November 4th already and today is...
Use Your Common Sense day
Wouldn’t it be great if you could take a tablet to improve your common sense? Even better, wouldn’t it be good to push them down the throats all those other idiots who don’t have any at all? If we could take a common sense pill then it might just stop us from getting into those shitty messes we sometimes end up in.
Today is ‘Use Your Common Sense Day’. Of course I am choc full of common sense; but then isn’t everyone? We may all think that we have a lot of it, even without the pills, but as Voltaire once said “Common sense is not so common.” So just where is my common sense, where’s yours, and what is it come to that?
Albert Einstein was a genius, far cleverer than most of us. But he made two holes in his cat cage - one big hole and the other small - so that his two cats, one big and other very small (a mother and a young kitten), could come out of those two respective holes. Did Einstein, the genius, lack common sense? From that tale it would appear that he did. Perhaps common sense has no correlation with intelligence, and maybe that’s why common sense is looked upon by many as a very mysterious gift.
How often have you been told to ‘use your common sense’, or heard somebody say ‘he’s very clever but has no common sense at all’? Just what is this common sense thing? Is it real, or is it based upon perception at the time of perceiving?
For a long time it was obvious to people that the world was flat. You could see the horizon in the distance and common sense told the sailors of the time not to get too close to it or they would fall off the edge of the world. Similarly the moon in the sky must have been made, as the Egyptians thought, from papyrus. Common sense decreed that nothing heavy could hold up in the sky without falling, so common sense told them it was papyrus held in place by a celestial wind.
Of course practitioners of common sense believe that they have a much better grip of things than the statisticians who build spreadsheets to prove common sense wrong. I spent half a lifetime listening to people arguing against what I was sure was common sense and knowing that I would lose the argument; and that they would then fail. Satisfyingly they usually did, underlining the premise that someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world and that if I had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved (and never will achieve) its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.’
It seems that common sense isn’t just uncommon; it’s very hard to tie down. It’s probably common sense to say that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity and that you don’t need to worry about what people think, they don't do it very often. But common sense also tells you that a person who’s nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person at all. But sometimes we simply don’t see it and those nasty bastards still remain our friends.
Yes, common sense is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognise a mistake when you make it again, that there’s a very fine line between ‘a blogging hobby’ and ‘mental illness’, to never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that exact moment, and (going back to common sense pills) never take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night before going to bed, no matter what the circumstances are.
Yes, keeping out of the shit is really just a matter of common sense.