growse.com

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Common sense

We have this thing, here in England, called common sense. It’s a term that refers to the ability of a person to make logical and rational decisions based on easily available evidence and without the need for specialist knowledge.

For example, pretend, for an instant, that you are a member of the very prestigious money-eating club at a particular large academic institution. Being such an institution, you have 3 terms a year and a period in between called a vacation. Now, the money-eating club meet every Thursday evening in term-time and have done without fail every single term for at least the past 2 and a half years as that’s how long you have been a member of this club. Common sense would be the thing that kicks in when you have to decide, on returning after a vacation period, if there is a meeting on this particular Thursday. You only have a small number of facts to deal with, but these should be sufficient to make a judgement. The main facts available are threefold:

1: Money-eating club meets on a Thursday in a time of the year which is not a vacation, and has done for the past 2 and a half years.

2: It’s not vacation.

3: It’s Thursday tomorrow.

These facts should unfailingly point to the conclusion that there is in fact a meeting tomorrow.

I use this example as a representation of real life, with certain names of things (like days of the week) changed to preserve the anonymity of the following described stupid people. In real life, I run and organise the “money-eating club”. In real life, I get real people who are apparently incapable of using their common sense in the method described above to calculate the day of the next meeting. I therefore have to conclude myself that they have had their common sense stolen. I pity them.

Of course, it could be perfectly possible that I’ve had my common sense stolen as well (without my knowledge). In that case I could be drawing wildly irrational conclusions and thus be no better than those I seek to mock, but somehow, I doubt it. If I carry on down this road, I get to “No-one knows what’s right or wrong as everything is subjective”, and I don’t particularly want to go there. If you would like to have that particular argument, please send a SAE to my address (it’s out there if you know where to look), and I shall send you a piece of paper stating that whatever you argue, you’re wrong, because I’m right.

See? It works.

Anyway, the main point of this is that I don’t like stupid people. Some would argue that it’s harsh to call people who have had their common sense stolen “stupid”, but I don’t think name-calling is at the top of their worry list.