Common sense is not so common ~ Voltaire
Any time someone wants to reach out to a broad group of individuals it seems inevitable the use of the words “common sense” will be somewhere in the basis for why everyone should agree with the speaker or writer. Everyone from Sarah Palin to Michael Moore seems to believe their worldview is based on common sense and sound reasoning that should be obvious to all. On reflection, I take back the “to Michael Moore” I am not sure he believes the average person has any common sense at all since he spouts such drivel and loyal followers seem to lap it up.
So what really is common sense, and is there such a thing? The older I get the more I am discouraged that Voltaire was right. Each of us forms a basis of opinion on what seems logical and use that as shorthand in making our decisions through life. I think we do this because having to actually analyze each and every problem and decision would be so cumbersome and time consuming we would never do anything. This is a human condition that may be a result of genetics, but I think more likely is a learned behavior. If so, it explains a great deal about why people take diverse approaches to common problems. They are doing what they have learned to do without giving it too much thought.
Common sense is in spite of, not as the result of education. ~ Victor Hugo
An interesting observation by the gifted French author, but probably not so unreasonable for a man who evolved through his life, from royalist Catholic, to a republican free thinker. I think he saw that true human growth does not come from the regurgitation of textbook material as in school, but on the reflection of life and times around us.
Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing. ~ William James
I believe I approach life with a practical view and when I find myself frustrated and upset I am usually pulled from that melancholy by seeing the absurdity and foolishness of life around me. I used to routinely get in trouble when I would smile at the unfortunate foibles of others. I would have to explain that it was only because I saw myself in similar situations and to laugh and move on with life was really the only option as I saw it.