Friday Night Rant #801: The Fine Art Of Common Sense Thinking

I’m actually not keeping track of the rants. It was just the first number that popped into my head. But then again, that’s worth ranting about. People who just pull numbers out of the air and broadcast them as real to a bunch of lazyass people who are willing to believe those numbers because this guy is on their side of the great divide and, of course, is in possession of all the truth that matters.

Anyone who knows me and has for the last 20 years been digesting my stuff could find that number easy to believe, Those who don’t will automatically assume it’s some kind of bullsh#t and ignore me.

And that’s pretty much the way of things in the world today. There is too much information, all of which is purporting to be the truth. The rest of it is all lies of convenience.

These play on your ignorance and laziness, which all of us are prone to, and our willingness to believe just about anything that helps fill in the blanks of our own narrative.

When I was in university, lo those many years ago, I took a second-year course in something called historiography, which was essentially the study of historians.

The idea of historiography is simple. If you want to find out the truth about something that happened back in the day, you have to actually read at least three and sometimes maybe more historical accounts of that event, then figure out what the bias of the author was then think it through and find the middle ground. That can usually give you a pretty accurate picture of what actually happened.

And that was great because the biases were easy to identify and they were merely differing points of view as opposed to what we have today.

Today we have the reality, the biases informing the opinions of that reality, and a third little bonus called the lies.

So now, not only do you have to figure out the objective reality of the situation, but you also have to figure out the why concerning the lies, and to be truly thorough, factor that into your search for reality.

Now for the average person, or even the average writer looking to understand the reality of any given event in history, this becomes monumentally difficult.

It is, indeed, much easier to simply take a side and not have to go through all the mental acrobatics of trying to truly understand.

And this is where we are today. With too many people entrenched in narratives that very well may not have anything to do with reality. And you can’t really explain this too them, because they are simply not open to anything that might be a dissenting opinion, because, frankly it hurts their head to think about it.

Fortunately for the world, this is not the majority of people. Because if it were, we would still be riding around on buckboards and making sure we had enough firewood to get us through the winter.

But it is a substantial enough number of people to actually keep the whole of us from taking a lot of things to the next level.

A good example would be eradicating the Covid 19 plague.

There are simply too many people who have been convinced that this is some kind of government plot to control them instead of a medical emergency that can only be solved with near 100% participation. And that all the simple things everyone can do to help get it under control are draconian Big Brother tactics from governments that are too much with us.

There is a whole list of items on this particular agenda. From the Israel – Palestine conflict to the ‘Big Lie’ US election theory. And all of these issues have, for the reasons I have outlined. created incredible polarization between who know bullshit when they see it and people who are being fed too much misinformation in the guise of news and editorial commentary and even simple social media posts and comments and don; ’t have the intellectual facility to see it for what it really is.

In its own way, it can make you believe that our ability to understand the larger issues is inversely proportional to the number of differing opinions coming at us every day about those issues.

The only solution I can see comes in the form of two simple words. Common Sense,

Most of us have the facility to look at any given issue and apply their common sense to it. Most of us can look at any given issue and see the rightness or wrongness of it.

But too many of us, especially these days, are too easily influenced by the gargantuan waves of opinion, left right and centre, and outright bullshit that is coming at us from just about everywhere.

Tuning out that noise is very difficult.  Paradoxically so because your common sense tells you that the more you know about something, the easier it will be to decide on its veracity.

What we really need to learn to do is use our common sense to identify the noise, the rumours, exaggeration, the innuendo, the propaganda, the unsubstantiated opinions, and the outright fiction.

It can be done. It’s not the easiest kind of work, but it is doable and if you want to be carrying around an accurate idea of the way the world is, it’s in your best interest to always do the work.

End of rant.


Jim Murray
Jim Murray
I have been a writer since the age of 14. I started writing short stories and poetry. From there I graduated to writing lyrics for various bands and composers and feature-length screenplays, two of which have been produced. I had a  20-year career in senior positions in Canadian and multi-national agencies and a second career, which began in 1989, (Onwords & Upwords Inc), as a strategic and creative resource. Early in 2020, I closed Onwords & Upwords and effectively retired. I am now actively engaged, through blogging and memes, in showcasing businesses that are part of the green revolution. I am also writing short stories which I will be marketing to film production companies. I live with my wife, Heather, in the beautiful Niagara Region of southern Ontario, after migrating from Toronto, where I spent most of my adult life.

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  1. Jim — I don’t disagree with you re “common sense,” but to me, the real problem plaguing us lies upstream. I do a lot of work with school districts around purpose-setting, ie. what they’re trying to accomplish on behalf of the kids and community they serve. To effectively support their kids, a school system has to have a “North Star,” a single agreed-upon point on the horizon to which EVERYONE is walking, hiking, crawling, paddling, driving or whatever. If you don’t have agreement on that, you all wind up going in different directions, and the kids suffer.

    Here’s the ugly truth about our country. As a nation, we don’t have a North Star. Oh, we have aspirational values written into this document and carved into that plaque. But agreement? Nah. And we never have. You can go all the way back to the “Founding Fathers” and realize that divisions based on personal, local, and regional interests have always simmered / boiled below the surface. The roots of the Civil War started way before April 12,1861. And that’s why TODAY five conservative-minded counties in Oregon want to secede from Oregon and join Idaho. That’s why Texas periodically thinks about seceding from the union or California plays with the idea of dividing itself into two states. That’s why GOP led state legislatures are writing restrictive voting laws.

    People like to point out that the collective “we” comes together in times of crisis, but that’s a bit of bullsh*t if you look at WWII. We still had rampant segregation in the military, strikes by labor unions, and internment camps for Japanese Americans. COVID 19 and climate change, two major existential crises, and “we” can agree whether either is real or how “we” should combat them.

    The problem is that “we” lack sense, and “we” lack common.

    • I study the US from a perch here in Canada. I grew up in a border town and spent a lot of my youth in the US. It’s a great country, both because of and despite the differences in ideology. But right now, your country seems to be going through period of extreme imbalance. Mostly caused by under the table money from the rich and corporations to right wing politicians to get them to keep wages and taxes low and destroy the idea of environmental protection. This imbalance is what bothers me the most. Because it’s fueled not just differences of opinion, but out right hate. It’s gonna take a long time before that heals, if indeed it ever can be healed.

  2. Jim: I’ll avoid any references to old Sam Clemens here, as his statistics citation… Sorry, I said I wouldn’t do that. Good stuff, and timely, of course. Truth is a slippery devil these days, that’s for sure. Maybe common sense is the answer? Or maybe ‘follow the money.’



    • I do a lot of following the money. Here is Canada we don;’t jhave as much money to follow as the US, but it’s still there.The Conservatives want to stash it all in an offshore account. The LIberals want to spend more than we have to take care of everybody fairly. Which is why money isn’t just the root of all evil. It’s the root of all good.