It should be common sense to make common sense common, shouldn’t it? Well it is not that common at all and that is what the world has in common. Why is it so? For a simple reason – an opinion is often confused with the truth of things, a theory is confused with fact. The more people adopt an opinion the “more true” it gets as a sort of a shared delusion that consoles. Common sense will therefore sometimes mean standing alone, a hard thing to do for a social being, but necessary none the less. Think independently of the accidental roulette of being born into a certain cultural framework, dogmatic system or a set of traditions and truths offered as ready-made commodities for consumption. The chances that any significant part of it is true are slim at best and the chances that all of it is true are nonexistent. Opinions are usually archeological layers of nature/nurture/experiences/filters/learnt behaviors/unexamined habits/easy ways out of complex issue and they don’t necessarily align with the truth.
So how do we make common sense explicit? Ask. Ask questions and try to find wholes in the arguments of opinions – not disrespectfully, not to be rude, but to understand and figure out the validity of the claim itself if there is any chance this claim might be something you’re’ considering accepting into your own cognitive landscape.
Don’t take everything as given, some things are just plain wrong, a large chunk of common belief is exactly that – a singular belief that, by accident or on purpose, spread as if it were the truth. There are things that are experiential, personal and solipsistic – actually true for that one singular experience, but we’re a pattern seeking consciousness. We need to get as close to truth as we can by hearing as many examples of half-truths as we can, like we’re conducting a personal pole on being alive and the meaning of all things.
No need to do the Socrates hard core thing and walk barefoot with a significant disregard for personal hygiene and badger people at the town market with questions on the meaning of life while they’re shopping for asparagus. No need to drink poison and die in martyrdom for your beliefs because the community doesn’t understand what you’re trying to do. Just ask. Go and get to the bottom of thins or keep digging until you can at least conceptualize the bottom line or truth in what happened. Amidst all of the strange things we’ll be faced with the pursuit of truth seems like a worthwhile mission. If you’re good enough at communicating to spread it coherently once you learn it, even better. At the end you might not find the truth at all and confuse your own opinions as the truth once again, but you at least tried to find it and that’s something. It’s not a single point we arrive to, it’s a work in progress and it takes a lifetime.