Common sense … Today has been one of those days. I had a reflection all set to post, but instead, I scraped that one to resurrect a previous post.
It hasn’t been a “bad” day, just a day when it seems that everyone I have come into contact with has irked me for some reason. Yes, I know that is my issue and not there’s; and I did put on my favorite music to relax and re-center myself. But what I have realized is that as a society we seem to be losing our common sense.
I am re-posting a reflection I wrote last November on common sense.
November 2014: Common sense … I often talk to my university classes about common sense being so common that we don’t even think about it! What is common sense? How does one know if they have common sense if it is so common?
A few days ago we were out shopping and I saw this recall notice posted at a Michaels store and I asked my youngest daughter to take a picture of it. Spend a moment truly reading the words and understanding what item they are recalling and why.
I feel we are losing a sense of common sense! The New World Encyclopedia defines common sense as: “…what people in common would agree on; that which they intuit (“sense”) as their common natural understanding. The term is also used to refer to beliefs or propositions that, in the user’s opinion, would in most people’s experience be prudent and of sound judgment, without dependence upon esoteric knowledge, study, or research, but based upon knowledge believed, by the person using the term, to be held by people ‘in common.‘”
Common sense, in my understanding, is describing a person’s sense of personal responsibility. We all make decisions about our actions, and we all need to cope with the consequences of those actions. Yet, in our society, many people have taken to shifting the consequences, and thereby the responsibility, of their actions to others. An example is this recall notice. A person misused an item, was hurt, and now the item, without a malfunction, needs to be returned. If I were using that item as it was meant to be used, there would be no safety issue. Yet I am told to send it back to the store, for when I decide to sit on it and then blame the store for not telling me not to sit on a table.
Personally I feel offended when society determines I lack common sense. Take for instance my daily coffee; the cup tells me that the contents may be hot. Really? Ordering hot coffee actually means the contents of my cup may be hot? I certainly hope it’s hot. And if I spill that cup I do assume I will feel pain and take responsibility for the spill. Unfortunately, had my cup not stated this warning someone who spilled it’s contents would appear to be surprised that hot coffee burns the skin.
I recognize my sarcasm, but I fear that society is not only taking away common sense, but also personal responsibility. We are also teaching people that they don’t have to think. A society which loses its ability to think critically will slowly devolve, and I believe we are already seeing some of the effects of this de-evolution.
What can we do to keep up attention to common sense? Here are my thoughts:
- Before making a decision, stop, breathe, consider both the positive and negative consequences of your action.
If you are making a major life decision, not just buying coffee or where to sit, take time to speak with close friends and family.
Prepare yourself ahead of time to cope with any possible negative consequences as a result of your decision.
If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If you aren’t sure, say out loud what it is you wish to do and see how it sounds to you.
If you end up doing something without first using common sense, laugh about it, blog about it, but don’t make everyone else give back their tables because of it.
… continue the conversation here or on social media …