common sense is a bad thing

The Gertrude Stein claim that “Everyone gets so much information all day long that he loses his common sense” sounds as if it makes perfectly good sense. I’ve never considered common sense a good thing though. According to the impression I’ve always gotten from someone who invokes it as a standard of measurement, it always seems to appear that the individual who refers to it sees himself as being on a somehow superior plane to the other party, as if he’s in cahoots with a more worthwhile, more impressive kind of knowledge or wisdom which we unworthy peons lack entirely. As much as I’ve always liked, admired and respected G.K. Chesterton, who is known to his admirers as the Apostle of Common Sense, I truly wish they would come up with a better term to describe his approach to life. Just listen to anyone who invokes references to common sense.  He always seems to be employing a larger than life standard in order to pass sentence on someone who is ultimately a perfectly decent individual but who, because of a minor momentary lapse of judgment, has the misfortune to make a bad mistake.  I’ve often heard of these mistakes referred to as dumb-ass moments. Someone who invokes the all-important common sense appears to be harboring the delusion that no one, except of course for him, gets to have the satisfaction of anyone’s having any patience with his dumb-ass moments. Common sense is a nightmarishly horrible unforgiving standard wielded by self-centered control freaks. What tolerance is to liberals, common sense is to the general population.


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