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common sense isn't  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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Thousands of times I have heard people refer to another that they have no common sense.  Every single time, I think less of the person with "common sense" on their lips.  What they really mean is that they feel a powerful need for a master/slave relationship with the other person needing to adopt the knowledge and values of their new master.  And then to be an obedient chump.

First, by utter definition of the phrase, if "common sense" were truly common, then the bits that make up "common sense" would be known by everybody.  Therefore:




if "common sense" is common, then why would anybody ever use the phrase "common sense"




Second, when somebody is chastising another for lack of "common sense" then the tidbit of information that is apparently lacking tends to be something rather obscure.  So uttering the phrase "common sense" is a bit like saying "neener neener, I know something you don't know!"

Use of the phrase "common sense" is a shaming tactic, nothing more.


 
Casie Becker
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I always liked Terry Pratchett's view point on it. 'Common sense' was almost synonymous with nonsense in his stories. If characters were using informed, reasoned, good judgment it was always something else.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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I mostly agree with you Paul, the phrase is used wrong all the time.  And I also agree with Cassie Becker, or rather Pratchet's view: it is a synonym of nonsense, or at least it often is, and that seems to be a better definition for what passes for common sense these days. 

Second, when somebody is chastising another for lack of "common sense" then the tidbit of information that is apparently lacking tends to be something rather obscure.
  Not necessarily so.  Here's where I differ slightly with you, Paul, and with the Pratchet definition.  In the eye of the chastiser, that knowledge which is lacking is staring the people right in the face, and yet they are blind to it.

I use the phrase sometimes... I think it's because the things that I think are common sense things or ideas, are perhaps not embraced by others, even though I believe these things should be embraced by everybody, and if not I would like it to be so, since it would be for the common good.  And I think that the people who say this are not necessarily saying "neener neener, I know something you don't know!", but rather, "I really wish that everybody knew this, or practiced this", with the perhaps hidden snarky question of "Why don't you get it?   It's staring you in the face!" As an example, I think that purifying water just to shit in it, and then flush it into and poisoning the downstream water system is completely contrary to 'common sense', but if I was to breach the subject of this with legislators, or most common people, I would likely find that my thinking is not common at all; in fact the common thinking on the topic is that shitting in purified water is completely normal, acceptable, sane, and expected.  Their view is literally common sense in that the group mind has accepted it's value and definition, and yet my view, I would think should be common sense, and if the people were to really pick up what I was laying down, then they too would see the sense in it.

To further Pratchet's law of this 'sense', at present common sense is a very dangerous thing in thousands of ways.  Look at the planet.  Look at our elected leaders.  The thing that passes as common sense completely opposes a safe and pure planet, and these people (really??) have been given power over our world's affairs.  If what I deem to be common sense, or what you, Paul, deem to be common sense (which might be slight variances of one another), actually was common sense (in that it was commonly accepted knowledge), then Permies would be funded like a University, and our leaders would be benefiting the common people, and the (ECO)nomy. 

What you have, Paul, contrary to all this common sense malarky(speech or writing designed to obscure, mislead, or impress; bunkum), is Uncommon Sense.  Uncommon  Sense is that which perceives the world as clearly not presently functioning well, and knows that the solutions for changing that functioning for the better are remarkably simple.   

 
Roberto pokachinni
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If we look at the common sense definitions:

1.) sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts

2.)sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like; normal native intelligence.

3.)the ability to use good judgment in making decisions and to live in a reasonable and safe way

4.)the ability to use good judgment and make sensible decisions

5.)Common sense is a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things that is shared by ("common to") nearly all people and can reasonably be expected of nearly all people without need for debate.

6.)Good sense and sound judgement in practical matters

7.)Sound judgment not based on specialized knowledge.

 
We see that with the above seven definitions the central gist running through them is that those who use the term 'common sense' feel that there is a common ability to notice discrepancies in all functions of society or other affairs without special knowledge, and discern the best course of action to take to make things function best.  Perhaps at it's foundation, as such, the very definition is critically flawed.  The specialized knowledge, lets call it permaculture for common ground and our purposes, should be 'common sense', but it isn't. 

We would like Permaculture to be common knowledge, and therefore common sense, but to the masses it is specialized knowledge.   

My favorite is from the Urban Dictionary: Common sense is what -I- think others should know.

 
paul wheaton
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The definition of "common sense":  If you cannot behave the way I behave, I will say that you have no common sense.

 
paul wheaton
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Logically, it is not possible to utter "common sense" to express that somebody knows more or less than other people.
 
I child proofed my house but they still get in. Distract them with this tiny ad:
2017 Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Jamboree - 15 workshops in one event
https://permies.com/wiki/63312/permaculture-projects/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Workshop-Jamboree
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