Knowledge is power bit but nothing on ‘France is bacon’. When I prompted further explanation by saying ‘France is Bacon?’ in a questioning tone I just got a ‘yes’. At 12 I didn’t have the confidence to press it further. I just accepted it as something I’d never understand.

It wasn’t until years later I saw it written down that the penny dropped.”

I can’t imagine the number of things that I think I understand, but that are like “France is Bacon”.