Friday 13 November 2009

Common sense is not so common

Rousseau cannot be more right while uttering: Common sense is not so common. When one realises that individuals around you cannot fathom something as common sense, it is definitely very irksome. Take for example, the windows of the train. While it is raining the passengers near the windows move away but do not close the window. If they stopped to think of the vast crowds of people that will soon fill the train but will not have seats, they will for sure close the windows. as a result the seats will be wet and hence unoccupied. Another fellow passenger, few days ago had the thought but not the common sense. She was talking over the phone in one hand and with the other was attempting to close the window but unsuccessfully. She tried doing this for a couple of times but the gave up. Her complaint: The windows are too tight and cannot close. I, who was a witness to all this, immediately got up and closed the widows using both the hands. Is that not a case of lacking simple common sense.

We live in a colony where each block has four houses. We live in the first floor. After the incessant rains in the past week, the stairs are filled with grime and mud. Our neighbour cleans only the part that is in front of her house but leaves out the rest. Now this is a mighty case of not having the common sense to keep the place clean. People show selfishness in small instances as these.

Sometimes when people are asked to pick up some stray papers that spot the otherwise clean area; They say: "But I have not thrown that paper, why should I clean it?" They very fact that the place will look better if not for that paper does not strike their minds but more so the fact that they should do something that was not caused by them is their concern.

These tendencies of the common sense was restricted to a definite age-group previously and so could be let off by saying, "Oh! its the age, you see." But now, almost people belonging to various age-groups exhibit their foibles. My grouse is that why do simple things not strike people. They can understand rocket-science but normal everyday common-sense eludes them. Now I am wondering whether this is cultural . . .


  1. I don't know whether it is cultural, but it is definitely a part of the upbringing. Where we are thought to think about self, before others. Didn't many of India's kings do the same thing? To save themselves, they sided with the invaders and later themselves got dumped. We have a long history, right since the Nanda kings of Patliputra who refused to help the kings on the western frontier against the invading Alexander.

    So, if the property isn't mine, if I haven't spent money or efforts in procuring it, why should I maintain it?

  2. It prolly is cultural, you know.

    Not about lacking common sense, but about lacking common courtesy..

    Have you ever dropped something in a crowded place? People wont stop to help you..

    Indians dont seem to be wired that way..I dont want to generalise..but it really holds true for most of us..and I'm including myself here..

  3. Vinay: I agree when you say upbringing. All of them are not like that. While Americans endorse individualism, they score high on politeness and common sense.

    Bluey: It distresses me to think that something which is quite obvious is overlooked by our fellow citizens. Why can't they be observant and extend outside their 'self.'



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