The Lost Art of Common Sense

An obituary

Common Sense was born into an illustrious family, as a love-child of Educated Intelligence and Logical Thinking, and started dying sometime around when people began to rationalise bigotry, racism, nationalism, bipartisan politics, false patriotism, overdrawn political correctness, hero worship of war criminals, and mindless consumption, among others.

Common Sense suffered a long and painful death, spanning over several years, or even decades. While any of the common causes of its perishing could have easily replaced it, the last blow — which delivered the coup de grâce to Common Sense — has successfully taken its place in people’s minds. This happened when people, regardless of their backgrounds (be it bigot nationalism, or overly political liberalism, racism, or the belief that peace prizes and bombing of foreign countries go well together), have found a common ground, one that they could all agree upon: It was denial. Denial did not only kill common sense, but replaced it, and took its former place in our culture.

Common Sense had played a crucial role in human history, sometimes more significant, while at others dimmed and marginalised, yet few know about the art of Common Sense, traceable throughout its long and eventful life. Unfortunately, with its death all remaining traces of this art was lost. All that we have left today are empty frames and titles, often only references, of what might have been the subject of a given piece, with the titles themselves degraded to being empty phrases.

The following short gallery is an attempt to give the reader an overview of the little that remains, to form an idea of what had been lost, most of which we might find difficult to imagine today. The gallery is far from complete, but the few select pieces presented here might help the future generations imagine what common sense once must have felt like.

The Lost Gallery

Two men arguing with mutual respect, listening to the other’s opinion, and basing their statements and arguments on facts

(Watercolour) Damaged and destroyed throughout various political campaigns across the Globe

People, in the act of using only as much resources as they need to live comfortably; while avoiding hoarding, and being conscious of their environment

(Oil on canvas) First damages occurred in the early days of civilisation, when a select few began amassing wealth within societies. Lost forever at the dawn of consumer culture. The release of the first over-hyped fruit-flavoured smartphone almost wiped the memory of this piece from the common consciousness of humanity, only a few mentions remain.

People appreciating facts

(Watercolour) The first signs of damage appeared when the Internet became widespread. It had been lost forever when Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, and started America’s greatest war in history: The war on facts.

People in the act of not falling for the revised rhetoric of their oppressors (current or former)

(Smoke and mirrors) This piece had never been finished, and had been lost forever when the hero-worship of former high-ranking KGB officer Vladimir Putin became wide-spread, as an inadequate answer to hypocritical US foreign policy, and warmongering.

People understanding the difference between those who act on behalf of peace, and those who wage wars in the name of peace

(Oil on canvas. Also in barrels.) First signs of damage appeared when the rhetoric of “patriotic wars”, and “defending one’s country” were used in a US intervention abroad. Began to crumble when former president Barack Obama, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate had given his first order to use lethal force abroad, killing innocents. It was lost forever when hero worship of the former president became wide-spread, due to his superb PR.

People in the act of using their religion, and beliefs to create better communities, help the poor, and find happiness in life

(Watercolour) This piece was never finished. Common Sense started working on it many times in history, but eventually always failed. The canvas was painted over and over, with each new attempt to create this piece. It has been rumoured that there was a semi-final version, which Common Sense thought would be closest to what it imagined to be the finished work, but unfortunately we will never be able to see it, as it had eventually disappeared with the new renaissance of bigotry, creationism, and religious fundamentalism worldwide.

People refusing to rationalise one nation’s “right” to oppress others, based on the history on their own oppression

(Mixed media) Common Sense had no chance to even start this piece, and had finally given up ever trying, when the political elite of the then-newly-formed Israel, the children of the victims of holocaust, decided to start a military offensive against their neighbouring countries, and the rest of the world remained silent. Common Sense contemplated starting to work on it later, but had finally abandoned the idea, when Israel’s apartheid regime had become widely accepted in the UN. Until the rationalisation of the Israeli apartheid continues, and the perpetrators hide behind he suffering of their parents and grandparents, there is no hope to call this piece even lost, it simply remains non-existent.

People not using their “spiritualism” to tout their own superiority, or “otherness”

(Watercolour) The first sign of damage appeared when “new age” spiritualism began to gain popularity. With the populist misuse of the term “mindfulness”, and when profit-minded businessmen began to describe themselves as “Buddhists”, this piece was forever lost.

People appreciating a joke without having an idea to be offended by humour

(Watercolour) First signs of damage appeared, when the term “political correctness” was coined. Finally disappeared when so called “social justice warriors” (an aggressive caste of the ultra-entitled) hijacked the term, and bastardised it beyond recognition.

Is it hopeless?

We can only imagine today, what it must have been like to live in an era, when the art of Common Sense was still common, and the above titles made sense. We will probably never know, but those few, who long for these long-lost times, might find refuge in contemplating the little that remains today, and never give up hope of eventually finding evidence of their existence.

All images used are available on the public domain (CC0)