What Happened to Common Sense – Are People Really that Clueless?

What is it about society today that makes thinking and acting like a complete idiot and okay thing to do? Where have our personal morals gone? Why does no one believe in karma anymore? Why is doing the right thing so difficult for so many? When will we, as a society, learn that the most valuable asset we have to offer this world and those around us is the ability of the human brain to use common sense? Seriously, what happened to common freaking sense?

In a world that has been designed, to be intricately fair and judicial – especially advanced and brilliant – we are lacking in one of the most basic of abilities of the human brain. To think and act clearly, and with common sense.

As parents, we spend most of our time trying to teach our children how to use common sense. Don’t climb on the bookcase, because it might fall over and hurt you. Don’t hit your sister because it is not nice and you will get in trouble. If you take the lid off your sippy cup, it will spill on the floor. If you stab yourself with a fork in the eye during dinner, it will hurt you. If you speak when the teacher is talking, you will get in trouble.

The list of things we teach children to do and value in life is virtually endless. And the most important parental lesson is to instill common sense in our children. For what? Because apparently from the headlines of late and the general actions of society as a whole – by the time so many people reach adulthood, they have literally no common sense left. Suddenly life is about living in the moment and not thinking about consequences or personal responsibilities that we may have to others and ourselves. Life is lived precariously from one moment to the other.

Should Starbucks and McDonalds really be forced to label hot chocolate and coffee with a warning that says the contents are hot? Do crib manufacturers and stroller companies really have to spend the billions of dollars explaining to parents what to do and what not to do in order to protect their business. Isn’t it common sense that tells us most of these things? Does a court really need to step in and decide that what Sandusky did was morally wrong? Are movie ratings really responsible for making choices that parents should make in regard to what is appropriate for their kids to watch?

Look inside your car, and you will see at least one, if not two clearly printed, permanent labels that explain the dangers of air bags in your car. And, you will see another printed warning that says the safest place for an infant or baby is in the backseat. Speaking of baby, is labeling clothes with fire retardant labels really necessary?

The list of endless crap that only signifies society has lost its ability to use common sense is completely endless. Today, courts are spending millions of dollars on bogus court cases and ridiculous bickerings between individuals who didn’t choose to utilize their common sense and then want to blame someone else for their ignorance.

Recently, there was an article in the New York Times about a group of people that got together and were collaboratively suing fast food establishments for making them fat. Whatever happened to personal choices and personal accountability? Did someone force-feed these people Big Macs and Apple Pies, and Whoppers accompanied by Coke? How about warnings on toothpaste containers that tell people NOT to eat toothpaste. Really, is that necessary? Because in a normal society, where people used common sense – they would already be clear that eating toothpaste is not in their own best interest.

A case study out of Psychology Today explains the lack of common sense like this. Apparently, as people become more and more intelligent, the natural progression to remain in a novelty seeking state of adolescence. The higher the IQ, the higher chance that the person will lack what is known as civilities or common sense. Perhaps, we as a society are becoming so intelligent in our technological ways – that we are losing our abilities to be stabilized and functional in a society that requires common sense to run smoothly. Maybe, just maybe this is why the world we live in today is the way it is. Somehow, however, it seems that this theory that is explained by high thinkers – actually using their pragmatic approach to life to over think the every day, simple aspects of life and make them difficult is hard to swallow.

The lack of common sense boils down to two things. Selfishness and ego. People today place so much stock in being right all the time, in winning – even when there is nothing to win or lose, that they have lost touched with the most basic of human functions. Common sense.

Before long, the lack of common sense and the placement of burden on every one and everything else in this world to accommodate it, will cause people to discontinue thinking at all. At least for themselves. Then what?

Maybe instead of college exit exams and papers, in lieu of graduation exams and standardized testing – success should be measured in one’s ability to function self sufficiently in a world that is much simpler than we could every believe. Imaginably, each of us would be ever curious about those who could pass the common sense test of life – and who would not.



16 Responses

  1. I like that you touched on personal responsibility. I’ve personally complained about that myself in the past 5 yrs. or more. The other issue is parents that want to be friends with thier kids and not parents. They think it is the schools roll to teach kids everything there is to know in life. The other subset is parents that are almost cometely disengaged in their childrens life due to substance abuse. When the parents are incapable of discerning right from wrong, how can they adequately instill the difference in thier own child. That brings me to my final point, that legal and illegal have replaced right and wrong in the minds of far too many these days. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. “But its perfectly legal!” . The justice system here in the US was originally set up to provide legal recourse for those who believe they have been wronged. Now it has become a revenue stream for large and small communities alike, with zero resemblance to its original intent. These days it seems everyone wants to get away with whatever they can. Great article on a subject that needs to be addressed sooner than later.

  2. I completely agree. Sometimes I look around and think what is happening? Is everybody stupid or just ignorant? This article is spot on. We are becoming a society of useful idiots for the politicians and law makers. We have allowed our children to be brainwashed and indoctrinated into believing that they can not think for themselves. That they have to go along to get along. It’s maddening to me how easily it happened.

  3. Dear Mr. Daniel: I am an author presently working on a non-fiction book title “Why Are We hear.” It is an examination of what brought America to this point in time. One section of the book deal with “common sense.” I would like to reprint your article if you would grant permission. My email address is below. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

    Robert J. Emery

    1. This is exactly what this article is about. The lack of common sence. The facts about vaccines has changed as experts have studied covid and learned how it has mutated. Unless you have a degree in infectious disease you clearly are lacking the common sence required to make your statement.

    1. Yes I believe trying to be politically correct is part of the reason for the loss of common sense. If we would only leave that alone and ask ourselves “does what I’m doing really make sense?”, we would be better off .

  4. We need to get over the hot coffee at McDonald’s thing. The coffee was being kept at an unsafe temperature and she got severe burns all she wanted was an apology but they wouldn’t give it to her so she sued. She wasn’t stupid or lacking common sense.

    1. Make a pot of coffee and pour it on yourself. Now, was that hot and did it burn you? Yes, of course it did. Seems like spilling coffee causing burns is pretty obvious. I mean, coffee is made by passing BOILING water over ground, roasted coffee beans. I think it is definitely common sense that boiling water burns you.

      1. Yes, hot coffee will burn you. Which brings me to the point that in our culture today we do not allow our children to experience the the consequences of their actions or decisions. Now this may seem heartless or cruel, but I’m not suggesting anything extreme. At some point our children must begin making their own decisions as part of the maturing process. I believe, when those decisions result in trouble for them we are far to quick to rush in an fix things. We should let our children figure out how to solve the problems they’ve gotten in to( within reason). Let them sweat a little. We can still be supportive, but let them figure it out. I wager they will, and be wiser and more self assured for the experience.

  5. Honesty, one of the lost arts. Lacking common sense is a sign that life skills are not being taught to the young. School and collages are to busy push their idea of what society should be. I was taught that you integrity was the most important thing that you can have and don’t compromise it for anything or anyone.

  6. Living in a young people world where the lack following society rules that govern behavior is I guess no longer a thing it is okay to throw things at others when you don’t get what you think you are entitled to. There is no shortage of book smart people however they are perplexed when faced with filling their car with gas and not even the picture instructions will help them yet they can tell all the atoms that make up the gas they.cant.use.it.

  7. “Common sense” is the product of Cause and Effect thinking! Learn to do that and you will be amazed at the outcome.

  8. Good lord no matter how you slice it the comments above show just how uneducated this country has become—no basic sense of grammar at all…

  9. A lot of the loss of common sense is due to the computerization of our lives. Software engineers strive to make their particular program (or part of a larger program) “bullet proof”. Meaning that the program will never break. However, in SW engineering there is a warning: “You can never make a program ‘foolproof’ because fools are so ingenious”. But that Holy Grail of engineering remains as an ultimate goal. The result is that you, as a user, must turn off your common sense and simply follow the rules precisely or you will experience failure. The failure never being the engineer’s fault, but yours because, for a microsecond, you thought on your own. As prevalent as the computer, and it’s attendant “micro processing”, is in all the things that we use all day everyday, we have been slowly, almost imperceptibly, taught, indoctrinated, not to use our common sense.

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