Common sense, it has been said, is the most uncommon thing in the world. It is a rare commodity that is not exactly mother or native wit. This is only a clever paradox, which is definitely not true. Tom, Dick and Harry have it. It is the one virtue that is used by us at every step. Even animals have it, which it seems to instinctively show at unexpected moments. We often look upon common sense as a blind instinct. It is a quality that neither wealth nor learning can confer on a man. It is supposed to come as a gift from above, and that one is born with,—a sharp insight into matters and promptitude that helps us much in the practical field of work.
Education or book learning, no doubt, makes us sophisticated but does not engender common sense. Somebody called Mr. Pickwick (of Charles Dickens) from the road; Pickwick looked upwards at the sky. Albert Einstein was a very great scientist. But he made two holes in the cage—one big and the other small—so that his two cats, one big and other very small (mother and the young one kitten), may come out through the two respective holes. Did he lack common sense? For this reason, common sense is often spoken of as a mystery.
Common sense is only the combination of experience with intelligence. The learned man may be a wonderful theorist, a man of many devices. There may not be any doubt about his shrewd intelligence in the abstract. But when faced with a situation, he is utterly lost. He is like the wise man of Sukumar Ray who turns over in vain the pages of his book of recipes for the right remedy that can save him from the angry bull. But if, instead of being bookish, he acts on wisdom, tested and proved by experience, he can almost unerringly hit upon the proper line. That is common sense,—the ability to use experience to meet immediate circumstances. It is practical wisdom applied to common life. Common sense is something different from a laborious process of reasoning. It implies swift decision, a capacity to do the right thing without fumbling. An intelligent man, when guided by a wide experience of life, develops a spontaneous reflex power to act quickly and sensibly in any situation.
The uncommon never escapes the shrewd judgment of common sense. The extraordinary principle has to submit ultimately to the test of common sense. Common sense is what makes for permanence and continuity and sweeps away much that is merely eccentric and out of the way. It governs the day-to-day life of a man.
By: Ammara Siddique