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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Effective Value of Common Sense

What a waste it is to lose misuse one's mind.

English: Common Sense logo, high resolution ve...Image via Wikipedia

Related source » Common sense - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: 'via Blog this'
[This related source is recommended in its entirety.]

“Common-sense ideas tend to relate to events within human experience (such as good will), and thus appear commensurate with human scale. Humans lack any common-sense intuition of, for example, the behavior of the universe at subatomic distances [see Quantum mechanics], or of speeds approaching that of light [see Special relativity]. Often ideas that may be considered to be true by common sense are in fact false.”
— From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The effective value of common sense is grossly exaggerated. It can not be otherwise, if for no other reason than that most people believe they are above average. Moreover, common sense has a very limited range of validity, ordinarily not to be extrapolated beyond one's experiential familiarity and acquired knowledge. And in the common sense of the word "common", common acquired-knowledge is vanishingly small relative to the entire corpus of human knowledge. As a consequence, it can be argued that, in common usage, common sense is effectively common nonsense.

Punning aside, allow me to posit that the acquired knowledge which is of fundamental importance, albeit rarely appreciated, is the knowledge of the extent of one's ignorance. Knowing what one knows, and more importantly what one doesn't or can not know, is the first step toward building a personal storehouse of common sense that one can apply with a modicum of confidence. With this premise in hand we can examine a scheme for optimizing the rational application of common sense in our free society. Think of it as a leveraged hierarchy of delegated governance in our representative democracy.

No one person, without exception, can lead the United States towards a more-nearly perfect union of 50 States, some 2500 counties, encompassing nearly a third of a billion people, comprising the world's largest economy and a military of super-power proportions. It is absurd to suppose otherwise. The best we can hope for is an astute electorate that could, in principal, organize a hierarchical leadership-structure so as to harness the effective common sense and effectively-positioned expertise of the populus.

How would this scheme function in a Presidential election, given that enough people bought-in to the concept (as if)? A common-sensical voter would understand that his best choice would have to be based on a determination of which candidate most closely complements the voter's best interests for himself and his country. His determination would have to be influenced only by his own effective-value common sense, taking into account only what he believed to be the true intentions, capabilities, and trustworthiness of the candidate. Each candidate, in turn, would understand his own cognitive limitations and his abilities to choose the best advisers so as to arm himself with the indirect knowledge required to make good decisions in the pursuit of his perceived best interests of the Nation as a whole.

What are the odds? Not so good, I'm afraid. The vast majority of voters will cast their vote for the candidate who best resembles what his or her choice would have been for junior high-school class-president. That would have been the boy or girl they would have liked to go with to the dance. I needn't point out that in many cases such a boy or girl did not end up being the most likely to succeed as an adult.

Post 1,762 Effective Value of Common Sense

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