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Words of Wisdom ...or so it seems...


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Monday, 8 September 2008

And so she ponders...

Common sense. We love to tell others to use their common sense when they do something, or not do what they are suppose to do. It's a short cut basically, having to spare nagging about what one should or should not do. "Use your common sense lar". We hear those words everyday. No? Well, maybe it's just me then.

But what is common sense? For those who are too lazy to click on the hyperlink, here's a rough definition;

"Common " consists of what people in common would agree on: that which they "sense" (in common) as their common natural understanding. Some people[who?] use the phrase to refer to beliefs or propositions that — in their opinion — most people would consider prudent and of sound judgment, without reliance on esoteric knowledge or study or research, but based upon what they see as knowledge held by people "in common". Thus "common sense" (in this view) equates to the knowledge and experience which most people allegedly have, or which the person using the term believes that they do or should have.

So, what if many people okay-ed a certain act viewed as unacceptable yesterday, and imprudence suddenly becomes, common ? For example, not queuing up, or not getting up for people who are in need of a seat? When everyone thinks it is okay to push and pull, as long as they get to the seat first. There are some places where people just don't know the meaning of "queue". No, say you? Have you taken a ride on our LRT lately? If you have, then you will know what I mean.

I always joke about how the letter "Q" is an under utilized letter in the National language. (the words that are derived from Arabic or Persian or English language do not count, because, they are after all...Arabic,Persian and English, no matter how many "i"s you add at the end of each word or "lar" at the end of each sentence ...Gee...I've just described the National Language in one sentence) That is why most Malaysians are not familiar with "Q"ing....

What if everyone refuse to queue , or think that because it is such a short ride in the public transportation, it is okay to let a pregnant woman stand up during the journey. Well, it is a dilemma when it comes to giving pregnant ladies my seat. I once gave my seat up to a woman who gave me a confused then irritated look because I must have insulted her by thinking that the 5kg of fat she's carrying in her belly was not a baby. But the bewildering part was, she took the seat!!!

In the end, I refuse to sit down when I take the LRT. It saves a lot of mind hassle, like the one that went on in Smeagol's from Lord of The Rings. I was referring to it's fickle mind..."Are you nuts!!....you should not give that seat to that fat lady...you'd be doing her a favor letting her stand and burn more calories just by standing and trying to balance herself in the train..." only to have the other part of me say,"but what if she IS pregnant...or she's fat not because she's lazy and eat like a pig but because of some medical condition. You will not be able to forgive yourself and you will stay up all night arguing with your conscience". You get the picture..

Sorry, I digress...but yes, imagine if everyone misbehaves and people think it is common to do so. Then common sense could mean, trample on top of each others' heads to get to point A. Let the blind man stand by the door so that it is easier for him to got out and not have to squeeze himself through the crowd just to get out of the train. (although the latter doesn't sound as bad as the first one). So what will constitute "common"? It's like a modern application of Einstein's theory of relativity. "I'm not short, you're just too tall"...You know what they say. Today's hero may be tomorrow's zero.

Really. I'm sending this question to the vast void of the Universe. What will happen when...common sense becomes... nonsense?????

2 comments:

Jiziah said...

Usually I use my heart to steer me into doing what is right or wrong...plus the advices given by my mum, grandmother, teachers, lecturers, sifus...and from what I have read in the Quran, Hadis, Kitab Ihya Ulumiddin etc.

Therefore sometimes I do 'uncommon' things that goes against what is considered as the 'common' norm of today....to do what I consider is right by virtue...Does that means I do not have "Common Sense"?

Well..if I go by "Survival of the Fittest"(Darwin)...than at times I do what might be termed as "common sense" or logical...or just for sheer survival...I understand where you are coming from and what you are trying to convey...
because I am a public transport user myself...you name it LRT, Monorails, buses etc...

I have to nudge my way out of cramped commuter trains and nudge my way in ( but I do let people go out first before going in and vice versa...NOT like some people who simply push in before the passengers go out...gee wheez..are they doing the common thing???...)

So it all boils down...to the situation and context and ....at times I am the odd ball...not doing the 'common' thing because I have soft spots for the elderly, pregnant and children and the unluckier ones....and do things that people say are not common anymore...like HELPING people...(but here I have to be cautious though coz we are living in a dangerous world nowadays)

So what is 'common' and to want to do the 'common' thing...depends entirely on you...Do I have 'Common Sense"??...I think I do....but to do the 'common' accepted thing and have the sense of doing the 'common' things...well..it depends...

I have been known to be the "odd-one-out"....it is lonely sometimes to stand up to your principles and values...so 'Common Sense" anyone???

pah nur said...

Thanx jiziah for your comment...

I know what you mean, standing alone when you stick by a certain principles you fight for in life...sigh...remember that song by Billy Joel?

"Honesty, such a lonely word.." there's more to the list actually..there's integrity, sincerity,loyalty....sigh...