Why Is Common Sense Not So Common?
Common Sense is defined as the “…basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things, which is shared by (“common to”) nearly all people and can reasonably be expected of nearly all people without any need for debate.” wikipedia
I often hear people comment on the lack of common sense in society. I can relate to the sentiment that common sense doesn’t seem to be very common. If we look at what is implied by its title “Common Sense” and read its definition, it must have been wide spread through out society and readily used at some point in the past.
One evening I was sitting at a red light, with not a single other car in sight, obeying the rules and waiting for it to turn green. I came to a sort of a realization.
I often contemplated the reason for the seeming sparsity of this thing we call common sense. What factors could have contributed to its disappearance or end of use?
After reading Weston A. Price’s book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”, I eventually came to a conclusion that the physical degeneration of brains in people may be a contributing factor. If you haven’t read the book, a basic summary is a theory that humans are degenerating physically due to lack of necessary nutrients needed to maintain the prototypical human body, due to modern food practices. So I thought perhaps brains that are no longer of the physical capacity they once were, may not be able to reason as proficiently. This along with an increase in environmental influences of damage in the form of human made pollutants/toxins, I thought could at least be a possible contributing factor. I still think this holds some validity, but that is a big topic for another post.
As I sat there waiting at the red light, wondering why I couldn’t just go through the intersection even though it was obviously safe to do so, I realized that common sense at times is even against the law. That red light was a great example.
How often do you stop at a red light at a dead intersection where it is completely safe to drive through? Depending on the area and time of day, it is a regular occurrence to sit at an intersection while the ability to determine that it is safe to cross by anyone deemed capable of operating a motor vehicle is possible.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against traffic signals, and believe they can be useful in creating a safe and efficient traffic system. But the red light does not determine if it is safe to enter the intersection, it only acts as an informing signal to the drivers as to who has the right of way. The safety of entering the intersection always relies on the motor vehicle operator. These days I see too many accidents as a result of the driver relying on the traffic signal to tell them its safe. This I believe is a result of the conditioning I will continue to explain.
When someone drives up to a red light and stops, if they are able to determine that it is safe to go through we currently have a contradiction between common sense and law. The law says that you must wait, regardless of if its safe to go through or not. Common sense says once you have determined it is safe to go, there is no problem to do so. If we use our common sense and drive through the red light when its safe to do so and receive a ticket, we are now being trained to disregard our common sense. How does the lesson we receive of negative reinforcement alter our ability to expand, trust and rely on our common sense?
This is only one small example, I’m sure there are plenty we could come up with. Perhaps this is contributing factor to the continuous decline in the use of common sense. Something to ponder, what do you think? Leave comments below.