Healthy Wealthy Boomer Talks about Common Sense.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Common Sense Is Genius in Working Clothes.”
Reading the Emerson quote this morning reminded me of the many personal discussions over the years based on the premise that there is nothing common about common sense.
The irony here is that Emerson – himself – was a master of common sense, in working clothes.
Through observation – over the course of his life – Emerson chronicled his code of how things are – identifying the ground rules of common sense, for any individual willing to sit quietly long enough, often enough and pay attention.
About common sense, in a different context, Emerson also wrote this:
“Common sense is as rare as genius.”
Emerson was a scholar and a champion of individualism. Emerson grew into this perspective through life experience and close observation of both human spirit and human nature. Over time he became a spokesperson for both.
Emerson tells us how to acknowledge our own common sense by following our own inner voice and paying attention to Nature and the Universe around us. He is a guide. In many ways, Emerson directs us to how find our own way.
What other influential western thinkers have to say about common sense:
Albert Einstein: “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”
George Bernard Shaw: “Common sense is instinct. Enough of it is genius.”
William James: “Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.”
Leonardo da Vinci: “Common Sense is that which judges the things given to it by other senses.”
There is a hint of Lao Tzu throughout and a connection here somehow between genius, common sense and individual freedom that threads itself learning to understand and recognize truth.
Emerson says that common sense is genius in working clothes. Shaw says a little bit of common sense is instinct and a lot is genius. Einstein implies that we have a handle on common sense when we are young before society teaches us the lack of it. James defines common sense as humor moving at a different speed.
Speaking of humor, WC Fields has this to say about that:
“Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting
on people. ” ― W.C. Fields
So collectively we learn that common sense is:
- humor at a different speed
- disguised in working clothes
In today’s world of politically correct speech, an agenda driven muzzle for independent thought, it is incumbent upon us to say what we think and to be authentic in the expression of who we are.
Great minds show us that more common sense is a good thing and it is inherent in the natural way of things in Nature and the Universe. Less common sense leads to difficulty, complexity, the lack of authenticity and individualism. Common sense gets more done with less effort. It is mental and practical economy.
My mom always used to say to me: “Use you head”.
Yet today it seems we are encouraged not to do so. And on that note, we end this discussion with a final quote:
“Common sense has become the greatest oxymoron of our time.” – Michael Barrett
I AM Michael Barrett, Managing Editor of Healthy Wealthy Boomer.