This morning I was sitting in the bathroom meditating when my eye happened to fall on a package of toilet paper. On the side was printed “Common Sense By the Roll”. Common sense – toilet paper? I tell you that got me thinking.
Some time ago I wrote about common sense but I now realize I missed the mark on the topic. Back in June 2009 I said "With the mass withdrawal from fundamental interaction with nature (growing our own food, building our own houses, being responsible for our own safety) that has resulted from mechanization, technological innovation and the internet, we have lost the need for exercising our common sense."
I've changed my mind. I think we definitely have not lost the need for exercising common sense – we need common sense now more than ever. I’m pretty sure that such a need is obvious, based on this past year's elections, the urban legends and other nonsense posted on social media sites and emailed all over the place, the bizarre news reporting, the declining health and increased pharmaceutical use, and the continuing economic depression.
The cumulative effect of years of believing that Big Government will take care of us has brought us exactly where we are today. I’m thinking that the Powers That Be don’t want people to use common sense because that makes it so much easier to manipulate the people. Unfortunately, the Powers That Be don’t really know how to run things very well, when it comes down to it.
Of course, in order to understand that, you’d need common sense.
Let me put it plainly for those lacking in common sense: If the Powers That Be were very good at running things, why are we still having the problems we have? Why are kids still not getting a good education? Why are there still no decent jobs? Why are people still losing their houses? Why are people getting sicker instead of becoming healthier? Why has there been so little advancement in alternative energy? Why are we getting patted down in airports, treated like criminals in our own country? Why are there still war, hunger and poverty in the world?
Why, when we’ve all put so much effort and money into fixing these problems, do they still exist?
I submit it is because people have given up using common sense.
Thing is, we all have the ability to use common sense and I think that most of us figure we are using common sense all the time. But if what passes for common sense isn’t based on any sort of reality, how can it be common sense at all?
Actually, it can be. Common sense is simply what people in common would agree on; a common, natural understanding of how things are in life. Here’s the thing, though - when people base their reality on TV, movies, social media and
Eventually the decisions we make play out in the world. So, whatever the world we live in looks like today – be it political, educational, health or economic – that is the result of the choices we made. If we don’t like what we see, then it’s only common sense to look at why we made those decisions that got us here. After all, we can’t ultimately blame it on Big Government when we’re the ones who voted all those people in.
Let me put it plainly again: If our kids aren’t doing as well in school as kids in other countries, if our bank accounts are going down while national debt is going up, if degenerative disease is on the rise, if alternative energy is still too expensive, if food quality is getting worse and worse, if pat-downs are only a hint of what’s to come next year, if our sons and daughters are dying in foreign countries for reasons no one fully understands any more – and if we’re the ones who have been voting all along to make things the way they are – whose fault is it that it’s this way?
Isn’t it time to start making better decisions? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to start basing our decisions on better quality information?
What I’m suggesting here is that if we don’t like what we see out there in the world, then maybe it’s time to stop basing our common sense on fiction and start basing it on reality. It’s time to stop taking what emails and social media and talking heads say at face value, and start looking at how things are in front of our own faces.
I’m suggesting that we each make New Years’ Resolutions to open our eyes and ears, and think for ourselves.
Here’s how to start: Don’t believe everything you read or hear – if it sounds too good or too conveniently simple to be true, it probably is. If it’s biased in favor or against anything, it isn’t news, it is propaganda - turn it off, delete it, turn away from it - and please! Don't pass it on!
Start being critical about the information you are receiving. Remember the old line “follow the money” (All the President's Men, by Woodward and Bernstein)? Good advice, even if it turns out that it never was said by the informant.
Let’s resolve to make 2011 the year of common sense. Think for yourself!