The common sense, uncommon sense, and common nonsense

We see, hear, taste, smell, and touch the world. Fortunate are those who have these senses. Equipped with five senses we observe things around us. But mere observation is not enough, as such observations are merely mechanical; they tell us only a part of the story. When our awareness is soaked with intellectual as well as emotional sensibilities we can understand real meaning of things. In a way, senses are mere instruments, if emotions are not attached to them. Without emotions a sense is just like a machine; it can collect information but wouldn’t know what to do with it. It is like looking at a thing for the sake of ‘looking’ but not for the joy of ‘seeing’.

E. F. Schumacher writes: “Our five bodily senses make us adequate to the lowest Level of Being – inanimate matter. But they can supply nothing more than masses of sense data, to ‘make sense’ of which we require abilities or capabilities of a different order. ….. Without them we should be unable to recognize form, pattern, regularity, harmony, rhythm, and meaning, not to mention life, consciousness, and self-awareness”.

It means, if we want to look at a thing, both objectively and subjectively, we need to have another sense; some call it conscience. It is the sense of ‘mind-in-action’. It is the sense of right and wrong. It is the policeman of the community of senses. Its voice is ‘voice within’. “It can prompt different people in quite different directions, depending on their beliefs, suggesting that while the capacity for conscience is probably genetically determined; its subject matter is probably learnt, or imprinted, like language, as part of a culture”.

And if we want to live ‘with our whole bodies’, we need yet another sense. Unless we have this sense, the other six senses are of no use. You guessed it right. It is the Common Sense. This sense, though called common, is not always common. Each man’s perception about the common sense varies, according to the size of his head. Common sense has two brothers, common nonsense and uncommon sense. Uncommon sense, being the older brother, thinks that he always thinks ‘out of the box’. He is a serious type. They are so deeply in the box that they can never get out of it. The younger brother, common nonsense, is “a reflection of a flawed brain with a capacity for being interested in more things than it can comprehend.”

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© 2017 by Dr Purnendu Ghosh