Common sense. It’s so common that it’s not even. We use the words in terms of what people should know, but rarely consider just how uncommon it might be.
If things were common sense, would we need to define them as such? Probably not, because everybody would be well aware and already doing such things. Sometimes defining words helps to see just what they truly mean.
Common: occurring, found, or done often; prevalent.
Sense: a feeling that something is the case.
Those definitions are courtesy of a Google Search. Looking at them would say that common sense is something that is often found and done a certain way. For instance, touching a hot stove would result in learning a lesson to not do that again. That would seem, dare we say, the sensible solution.
So who determines what is common? It’d be useful to think that an overall body of people would be responsible for defining common sense. The fact of the matter is that my world is a very small world, in comparison to the population on Earth. What’s common in my house is different from in somebody else’s. What’s common in my city is different from what is common in yours (perhaps).
We often use common sense as an easy way out of explaining something to somebody.
“Did you teach them how to do (xyz)?” “Well, I thought it was common sense.” Perhaps it was, or perhaps it wasn’t. The fact is that what may be common to you or I may be completely foreign to another person or people’s. Using the common sense argument can be an easy way out at times. It’s not always, but clearly is at times.
I’m guilty of using the term as well. Like with all of my writing, I do it to help myself as much as other people. It’s harder to commit the silliness I write about when I teach it to other people. That’s common sense. Or, perhaps it’s not.