Friday, May 29, 2015

On Common Sense

When I was 12, just having immigrated to America, I was spending some time in a summer camp; and the camp leader told the children to use common sense. I asked, “What is common sense?” That resulted in a chorus of laughter.

However the question here is legitimate. Really, what is common sense? If there is such a thing as common sense, then it by definition will be common to everyone. And if some people have it and others don't, then it can't be called common sense.

As someone who's been accused all his life of lacking common sense, I have decided upon a different route. I decided upon the path of actual knowledge. I bothered to educate myself about such matters as world history and religions. And what I found is that the reason for things is not common sense but choices that people make, which can take history into any direction and at any given time.

There is no such thing as historical inevitability, as many Marxists proclaim. And people are neither good nor evil, but capable of both. What I found again and again is that the root mechanism for just about everything is choice. And this can go into any number of directions, from as bad as Medieval England to as great as the San Francisco of today.

With psychology, I had a love-hate relationship. I like some things that come out of psychology and dislike others. I have minimal use for Freud, Peck and Maslow and absolutely none for Adler and Skinner. I have respect for Jung and still more for Rollo May, Carl Rogers, Fromm and RD Laing.

So again, what is common sense? Your guess is as good as mine; and there is the problem. If it really is common sense, then it would be common to everyone. If some people have it and others don't, then it cannot be called common sense. And it is only when it is defined rightly that it can be a positive force in the affairs of the world.


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