Every day, I am beleaguered by the unrelenting hordes who spew the phrase ‘common sense’ at me. Indeed, I may with considerably confidence claim that most aficionados of this phrase even do so unwittingly.

For once and for all: what you ‘sense’ is the result of what you perceive, i.e. the chemical strings which your brain so generously bestows upon you. It necessarily follows that your ‘sense’ is individual. It is not ‘common’ in that I, too, would undergo this same neurological process. It is sense, not common sense.

It is my firm conviction that no sense can ever be so collective as to merit the denomation ‘common’.

Exempli gratia: the desire to live long has oftentimes been regarded as what common sense would have us all possess, and we hence ought to do all that lies within our might to attain this very apex of human striving. For the markets of this world are perpetuously flooded with a plethora of manners in which to prolong our existence. If you, contrarily, endeavour to find a way to live a short life, you will indubitably be met with looks of a wryness thus inexpressibly gargantuan that you yourself will wince at its further pursuit!

Yet, is this a logical necessity? Does the desire to live long spring from a statistical induction amongst a representational peer group? I argue that it is not, and that this spurious notion was instilled into our conscience by way of self-fulfilling prophecy. One merely has to wonder why the ailments of dotage seem so horrendous to the Westerner, in contradistinction to the stoical phlegm with which ageing is met by such indingenous peoples as needs must rely upon nature’s bare benevolence. Living long is not advantageous, neither to the planet nor to society; the misbegotten idea that it might be appears much more to stem from the prospect of an expanded market for the farmaceutical industry than that it could be the consequence of a collective conviction, inexorably formed out of biological parameters.


‘Living long is good’ is a sense. Do not call it a common one.

For I tell ye: no sense can ever be common.

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Comment by Tom Pandelaere on February 13, 2010 at 12:23pm
Thank you for your ‘collective’ insights. However, I find it doubtful that shortening one’s life "gives humanity, society and yourself only negative ramifications". I think it would be advantageous to the global eco-system if people lived a shorter life than they do. Of course, I glean something of an intuitive hunch of what you mean by your definition of ‘common sense’, yet, in purely objective terms, what you describe is hard to pin down. I think you are rephrasing the general conceptions which (some) people have about what life ought to look like. That is exactly what constitutes the major flaw of the notion. Methinks I can well imagine people who like getting burnt and to whom "don't touch a hot stove" would therefore seem like the very opposite of common sense.
Comment by Rusty Gunn. on February 12, 2010 at 7:15pm
My standard reply, "What passes for common sense these days has a lot more to do with what's common than with what makes sense."
Comment by ignutz oofmeyer on February 12, 2010 at 1:51pm
All flowery verbiage aside, you miss the point. Common sense=obvious action/reaction situations. True common sense means "don't touch a hot stove." You totally miss the point on wanting to live a long life. We all have a finite period of existence. To wish to shorten this gives humanity, society and yourself only negative ramifications. You obviously have no "common sense" because one doesn't need to endeavor to live a short life. That is easily achieved by not taking care to live the already limited life you have recklessly. I tell ye:common sense means don't do stupid crap- like claim dying young is somehow better than living your life as long and as well as you can.
Comment by ryan cameron on February 12, 2010 at 1:14pm


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