by Anne Malatt and Paul Moses, Australia.
Anne: I’ve always wondered about the term common sense.
We all use the words:
- “It’s just common sense!”
- “Use your common sense!”
- “She has no common sense!”
- “Common sense is not very common” as the saying goes – but is that true? I feel there is more to it than we commonly understand.
What does common sense mean to you?
Paul: I too have wondered about that and I looked it up in the dictionary, and the words are derived from the Latin sensus communis meaning ‘feeling in common’.
The word sensus means a sense, a feeling we have in our whole body, not just a thought we have in our minds.
The word communis means something that we all share and have access to, equally so, no matter who we are.
So common sense is a communal thing, the feeling we all share, that we all have in common.
Anne: So common does not mean low, stupid or less than in some way, but brings us to equality and shared values. It transcends all the barriers we have put between us – gender, age, colour, race, religion, nationality, culture – and brings us back to the truth, that we all share a knowing we have in common. Having common sense does not make us ‘common’, or a ‘commoner’, in the commonly used sense of the word, but makes us part of a community.
Paul: So in practical terms, what are we talking about?