Home » Society: Norms & Expectations » The Not So Common Sense Of Common Sense

The Not So Common Sense Of Common Sense


Above pic from: impact-pt.com

Above pic from: impact-pt.com

Phew!!!!

Have you recovered from that long winded title?????

Yes? Good, well then I shall explain myself or rather my point a little further.

This loosely and often applied term ‘common sense’ is linked with and to a multitude of people, things and situations.

Get something wrong – you have no common sense,
Drive in the wrong lane – you have no common sense,
Brush your teeth before breakfast – you have no common sense,
Drink whiskey on an empty stomach – you have no common sense,
Be the Government to create a penny pinching policy – well, those idiots have no common sense!

So why is it then that this ‘sense’, which is apparently lacking in abundance, is extremely important, and so valued????

Why is it that everyone feels it is their given right to point out the deficit of such ‘sense’ on a near daily basis???

Who has the legitimate authority to even point out that is it lacking????

Where is the rule book of ‘common sense’ and who wrote it?

How can we even really define or rate ‘common sense’ to then know when it is missing from a person, thing or situation???

Yet, we do define and rate it, and are quite quick and apt at then point this missing element out to those and that which are responsible for lapsing in applying it.

Strange isn’t it?????????????????????

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13 thoughts on “The Not So Common Sense Of Common Sense

  1. Common sense refers to common knowledge. If it is common knowledge that a government is broke and borrowing money, as it is with the US, (and it is common knowledge), and the government is giving away money that it does not have, it is safe to say that those running the government and making the decisions have no common sense. My mother use to tell people that I did not use common sense when doing this or that. She was right. My mind was always on higher things. I had to learn to focus on the task at hand and use the common knowledge available to me. I like to think I use common sense these days. At least I have sense enough not to collect Girl Scout dues, then turn around and give all of those dues to someone who asks for a handout, knowing that the money was not mine to give.

    • Hi, thanks for your response Barbara. Yes it does refer to a common knowledge. I was just wondering who instigated this common knowledge, and who has a right to enforce it or criticise others for failing to meet the standards of this common knowledge. I wondered if it is subject to change depending on country and community. I wondered who really had the full grasp of this common knowledge to really fully apply it, and then maybe judge others as falling short. There are so many incidences of common sense being sighted as failing, I wondered if common sense was really the guiding force on how we go about living our lives – or was there more.
      It is such a fascinating topic, and one that seems to have endless answers!!!

  2. It’s very strange to be honest. I think it is funny too, often times people design things around what they think is common sense but invariably there was always someone showing up lacking.

    Had a boss once say you can never make something idiot proof, because a bigger idiot will always come along. 😆

    But I’m getting sidetracked. Common sense isn’t really all that common and things we think people should have basic understanding about often they don’t and it could very well be that we are wrong in what we think is common sense.

    I sure know that I have deployed more than my fair share of uncommon sense, lol.

    • Haha, me too – I often lack this mysterious ‘sense’ too. I agree with your points here, you have ‘hit the nail’ on the head!! I have always wondered who really knows what it is, and who is anyone to say who has it! Its something we have just started saying I think, another put down maybe?!
      Thanks again Greenembers!!

  3. actually, brushing your teeth before breakfast has little to do with a lack of common sense. I just had breakfast, and I brushed my teeth just after, but I usually don’t eat breakfast until after I leave the house, and I don’t take my tooth brush to work; thus, brushing my teeth before breakfast makes perfect sense.

    Common sense refers to an implicit understanding of the subject at hand, so when someone does something that is so obviously wrong, we fail to explicitly describe the nature of the failure. Good thing we can just say common sense! Well, if we did explicitly go into some of those things, we would find that not all , or perhaps very little, of our common sense is actually right.

    • Hi, thanks for your comment, and input on this.
      Just wanted to mention that the examples I have added in this post are random ones. They are things people may generally say is a sign someone is lacking common sense, whether common sense has anything to do with it or not!
      I just pondered over the existence of the common sense rule book. Where does it come from? Where are these rules, and regs printed; what universally constitutes as common sense? What counts as a ‘failure’ to be committed against common sense!
      It seems people state ‘no common sense’ so regularly, yet, where is the real proof? Is one persons common sense the same as everyone else’s?!
      Anyway, back to your comment – yes in your case brushing your teeth after is ‘common sense’ – for sure.
      I am curious of your final statement though; we would find very little or or nothing of what we presume to be C.S as actually C.S – Interesting. I often wondered if it was ‘common sense’ at all.
      Thanks again, Bex 🙂

      • the point, exactly, is, that everybody has common sense – it is passed on to us as part of our culture, and it developes as does culture, as well, which means, it always lags behind science. Common sense could also be called intuition, but there are hell of a lot of counterintuitive things in the world, and since intuition comes with experience, there are fields where our intuition fails, while there are still many people around who do have the experience, and the specialied intuition.

        Roman proverb (really, really old): Errare Humanum est

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