Is Sense Common?

Tuesday 2010.04.20

Common sense. It’s a phrase that gets a lot of use. You hear it often, you read it often, you probably use it yourself now and then. I don’t use it very often myself. The reason for that is pretty simple.

I really don’t think sense is all that common.

If you read the last couple of posts here, my first real input since deciding to make an online journal here using the WordPress blog site, you might have already noticed a bit of a theme. As things go along, time passes, events occur, and I observe the world and the humans around the world and around me in daily life, I wonder, constantly. Has the entire human race gone completely fucking nuts?

That is overstating the case just a bit. I don’t think the entire human race has gone bonkers. Just quite a few of us. There are, based on my own observations, many sensible, conscious, reasonably informed, thinking, conscientious people around. The problem seems to me to be just that people fitting that description are becoming more of a minority than the norm.

Pick anything. Some minor trivial petty simple thing happening around you, some serious situation, larger scale events and situations and trends on a general public level, just about anything.

Common sense is not very common. It’s a misnomer.

There are definitely people with sense and awareness and general intelligence. Consciousness. A quality that is sometimes described as having a working bullshit detector. A sense of what’s real, and what’s more or less important. It’s something to value and appreciate when you find it.

I would say that sense is not very common, it seems to be an exception, almost an anomaly, lately.

I think the main problem with the term is the “common” part. Individual people as individuals is one concept to consider; lumping them together and encouraging herd mentality is a much different thing. That’s where the problems start. A group of people where the smarter and better informed can bring some light and clues to the others is a good thing. Ideally, it’s the best way to learn and bring everybody up a level. Not so good, when it all sinks to meet the lowest common denominator of the dumbest clod of the herd. Somebody who just sees themselves as agreeable, just wanting to “fit in”, will smile and happily go along with clueless idiocy that, on their own, they would very possibly see and regard as clueless idiocy, removed from any influence of what anybody else said. There lies the problem with “common” sense. It’s fine when sensible, thinking, consciencious people serve as a reality check for each other and inform each other with actual real facts and understanding. Load the crowd up with enough cretins to tilt the predominant critical mass of the group to “dumbass”, and it goes sour quickly.

This is where you get mobs.

This is where you get large scale mass delusion.

When you raise subjects like, for example, the general topic of our situation regarding oil consumption and resources, and people don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t want to know what you’re talking about, might even reflexively start babbling fictional nonsense about what the situation supposedly really is, but then you might find they know all about every detail of what’s happening on “American Idol”, we may have a problem.

When you hear, or read about, somebody speaking, they’re talking about “common sense”, and everything else they say is nonsense, what then?

This is a question to ponder, but the immediate thought and reaction for me is, it might be better to ignore proclamations of “common sense” and focus more on whether or not the speaker at hand is actually making sense.

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