Common Sense

Just a very short post, as I want to ask a question. I find myself bemused by the term ‘common sense’. Could anyone tell me what is common about sense. I find that most of the time, people I come into contact with, be they random people in the street, other drivers or whatever, do not seem to have sense of any sort. Why do we say ‘common sense’? Sense does not seem to be very common to me at all.

Or is ‘common sense’ supposed to be that sense that is common to us all? Neither version fits well with the experimental data that I have been gathering recently.

So, dumb question, but if anyone can enlighten me I would be most grateful. Either that or just tell me to shut the fuck up and deal. Answers on a postcard please, or in the comments section if you prefer.


44 thoughts on “Common Sense

  1. My understanding is that ‘common’ refers to the majority of the populus, therefore it would be the sense displayed by vast majority of people, much like common law. Doesn’t mean it actually has to make sense or be used by people though! Great fun, love the fact that someone else remembers the days when answers were sent on postcards, the blank ones you got from the Post Office! Lol 🙂


      • Oooh yes.. and cereal boxes! And then there were the animals… who didn’t love Shep!?! I think there definitely needs to be a post! Collaboration? I’m game! Ha ha.


      • I am up for that, Jade. What sort of direction though – there is a lot of scope with this – Blue Peter as a children’s show, the animals, the practical projects, the striving for a badge, the presenters over time, etc. or some combination of all.


      • Great! Sounds like a plan.

        I’m not sure on direction – I think it needs to be fun though, a parody perhaps? There must be tons of material there. How about we give it some thought and kick about some ideas? May be easier via email?

        If you want to email me then it’s

        And, I am really slow to catch on but I’ve been reading your poems and I’ve only just worked out that you and Ionia are together – at least I hope I’ve got it right!? Congratulations… you sound really happy both and I wish you all the best. I hope she is still on the mend?! Have been thinking about her. 🙂


      • Yes, Jade, Ionia and I are together, very much together. As my poems indicate she is the love of my life, and will soon become my wife. We are extremely happy. Thank you for the congratulations 🙂


      • You are more than welcome. I can’t wait for the wedding piccies!!

        Oh.. and can you have a word with my hubby?.. he seriously needs to start writing me poems…. ha ha. 🙂

        Great news and huge congrats to you both. 🙂


  2. You are absolutely right – there is not much that is common about common sense. There is entirely too little of it in my world at least. I thought about saying what Ionia said, but it was better from her.


  3. If common means collective then everybody has the same and we are in trouble….if common means ordinary, then they have hit the nail on the head….ordinary people have none…either way, us brilliant people are shit outta luck


  4. Much like the cyclops and the phoenix before it, common sense is simply fabulous!
    From my personal perspective, common sense is everything I think…as you may imagine, I spend a lot of my life disappointed.
    To see an example of common sense, read or listen to everything that comes after phrases like “Even an idiot knows…”
    And finally, just because a sense is common, that doesn’t make it right. Previous examples of common sense include: the sun revolves around the Earth; the Earth itself is flat; and “Brownie is doin’ a heckuva job” (ok, maybe that last one was neither common nor sensical).
    In the meantime, I’ll just watch you kiss Ionia.


    • I agree, common sense doesn’t always reflect what is true – you provide great examples, well, most of them 🙂

      Well, kissing Ionia is a pretty regular occurrence for me, so chances are you will see that at some point.


  5. The problem isn’t a lack of common sense, it is a lack of commoners. Everyone agrees on what the rules for civil behavior should be, unfortunately most seem to think that they are too smart, too important, or too high class to follow the ordinary rules.


  6. As my friend says ‘common sense is not common’. I believe it really refers to actions that are obvious. For example, common sense says not to put your face in a pot of boiling water or swim in sewage. The reason the term exists might be because there are those of the human race that lack this sense. Common means it isn’t rare, but there can be those that lack this near instinctual mindset.


  7. I would try to explain it, but I don’t think I have any sense that is common myself, but this is a great question none-the-less. I never really thought about it although I have used the phrase many times.


  8. Common sense was originally used to refer to the sense of life as exhibited by commoners. (Non nobility) So it came to mean the sense to deal with the common things adroitly. You know the stuff: When to plant potatoes, take down the wash before a rain, carry two buckets of water thereby cutting the trips to the well in half. Since the world has moved to an industrial and technological base of economics from agrarian, common sense has taken on the meaning of the ability to handle normal decision making and problem solving with an innate ability. Although not openly thought of this ability has at its core the DNA experience of numerous forbearers. Common sense is now separated from educated sense when attempting to categorize the decision and problem solving style of a co-worker or boss. Many times the comment, “He or she has is very smart but has no common sense.” The truly gifted exhibit both traits. I hope this answers your question now shut the fuck up. (actually your question was extremely intelligent since it gave me the opportunity to expound on years of organizational behavior study.)


  9. I agree: Some of the ideas that we tend to refer to as “common sense” are more things that “should” be common (i.e. we believe that most of us should want to have that sense) than actually seem to be.


  10. Could it be, perhaps, the Wombles of Wimbledon Common are the model for “common sense”, Julian? They were leading the way for reducing one’s carbon footprint/paw-print decades before it became all trendy. Humans have little to no sense, compared to a Womble, it would seem.


  11. Modern definition of ‘common sense’ –
    “What me and those of my limited and non-diverse social circle decided was true and affords us the opportunity to make fun of those idiots who don’t think like we do”
    I’ve heard the most ridiculous theories put forth as being “common sense” by those who wish to portray their ideologies and hypothesis as something the majority agrees with – –



  12. When I saw the title of this post I thought it was going to be a discussion of Thomas Paines’s essay and was curious what a bloody Englishman thought of it. Anyway, I agree. Common sense has become quite uncommon in our society.


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