Monday, October 18, 2010

Common Sense

The first time I heard of the quote “Common sense is very uncommon”, I thought of it as a funny piece of truth. However, that is when it first occurred to me, who’s to say what’s right is not left? Who has the right to define logic as safe and sound? After all, logic is the basis of every science ever known, from music to chemistry, and is a list of rules and theories of the way the universe works or supposed to work, but have you ever thought that logic started with a ‘this is that’ mindset, not based on reason, but on experiment?

For example, to say that early man was probably experimenting with different vegetation to find what is edible or not, and probably classified them on a basis of what harmed him, and possibly what tasted better. But later on, man found that some foods cannot be eaten raw, but cooked, other foods served as medicine when properly used.
Moving on to the modern world, there is nothing better to express the absurdity of logic than mathematics. Geometry and graphical representation is always involved with discoveries. That is, we are trying to find out how physical dimensions interact with our predefined logic. A good example would be the problem otherwise known as ‘Squaring the circle’, as well as the discovery of ‘Fractals’.

Recently, it was discovered that classical mechanics is limited to explaining phenomena on the large scale, and thus quantum mechanics was developed to explain phenomena on the sub-atomic (or quantum) scale. This, however, meant the complete re-writing of science all over again, because phenomena like light where found to be made of massless (not negligible, absolutely massless) particles which could actually behave as both, a particle, and a wave, simultaneously; a condition known as the ‘wave-particle duality’, which, even as of today, is still not understood properly. Another example is the discovery of the 4th state of matter, plasma, which is not yet incorporated into the curriculums of most schools today, but that’s a whole different issue.

Therefore, we can deduce that the problem with modern science is not the fact that our initial philosophies are found to be wrong on a daily basis (a flat Earth, anyone?), but the fact that we are in a paradox of continually proving and disproving theories, all in an effort to understand how the little clogs of a universe really move – and what triggers them.

Now we can go back to our initial problem, the infrequency and unfamiliarity of common sense. The problem is not that common sense is uncommon; the problem is that common sense is self-contradictory, made up of elements that we were strictly told to be completely true - without proof - compared and contrasted with our discoveries of everyday life.

Just as it would be perfectly logical to think that two chefs would be able to cook the exact cake, if they are given the same ingredients; it is not absurd to think that every person can come to the exact same conclusion to the way things work – in other words, common sense – since they are both living on the same Earth, and experiencing the same phenomena. The difference, however, is the scale that we are talking about. I personally do not believe that humans can ever achieve true common sense, firstly because their lifetimes are not long enough, secondly because we aren’t smart enough, but mostly, because we don’t want to achieve common sense – everyone loves a good debate! Remember that logic moves 2 ways. Man could’ve always made a positive number negative and a negative number positive, flipped all that we know of science upside down, and all the rules would still be in place.

NB: This piece was written with the use of sense. The accuracy or factuality of it is therefore absolutely uncertain.

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