Thursday, January 22, 2009

A little bit of COMMON SENSE

I did a google search for the definition of this word, actually not a word, this phrase. I wanted to get a better grasp on it. defines it as:

n. Sound judgment not based on specialized knowledge; native good judgment.
According to Aristotle, common sense provides the place in which the senses come together, and which processes sense-data and makes the results available to consciousness. Thus the modern psychological term "perception" fulfills the same function. Individuals could have different common senses depending on how their personal and social experience has taught them to categorize sensation. A famous quote from Voltaire states "Le sens commun est fort rare" The better known variant of this quote is "Common sense is not so common".

THAT is where my experience starts. I have recently realized that I live in a home, surrounded by people who do not have any of this "native good judgment". How does this happen? How is it that a human being can grow to adulthood without even an ounce of common sense? Not that I am saying these people are dumb or unintelligent. It's not that at all. I have become very fond of the phrase "it's not rocket science" but the truth is, if it were rocket science then maybe they would have half a chance to understand it. Reality is, common sense is not rocket science and rocket science is not common sense.

Okay, here is an example. Without using any names I will call them example 1 (or E1) and example 2 (E2). E1 is a mature married woman who never finished high school, married young and spent most of her life as a stay at home mother raising her children or working as a waitress. She is not scholarly but she has an enormous amount of common sense and there is nothing she does not know how to do or can't figure out. She has shown me that common sense is not something that you find in a book or get from a lecture. It's something that you are given when you are born. Then there is E2. E2 is a college graduate who spent most of her life working in the capacity of an educator. She is very smart, a very worthy opponent at Trivial Pursuit. Despite all of her education and experience she is distinctly lacking in common sense.

Do you have to be blessed with one or the other or is there a happy medium? I would like to think that I have a bit of both. I have also discovered that my husband and my son definitely lack "the sense God gave a jackass" as the saying goes. The really sad thing is that neither one realizes their total lack of common sense. They are blissfully unaware of their short comings. On the other hand, I am painfully aware of them. I am aware of them as I clean egg shells and potato peels out of the clogged garbage disposal, as I unload a dishwasher that has 10 dishes in it while the sink still contains dishes, as I find garbage sitting on the counter ABOVE the garbage can instead of IN it, as I find wet clothing that has been removed from the washing machine and left in a laundry basket instead of placing them into the dryer, as I find deep gouges in the kitchen counter where a knife was used to cut a piece of meat without the aid of a cutting board which resides no more than 2 feet from the knife drawer.

Now what I wonder it too late for them to develop it?

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