Once a time, there was a concept called Common Sense. Unfortunately, today, common sense is so ‘uncommon’ that it is rather rare to see anyone exhibit it these days. As a matter of fact, ‘common sense’ can be rightly branded, uncommon sense! So uncommon it is that those who exhibit it can be rightly branded as sages and be (correctly) referred to as the ‘wise men’ of our time.
This is quite sad and pathetic!
However, what is more challenging to bear is the reality that most of the persons who lack common sense do not even know that they lack it…instead, they see those who exhibit correct and right thinking as those lacking in this all important and ordinarily common faculty. This sort of thinking presents a huge problem, not only to the individual, but to his family, immediate associates and community.
Unfortunately, these sad effects do not stop at that…a father who lacks common sense is likely to teach his children his ways (either directly or indirectly); so will a mother in whose registry the word common sense is conspicuously missing. What will be the end result of such calamity? Children who genuinely have no idea what common sense is – and how common it should be!
That is why the NTP Information Portal has taken out time today to treat this issue and trash it out once and for all. It is sincerely hoped that, after this issue is treated, the issue of common sense and its lack will be a thing of the past – at least for those who are privileged to read this entry.
Shall we start? First things first though…what is commons sense?
The Concept of Common Sense: What is Common Sense?
Common sense has been defined variously…it has been defined as:
…the ability to think and behave in a reasonable way and to make good decisions.
Another definition has it as:
…sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of a situation or facts.
Yet, a third definition holds common sense to be:
…the basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way.
And yet, a fourth holds common sense to be:
…the ability to use good judgment in making decisions, ensuring reasonability and safety along the way.
From these definitions, it is easy to see that common sense is ordinarily supposed to be the ‘inalienable possession’ of everyone who walks the earth and breathes it air. It is supposed to function like an internal GPS, guarding and directing the host towards meaningful interactions, decisions and life generally.
Aside guarding the host, common sense is supposed to lead its holders out of danger – since it is a practical matter and is largely one that is safety related. In this wise, it is also a ‘lateral line’ that is practical and primarily put in place to help its holders navigate the muddy waters of life, right unto the spring of awesome, purposeful existence.
Every single human being who is part of the earth’s population, thus, is supposed to be endowed with one. However, how come many people roam the earth today without a trace of common sense?
Why Common Sense is So Uncommon Today
That common sense is scarce today is an understatement…as a matter of fact, it is (almost) practically non-existent. To put things in perspective, out of 100 randomly sampled persons, you’ll be exceedingly lucky to get 2 with common sense – especially, if they are citizens of the highly developed countries or poorly developed/underdeveloped countries or the world.
The important thing to note here however is that, things were not always this way. There was a time when common sense indeed was common and almost all human beings had access to it and actually used it.
So, what happened to the regime of common sense? When/how did it become so uncommon? The answers below will put you through this mist once and for all.
1. Misunderstanding of Religion
One of the major reasons for the death of common sense today is the gross misunderstanding of religion and what it portends for mankind.
Accordingly, the abuse of religion and its gross misunderstanding has led to the systematic death of common sense and has ushered in the regime where sense is no more ‘common’. Unfortunately, some criminally minded persons have used this unique ‘opportunity’ to further aggravate the plight of the common man on the street. Such people are called pastors, G.Os, M.O.G. etc.
These persons who control religion have an unideal way of twisting the minds and hearts of their gullible followers into believing anything that they are told, especially as relates to things of faith. In particular, such persons have made their followers believe that religion is akin to magic and faith is all that is needed to pull impractical stunts so far as one calls on the name of the deity involved.
In the world of these crooks, common sense involves not going to the hospital even when one is chronically ill; in the world of such criminally minded fellows, common sense involves not reading but expecting a supreme being to work wonders during an examination; in the world of these deceitful persons, common sense involves not bothering with the rigorous process of selecting a mate but blindly trusting a supreme deity for some ideal soul mate, via a process that is akin to magic and the occult!
The acute misunderstanding of religion thus dulls the sensibilities of its adherent in this instance and they easily forget the great difference between the physical and the spiritual. In this state of make-belief reality, what is supposed to be done right in the physical realm is committed to days/months of prayer; things that can be handled by man are relegated to the hands of a god.
Nothing makes common sense become as uncommon as when such a reality is not the exception – but the sad norm…
This is the reality of the 21st century today – especially in and around the least developed nations of the world.
2. A Distorted Idea of Rights
The second most important reason why common sense is so uncommon these days is the prevalence of a distorted idea of rights and what they connote.
Ordinarily, rights (be they of the fundamental human variant or any variant for that matter) are meant to be enjoyed and regulated, subject to the reality that others are also allowed the enjoyment of these same rights (or those they ‘qualify’ for). Accordingly, rights in themselves are self-regulatory as one’s rights are always checkmated by another’s.
Accordingly therefore, the violation of another person’s right takes away the sanctity of one’s rights as a person and leaves one without any rights – or at least the variant of right that one has denied the other party. As can be thus clearly seen, rights are not completely inalienable in the strictest sense, especially when their holders do not respect or value them.
Accordingly, a violator of another person’s rights has no claim to plead that he/she has any rights left or is entitled to be treated as someone who deserves the respect accorded those with (respectable) rights.
Unfortunately, many persons – some even lawyers and jurists believe, against common sense, that rights are completely inalienable and should be respected against any background. This is allowing law and legal semantics to tie both hands of rational human beings and deliver them to an abyss of uncommon reality – a sphere where the death of common sense is sure and those who use common sense are perceived to be common fools.
For instance, the recent Dasuki scandal is a clear example. Here, a former NSA used money that was earmarked for arms to fight insurgency in the North Eastern part of Nigeria for personal gain and the enrichment of a select few. After being discovered and charged to court, he was granted bail. However, due to the sensitive nature of the accusation, he was still remanded in prison custody.
Sambo Dasuki started crying foul – and he had a ton of supporters and followers who believed that, the Nigerian government should have respected the courts and consequently, Dasuki’s right to enjoy his ‘freedom’!
This is a clear example of common sense flying right out of the window because of a distorted notion of what actually constitutes rights. Dasuki, to all rational and well thinking Nigerians, forfeited his right of movement/freedom when he chose not to use the arms fund in his care judiciously – an action that resulted in the death of many soldiers whose right of life (the highest of rights) was also denied in circumstances that would have been brilliantly avoided.
Another example of the application of this notion as regards common sense and it’s strict adherence comes to mind. Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 bombings in the US was ordered to be killed directly by the American government. Here, a nation that is outspoken against capital punishment clearly chose to kill a man without trial when it was sufficiently convinced that he was guilty and the rigors of the judiciary were but a waste of tax payers’ money!
This is common sense and its use clearly in action…
A last word on distorted idea of rights: most of the time, the rights that are referred to do not even exist or they are but mere privileges (which is so frequently confused with rights). Accordingly, the ‘simple’ confusion between rights and privileges is in itself a clear departure from the regime of common sense right into an existence where sense is not only uncommon, it is also supremely expensive.
It’s as simple as that!
3. Hazy Understanding of Freedom
Closely related to the point above is the third reason why common sense is so uncommon today – the reality of hazy understanding of freedom and what it truly connotes. The point applies mostly to misinformed youth as individuals and the developed world as a whole.
The human being is a free creature and being, no doubt. However, that freedom itself is limited by its very nature to things and realities that make sense and are expedient at the moment, just as the various definitions we took at the beginning of this article maintain. However, when one intends to do all manners of things that please him/her in the name of freedom, that becomes an abuse of the very notion, a hazy understanding of the concept and a great departure from common sense and all the glory it entails and promises.
For instance, the issue and legalization of gay marriages in the Western world is a quick example that comes to mind. Here, the natural order is reversed and ‘freedom’ and ‘choice’ are fronted instead. Such stupidity is clearly at variance with common sense. It is also clearly at variance with logic and the dictates of wisdom and sagacity. In such unique situations, it is particularly difficult trying to see how logic and common sense are at play when they have so clearly been pushed right outside the window.
For youth – especially for those who are transiting to adulthood, the thrill and fun of becoming ‘adults’ is often so strong that many are inspired to leave the realm of common sense just to satisfy their curiosity or ‘belong’/’feel among’. This is particularly true today, all thanks to the internet, globalization and misplacement of priorities. For these kids, irresponsible behavior – masked as freedom and carried out to look and feel as adults is the primary reason why common sense has flown out of the window for them.
The sad irony is that, neither the advanced countries nor the misguided youth have any inkling that they have since left the common sense arena. While this reality is definitely sad and clearly disastrous, the primary victims have no idea what it is they are facing or the disastrous consequences they are brewing up for both themselves and the world in general.
4. Silly Education (Geared Towards Awarding/Obtaining Certificates Only)
Education is ideally supposed to an instrument of liberation. It is supposed to liberate the unlearned man on the streets, polish him up and endear him with common sense. Sadly, the bulk of education now is geared towards just one thing: awarding certificates! With this reality, its prime essence is completely lost – and with it, common sense (for the adherents and recipients of such an ‘education’).
When one is certificated (without proper education), he/worse is worse than a stark illiterate! While this may appear wild and unfolded, it is a ton better to be completely illiterate than to be certificated – especially when you have no idea that you were awarded an ordinary certificate without any corresponding real education.
In such a sad situation, the adherents of such a certification process imagine that they know what they are doing – and as a matter of fact, are very right in carrying out their actions. Unfortunately, most of the things they believe, abide by and hold to be true are issues that defy common sense…things even an illiterate man or woman would think twice before even attempting!
This is the dilemma of the university/college graduate today (and all those who have been certificated without the rigors of a proper education).
Unfortunately, most of the former colonies of Britain and much of the other (former) colonies have this challenge. This is because, the systems that were set up to enable the local population to be trained just enough to be clerks and civil servants is still what is obtainable/ maintained till date – no matter how it appears upgraded or is made to look special.
The sad reality is that, aside the fact that most of the schools are factories for the production of civil servants, even the admission and graduation policies of such schools has been altered to fit the reality of twisted minded fellows that the degrees offered and the entire teaching process (good just for the civil service) is even questionable at best! This, in addition to ensuring that graduates are not imbibed with the basics of common sense, does not even fulfill its basic purpose: the reality of getting a job after school.
This leaves one with a big problem – but also, an acute understanding of the reason why the bulk of graduates today have no common sense, yet, have been certificated.
To round up this point, the very act of mistaking a certificate with an education is fact enough that the bearer of the certificate was not trained and lacks common sense, completely.
No more, no less!
5. Herd Mentality and the Desire for General Acceptability
The fifth reason for the acute lack of common sense today is the general herd mentality and severe desire for general acceptability prevalent in the population. The desire to conform is so strong that it outweighs the singular desire to use one’s brain – most of the time.
This scenario and reality means that for many, there is a general idea of what is correct or what is acceptable common sense wise. However, the grand fear of this category of persons who have parted with common sense is that they do not have the will power to challenge wrong, things that do not conform to common sense or their friends, relatives and acquaintances who are so comfortable with thinking and living their life outside the corridors of common sense or are generally afraid of what doing so entails.
For such persons, the easiest way out of thinking and living life outside the express provisions of common sense is to detach them from their immediate friends and community and make them understand that the opinions of their friends truly do not hold any weight – and should be ignored if they are inconsistent with logic or impractical. When this is done, it is very easy to see that, such persons would have no further challenges falling in sync, since they already have a clue of what to do and how to behave but only lack the express will power to execute that desire/wish.
6. Acute Poverty
Poverty also plays a huge part in ensuring that common sense is completely alien to the human race. This is because, when one is poor, the options that are open to such a person are very limited. It is thus easy to see that such a person would do (super) silly things simply to keep body and soul together…and poverty is at an all-time high!
Accordingly, most of the actions – and inactions people take (that are termed a lack of common sense), on careful scrutiny, are mostly related to ensuring that they keep breathing. Unfortunately, in a bid to keep living or make a living for themselves; it is all too easy to forget about the reality that some of the very things that are done in furtherance of such objective would make any sensible 2 year old cringe in horror!
For instance, a commercial sperm donor ordinarily sees nothing wrong with his action. To him, the less than $50 fee he charges for his semen is good enough to permit the spilling of his seed for ‘profit’/commercial basis. The argument of such a fellow is that, he would be better off selling what he normally ‘throws away’! …and to such a fellow, this is very sound logic….
However, in the eyes of any rational thinking person whose common sense has not been beclouded with poverty, it is easy to see that semen is better and more profitably ‘wasted’ than sold for outright cash or direct economic benefit. It also applies to the logic many of the young women use in justifying prostitution and other illicit sexual acts.
Poverty (especially the acute variant) does not allow for common sense to prevail at all. If you are in doubt, ask a man who just technically sold out his daughter into marriage and called the transaction fees, ‘bride-price’.
7. Gigantic Greed, Coupled with Serious Corruption
In third world countries (mostly), greed and corruption also constitute the 7th reason why common sense is fast becoming a dying notion and isn’t no longer common anymore.
Elected government officials and top civil servants have been known to involve themselves in corruption at the highest levels. To cover up for the shame and humiliation this brings, they invent lies that are essentially ‘after-thoughts’ and not altogether convincing. However, a strange thing usually happens: after they spill out such lies, they believe them directly and act on them – even if no one believes them!
The tragedy of such poor thinking and reality is that, while no one actually believes them, they are eager to believe themselves and instead of correcting their ways and perfecting their thinking processes, they shrink further to the extent that one often wonders if at all they have ever heard the word ‘common’ or ‘sense’ in their entire lives.
While this may appear to be an exaggeration, the present author only asks that, if you doubt, listening to some African elected office holders will change that perception for life.
Is There ANY Hope Left for Common Sense Today?
This is the most difficult question anyone would be faced with after seeing firsthand the damage that an acute lack of common sense has caused and how deeply ingrained it is in the DNA of the average person today.
However, there has to be a way – no matter how bad the situation is today.
The next section is focused on this and delivers justice to the point in a satisfactory manner. It is sincerely hoped that common sense will move right from the realm of ‘uncommon’ right to the ‘common jurisdiction’ again…at least for those who have the privilege of reading this piece.
How to Make Common Sense Common (Again)
To make common sense common again, the factors that have made it ‘inaccessible’ to the ordinary man on the street have to be addressed. The address that is due for such challenges is not just a simple one – but one that touches to the core of the problem.
Accordingly, the solutions may not go well with everybody…but, heck, medicine does not necessarily need to be sweet, does it?
Here we go:
First, opening of (new) churches and the monetization of the whole process should be discouraged. Anyone who is interested in becoming a member of the clergy should join an already existing church and seek ordination there; the current trend of seeing ‘visions’ and opening churches afterwards should be seriously condemned.
This is because, it is when these ‘business center churches’ are allowed to go on that common sense vanishes from the population as fast as exposed gas escapes right through thin air. It must be remembered that the motive of 99.9% of churches today is quick money…to get to their target therefore, they consistently play with the intelligence of their members, making them docile – without any iota of common sense in the process.
For the already established churches, their activities should be closely monitored to ensure that they comply with what a religious organization should be. If they don’t, their closure should be a welcome development 🙂
This article focuses on the Christian bit of nuisance and unnecessary proliferation of (insincere) and badly motivated churches…however, it is apt to understand that, aside the Christian faith, other faiths as Islam and other variants could be guilty as well. They are thus not excluded.
Second, rights and freedom should be closely taught all through school so that their understanding and how they work will no longer be a hazy concept. It is the submission of the present writer that if these realities and concepts are very well understood by everyone, they would certainly be abused far less than they are today!
Third, the educational sector today needs a complete overhaul!
It is time enough to stop teaching students simply the art of literacy, the ‘science’ of job hunting and the dynamics of the labor market. The school system ought to be structured in such a way that the average student learns a ton and is supremely useful and beneficial to himself even if he does not eventually graduate with a certificate.
In essence, the prime objective of education should not be the issuance of certificates as is obtained today. School should first of all focus on the overall development of the human person so that he/she will realize the maximum potential reachable and not just focus on the attainment of a piece of paper that proves that he/she was a student of the institution between the years started thereon.
This is one position and suggestion that applies to all the countries of the world.
Fourth, children should be taught the art and science of distinguishing themselves from childhood and the blunt refusal to apologize for either being different or desiring to be different from the general flock.
Such children, it is easy to see, will grow up with an idea of what is right and wrong. Such children will also not be easily fooled into doing anything simply because the world is doing it or it is considered ‘trendy’. Ultimately, such children will also grow up to do what is right and will shun popular opinion or actions if it doesn’t conform to the express dictates of common sense.
Aside children, adults should also be encouraged all over the world to think outside the box and not to be timid or afraid of being different and standing out from the large, confused crowd. To ensure that this works well with adults, motivations such as jobs, monetary prizes and other incentives (to be determined by culture and location) are advised.
If this is carried out, magic will be worked right in day light. Believe me.
Fifth, (extreme) poverty should be eradicated/avoided at all cost!
While it is technically impossible to eradicate poverty as a whole in the world, it is very easy to eradicate EXTREME poverty if we are all sincere with our efforts to make it history. It is to be remembered that, most of the actions that are viewed as lacking common sense emanate from the reality of want and the need to keep body and soul together.
In furtherance of this objective, it is important to take a look at this article: causes of employment in Nigeria. This article is as relevant to Nigeria as it is for many of the countries of the world today. Thus, even if you’re not a Nigerian, you’ll certainly benefit a ton from the wisdom therein.
Aside learning what causes unemployment and seeking active employment thereafter, it is important to mention that employment does not just connote offline work…it could also mean, working online right in your bedroom, especially in the 21st century. It is thus very important that this reality is factored into consideration when the race to kick poverty out of the world/personal lives is run.
Finally, corruption, especially in high positions and amongst elected persons should never be tolerated! In this wise, the Chinese should be emulated and capital punishment meted out to those who are intent on stealing public funds and lying to cover up.
However, the above will not be enough. Before one is considered for elective position, a standard IQ test should be conducted to find out the suitability or otherwise of such a fellow.
If he/she falls abysmally below standard, it is easy to see that once overfed from public coffers, the speech and utterances of such a person will very well leave the lane of common sense faster than a ball descends when rolled off a mountain top, especially if the intent is to cover up a wrong doing or crime.
Summary and Conclusion
At well over 4,000 words, this is no mean article. It is thus wise to offer a summary for the sake of the rare length of the article and for the interest of those who may have skimmed to land here.
So, here we go – the most prominent reasons why common sense is so uncommon today are:
- Misunderstanding of religion – or the error of imagining that religion is magic.
- A distorted idea of rights.
- A hazy understanding of freedom.
- Silly education aimed at certification only.
- The general herd mentality prevalent in the society today.
- Acute poverty & want and
- Gigantic greed coupled with serious corruption.
These are the reasons why common sense has taken sabbatical leave from the earth at present. For the solutions to these monster challenges, I’m afraid; I’ll have to ask you to kindly scroll back and take a full look at the solutions subhead above…it is better read directly than summarized.
Aside this fact, at less than a thousand words, it’s a simple and quick read.