There is a war going on in our country, but it isn’t against drugs, homelessness or poverty. It’s the war against common sense and it has been raging for generations, but I fear the battle has finally been won – common sense has perished.
I’m sure you’ve see the evidence just like I have.
We now require commercials to tell parents not to let their children eat laundry detergent pods.
We have to have advertisements to instruct people not to take a medication or supplement if they are allergic to its ingredients.
We have to tell people that their hot beverage is, in fact, hot.
And my personal favorite, we have a legal system that actually awarded $13million to an individual because he did not actually grow wings when he drank Red Bull.
I think it was the last one that actually killed poor common sense, but I continue to see evidence of his demise on a daily basis.
Facebook is a common offender. People post and re-post articles information without thinking twice about either the content or its source.We as a culture have seemingly forgotten the ability to actually review content and determine fact from fiction for ourselves.
The news item which triggered this for me was a post from a far right-wing website which stated that the American Psychiatric Association was condoning pedophilia. The article served its purpose – it created a bonfire of hatred against the LGBT population and furthered the belief that the LGBT population are all sexually perverted predators.
The original statements quoted in the article were pulled from a conference discussion that took place in 2014 at Cambridge but became news now, of course, due to the North Carolina “bathroom law”.
I cannot argue that the statements weren’t inflammatory or disturbing. But what bothered me about this particular post was the fact that a statement by one individual 2 years ago was being portrayed as a new position by a highly respected medical association and that those who were forwarding the post were unwilling to even do a little Google search to see if the APA had, in fact, changed it’s stance on pedophilia…which it hasn’t.
For the record, I did to that Google search and found the following information:
The American Psychological Association maintains that pedophilia is a mental disorder; that sex between adults and children is always wrong; and that acting on pedophilic impulses is and should be a criminal act. The American Psychological Association has worked for many years to prevent child sexual abuse and will continue to do so.
We as a society have somehow lost the ability to question the things we read or hear. If it’s on the internet or stated on television, it must be true, right?
I know school has changed since I was there many, many years ago, but I am fairly certain that deductive reasoning and problem solving skills are still being taught throughout all levels of education. What happened to our ability and willingness to transfer those skills to what we read on the internet, hear on the news, read in the paper, or hear from others?
I used to think we were so afraid of offending others that we were no longer question the things we were told, read or heard, but as I look at the sheer volume of hatred that spews from the mouths and keyboards of individuals on a daily basis, it seems that we have become so self-centered and callous that we relish every opportunity to slander and crucify those who think, look or feel differently than we do.
And from my perspective, this all stems from the total annihilation of common sense.
The definition of common sense is to be ability to think and behave in a reasonable way and to make good decisions. This suggests that we actually spend time gathering additional information about a given topic before determining our perspective on the matter.
Unfortunately, I think we have been somewhat brainwashed to believe that because the information is coming from a computer, it must be completely accurate. We fail to remember that that same tool – the computer – is an unbiased, inanimate object that can only regurgitate the information that has been input into it.
Additionally, we have become so dependent upon our technology to provide us with “the right answers” (read the answers we want it to support) we have forgotten that the information we get from our beloved phones, computers, and iPads has been input by individuals with ulterior motives.
We have forgotten that our job is to actually use the brains were have been given to gather, analyze and synthesize information from a variety of places and only then determine our personal feelings about a matter.
So here is my wish.
I wish that we find a way to resurrect common sense from his burial ground and restore our ability to reason rather than misinterpret; to find a way to grant mercy to those who we see as different rather than condemn; to treat our lives and those around us as precious commodities instead of rubbish.
It’s a big wish, I know, but I think it’s possible. Challenging, yes, but possible.
Maybe we begin by focusing less our ourselves and more on others, thinking about how our actions and words affect others before we do or say them, and above all, treating everyone we encounter with respect regardless of whether we fall on the same side of an issue.
Regardless of how we accomplish it, I sincerely hope that we are able to find a way to resurrect common sense from the dead..