“Common sense is not common!” I am pretty sure you hear those words, if not more than once in a day’s conversations.
Why do we say those words? I mean what really makes common sense uncommon? Have you ever thought about that? Or is it some fella trying to make the rest of us appear stupid?
And what really is common sense anyway?
According to Merriam Webster dictionary, common sense is defined as a; “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts” or “the ability to think and behave in a reasonable way and to make good decisions.”
Did you notice the “…based on a simple perception of the situation or facts” part? I hope you did.
“Common sense is variously described by psychologists as a form of practical “decision-making” as well as the “ability to imagine the consequences of an action”” says Jess Staufenberg.
Enough of the definitions.
Let’s discuss this using our common sense too!!
Personally, i believe common sense is only what is common to an individual. It is common because it is being used by you. Now, the mistake we make is thinking that everyone else would behave exactly like we did given the similar circumstances (this is naivety bro!!) and it’s the reason we tend to use the words “common sense is really not a common thing” quite too often.
If we recall our first definition above from the Merriam Webster’s dictionary, we would see that it talks about perception of facts. And if we are candid about this, we would agree that perception is relative. How you see, and the way i view things may be totally different. And that’s what perception is about, right?
To a very great extent, my perception of facts on issues will be based on my experiences or lack of it, beliefs or faith, the environment where i had lived over the years and even by my family background. See? And for all we know, you and i are not identical twins and even if we were, we do not really share our minds and brains to reason alike, or do we? (maybe the psychologists could help us with that).
So can you see why common sense may not be really common? Imagine that i was a married Muslim wife whose husband was just about to marry another wife added to me as the first? My common sense knows that based on my faith, that it’s okay as long as he continues to also render his husbandry duties to me his first wife.
Now, imagine the same scenario with a the Christian wife, how do you think she would feel, and what do you think she would want to do given the “common sense of her faith” in this similar issue? Won’t this be adulterous to her? Won’t she view her groom as unfaithful? I hope you can see how our faith, background and other factors can affect how we see common sense?
To judge someone as stupid and without common sense, we should first of all have at least empathize with their educational level, exposure, knowledge of the issue concerned, age and even the experiences or lack of it on the matter.
I know we are always prompt to judge, being the humans that we are. But if we apply more common sense to the issues of the people we so quickly want to crucify; because we think they lack this common sense thing, maybe we could also sympathize with how their life stories relate.
How then do we improve on our common sense? (Improve, because everyone one of us was born with some sense..)
To develop your common sense: learn from your experiences (it’s really foolish to make same mistakes repeatedly), be open minded to learning from anyone and with anything (this will amaze you on how much you can learn from the basest of matters), travel or at least be acculturated to some extent as long as it doesn’t change the fundamental part of who you are; read madly, and most importantly, question everything.
What questioning does to your mind is to liberate you from the status quo mentality especially as regards reasoning. And that is one key way to develop common sense. I think it’s base to just accept everything someone tells you hook, line and sinker, no matter who this person may be. You are an individual that deserves to use your brain and mind to also make your informed decisions. Use it.
And also use it now to question what i have just written here!!!
I hope i have added to your common sense?
#beyou, it’s your best gift to us.