Monday, October 1, 2012

The REAL Reason Common Sense Is Not So Common

Dictionary defines common sense as:
sound or prudent judgement based on a simple perception of the situation or facts

I started this post with the definition of common sense intentionally. To level set before I make the case that common sense is not dying or somehow slipping away from us. Almost every day, I see, hear or read something referring to the "fact" that we've lost common sense in today's society; that somehow common sense was here before and has gotten up and left us.

Until recently, you may have heard that mistaken perception come out of my own mouth. It seems with age, wisdom and experiences comes also the mistaken thought pattern that what is happening around us today is worse that what it was before and so today's people have somehow have lost what people before us surely had, common sense. Further, we all perceive ourselves as having common sense while those around us all seem to be floundering without it.

I'm here to tell you that there is nothing common about common sense. Each of us has our own interpretation of what common sense is to us based on our unique life experiences and information. Roaming the planet the last almost 41 years and especially being coupled the last 12 of them has convinced me that this is the number one breakdown within relationships between humans. The idea that those around us have to see and perceive things as we do or they are less wise, less able and therefore lack common sense.

That line of thinking is short sighted and more importantly - it is flat out wrong.

The definition really gives it all away - the little phrase "simple perception," kills the notion that common sense actually exists as we often define it.

What is wacky to you may be perfectly normal to me.
What is offensive to me may be perfectly appropriate to you.
What is fact to you may not be fact to me - simply because our life experiences dictate otherwise.

Clearly, there are some areas that are not so fuzzy but I won't even list them here because it is likely there will be some that disagree with my list. That is the beauty and the curse of this notion of common sense.

There are as many variations of common sense on the planet as there are variations of humans. So the next time you want to accuse someone of not using common sense, think about this post and how what they are using what may be common sense to them.

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