Monday, August 22, 2005

Have we lose our capacity for common sense?

"It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this."
- Bertrand Russell, English philosopher and mathematician (1872-1970)

This discrepancy bothered me for many years as well. How could it be that humanity progressed in a fairly logical form for thousands of years when so many of us in the present act randomly or arbitrarily?

The only conclusion I find acceptable is that logical thinking (a.k.a. common sense) is taught to children, or is not. Children who are taught to consider consequences to their actions before committing to them grow to be adults who have common sense, and who have enough of it to have influence over their respective communities or they become leaders. Children who are not proactively taught to consider consequences of their behaviour before doing something have such random or disorganized lives that they have less influence on their communites.

Russell, it seems, could see stupid or unaccountable behaviour in people around him, but failed to take into account the logical behaviour of others who, to him, did not breach his intellectual radar.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' trying to make sense of the world by teaching people to consider consequences of what they do before doing it.
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