SOMETIMES COMMON SENSE IS NOT ALWAYS “COMMON.”
A few days ago I found myself in a short of discussion about common sense; at the end of the day I found my mind convincing the heart that common sense is not common after all. Is it common sense that the heart should convince the mind or vice versa? That is a whole topic of its own for another day. What is common sense first? There are many definitions but I choose one which I believe is the best and we will use that one for this writing. My dictionary defines it as, “ordinary sensible understanding; one’s basic intelligence which allows for plain understanding and without which good decisions or judgments cannot be made.” To begin with, let us ask ourselves a few questions. Why is it that the educated drive cars while drunk? Whenever you walk in town you cannot miss a well dressed person, perhaps in a suit, throwing refuse anywhere even when they are standing next to dust bin. Why is it that the elites in society are the ones steering tribalism, racism or even corruption?
You might have answers to the questions above or you might not, but I hope you have asked yourself at least one question. The questions may vary; however, let us explore three of them for now.
Is there anything like superior or inferior common sense?
My answer for the question is NO, common sense is common sense. Our ability to make ordinary sensible judgments is what varies from person to person. The variations arise because of differences in psychological maturity, parenting habits and the way societies from which we hail have molded us in terms of character. Where we come from also dictates our responses to such situations that might require quick “right” judgments. The whole world might be against early child marriages, that requires common sense to know, but for some uncivilized people living in a forest and who know nothing about education; it is absolutely acceptable to marry a thirteen year old girl. What is different perhaps could not be education or civilization; rather it could be the standards of our understanding about the age upon which a girl should be considered mature and ready for marriage.
Does common sense improve with increasing our levels of education?
The answer to this question is two way. Common sense as you realize by now is attached to the judgments we make, decision making in short. For a just society, educated people are supposed to make good decisions since the basic idea of education is imparting knowledge, skill and judgment. This might not be the case always because some people increase their education to satisfy their ego or satisfy someone’s desire. Other people increase in education to get the certificated for other purposes, this means that they carry along their local and vague mechanisms of decision making and hence nothing better is expected of them even after increasing their knowledge. For those who learn and increase their levels of education and go on to achieve the objectives of the learning do improve their common sense.
I will answer this question with conviction that yes it is. Our everyday life is full of challenges that need quick decision making strategies. We need common sense for us to have sound judgments. Once you understand what to do at specific times using the right senses and instruments and doing it in the right manner, it becomes easier to cope up with life’s challenges. With proper use of common sense, we could have fewer evils in society, less corruption, less problems in running governments, less poverty, less injustice and less of every society’s vices.
Finally, having more education, more wealthy or even more power does not mean having an automatic common sense. For if that could be the case, the wealthy or the educated or the powerful in society could not be driving while drunk, they could not engage in corrupt acts or propagate injustices on the less fortunate. The less fortunate sometimes have more common sense than the elites. Finally carry along the rule of living, “ALWAYS USE COMMON SENSE.”
Copyright@2015 Geoffrey Ndege