No, this article isn’t about Thomas Paine

What is common sense and do you really have any?

I’ve heard this a lot. “just use your common sense”. But really, how common is common sense. And how is it that some of us have it and others of us just, well, don’t have it? Hell, what does “common sense” even really mean?

Lets try to define it. A quick define: common sense in google reveals

“good sense and sound judgment in practical matters.”

Ok so… just ignoring “good sense” seems closely related to common sense (right?) and lets just say practical matters is “life” for arguments sake. How does one obtain sound judgement? Here are my thoughts on the matter.

Sound judgement comes from education and experience. Mostly experiences in a given matter. You can make better judgement calls if you’ve gone through similar situations. So if we’ve all had similar experiences doing something, then we should have the same “common sense”. This is where the amazingness of common sense breaks down for me. Every life is unique and different. There are common threads that many people have, yes but in most things experiences will be different. That means to me that common sense is learned though a diversity of experiences that allow you to relate to others and your own life, giving you the edge for proper judgement when interacting in the world, thus giving you common sense.

What I’m saying is common sense doesn’t come from this deeply innate ability to relate to others but rather how many experiences you’ve gone through and how you’ve related those experiences to your current life. It’s something that has value if you use it to relate, understand and work with people but common sense is kind of like potential, nothing more. If not used (for those who have learned it) it means nothing.

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