Good-bye, Common Sense! Hello, Good Sense!
By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Nathan_Mamo]Nathan Mamo
While we use both terms interchangeably, in fact, “common sense” is almost a thing of the past in many ways and by a healthy logic ought to be replaced by “good sense.”
The “common” in “common sense” formerly referred to information, know-how or “sense” that most people already grasped or understood “in common.” This was easy to detect when societal groups were smaller and more stable than today: tribe, clan, ethnicity, nationality, family, village, neighborhood, religious affiliation, language and cultural group, professional association, etc. Based largely on “common” experience, one likely grew up in the commonality and cultivated a kind of unsung expertise in whatever skills or knowledge was involved in membership in that group and locale.
Today, life is very different. Between the great mobility of individuals, families and other groups in society, and the relatively huge numbers of people involved in any neighborhood or region, the experiences and insights of individuals who happen to be near each other are much less common than in former days. Gone are the days when we are likely to utter the words, “Everybody knows that …”
Note that “common sense” had almost nothing to do with intelligence. It was the lived experience of the many in an engaged sort of life in a particular realm that mattered.
“Good sense” on the other hand existed in olden days, too. But, while “good sense” overlapped with common sense, it could also indicate genuine ability. Today, “good sense” especially describes those who are adroit at change and circumstance. A particular “good sense” is often appropriate to a particular time and place. It might or it might not transfer well to a different time or place. To show good sense means that one can engage the current reality effectively. “Good sense” might mean to know when to speak and when to be silent, when to work hard and when to lay back, when to actively pose questions and when to passively observe the situation. “Good sense” does involve some intelligence or ability to successfully engage and manage the reality of the moment even if, and maybe especially if, the reality is changing.
“Common sense” tends to be undermined by change. For example, in the late middle ages, “common sense” held that the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around it. Everyone knew that to be true. But with some theorizing, some invention and discovery, and some mathematics and imagination, and that “common sense” belief about the universe has been subverted rather completely, if slowly. And, if “common sense” resisted the changed perception at first, then “good sense” appreciated the need for the change.
Just about everyone has moments and situations in which they shine. And, just about everyone has moments and situations in which they find themselves inadequate. Everyone can try to cultivate “good sense” for whatever time and place is current. “Good sense” is far more deliberate than “common sense.” “Common sense” sort of happens to you. “Good sense” is more sophisticated. It requires data and thoughtful learning, reflection, consideration and insight. One can never have enough or too much “good sense.” One is never finished learning or growing in it.
“Good sense” is the very reason why adults need some sort of on-going education if they are to continue to thrive and grow. The very act of growing shows some good sense. Ceasing to grow and develop is a sign that life is being disengaged. “Good sense” as a way of life fosters a better quality of life and wisdom. It gives life it’s very meaning in many ways.
At our best, each ought to strive to “make good sense a way of life!”
For more information and for the opportunity to arrange for a seminar on End of Life Issues Planning (Setting Your House In Order), Critical Thinking or Organization Ethics, visit WinThink @ www.winthink.net . Author & presenter: Nathan Mamo.
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