— 400 —
Observable in different Sects.       §18. Some such wrong and unnatural Combinations of Ideas
will be found to establish the Irreconcilable opposition between
different Sects of Philosophy and Religion; for we cannot imagine
every one of their Followers to impose wilfully on himself, and
knowingly refuse Truth offer’d by plain Reason. Interest, though it
does a great deal in the case, yet cannot be thought to work whole
Societies of Men to so universal a Perverseness, as that every one
of them to a Man should knowingly maintain Falshood: Some at
least must be allow’d to do what all pretend to, i.e. to pursue Truth
sincerely; and therefore there must be something that blinds their
Understandings, and makes them not see the falshood of what
they embrace for real Truth. That which thus captivates their
Reasons, and leads Men of Sincerity blindfold from common Sence,
will, when examin’d, be found to be what we are speaking of: some
independent Ideas, of no alliance to one another, are by Education,
Custom, and the constant din of their Party, so coupled in their
Minds, that they always appear there together, and they can no
more separate them in their Thoughts, than if they were but one
— 401 —
Idea, and they operate as if they were so. This gives Sence to
Jargon, Demonstration to Absurdities, and Consistency to Non-
sense, and is the foundation of the greatest, I had almost said, of all
the Errors in the World; or if it does not reach so far, it is at least the
most dangerous one, since so far as it obtains, it hinders Men from
seeing and examining. When two things in themselves disjoin’d,
appear to the sight constantly united; if the Eye sees these things
rivetted which are loose, where will you begin to rectify the mis-
takes that follow in two Ideas, that they have been accustom’d so to
join in their Minds, as to substitute one for the other, and, as I am
apt to think, often without perceiving it themselves? This, whilst
they are under the deceit of it, makes them uncapable of Con-
viction, and they applaud themselves as zealous Champions for
Truth, when indeed they are contending for Error; and the con-
fusion of two different Ideas, which a customary connexion of them
in their Minds hath to them made in effect but one, fills their Heads
with false Views, and their Reasonings with false Consequences.
Locke Hum II, 33, §18, pp. 400-401