Thoughts on Good Sense

Hubby sent me a definition of common sense: a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things, which is shared by (common to) nearly all people, and can be reasonably expected of nearly all people without any need for debate. Merriam-Webster defines it as sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts. Both definitions involved a person’s ability to analyze a situation, filter them through their experiences and education, and come to a thoughtful decision about what to do.

I’ve always been told I need to use common sense when deciding what to do or how to proceed with something. I always hope I have common sense about things. Being able to think logically and clearly is important, especially in these days of information overload. There seems to be less common sense around, and it doesn’t seem very common. Maybe we should call it “good sense” instead of “common sense.” Let’s hope we all have good sense to do the right and practical things.

We’ve all seen people who we wonder if they have any sense at all. A lot of kids do crazy things to make themselves famous on the internet. Even grownups do stupid stuff which they proudly post for the world to see, hoping someone somewhere will give them a pat on the back. I wonder how many have died accidently when good sense is thrown out and dumb things are attempted while seeking that elusive fifteen minutes of fame. Being famous (going viral) seems to be the new peak of achievement.

The article Hubby sent talks about how Thomas Acquinas first noted the five senses: touch, sight, smell, hearing, taste (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/aristotles-child/201105/the-common-sense). He also added the idea of “common sense.” To him, common sense was the ability to process the information the other five senses brought into our brain so that it made sense. We could understood what was happening. He thought it was a brain function, and he was right. A piece of our brain called the corpus callosum connects both sides of our brain so they share information that guides us in our actions. People with a healthy corpus callosum appear to have good sense. Those who have an underdeveloped or missing corpus callosum aren’t making all the connections between the sensory input and make bad judgements about how to act.

While some people may have an excuse why they don’t have good sense, most people have no excuse other than they don’t stop long enough to think things through. If you’re in a situation where things are rushing to get done, it might be worth your time to stop and think it through. Not using good sense could put you and others in danger. Stop and think about the consequences of your actions before proceeding. Fifteen minutes of fame may not be worth the risk.

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