Written by Dr. Geeta Sundar

Common sense is overrated. Its highly misplaced. Its even highly not common, contrary to the way it was labelled. It is a sense that has lost its way, since so many people, herd immunity or not, are not accustomed to realising where it lies!

  1. I’m examining a patient. The relative is standing next to me, so close, she can count the hairs on the nape of my neck. I am adjusting and shuffling my stance. I’m sure she knows she needs to move, but sadly, her common sense, wont work. She doesn’t move. She needs me telling her repeatedly to give me place to execute my examination on my patient.
  • A couple of patient bystanders reach ahead of me near the lift. We all want to go upwards from the ground floor. But instead of pressing where they wish to go, i.e. upwards, they end up pushing downwards, towards the basement and we have to wait an eternity before we can head upwards to the destined floors.
  •  “So, there is no other problem, right?”. God, for each time I hear this question, if I could add a dollar to my account, I’d own more than what Trump does! “No, Mr X has a brain tumor, its encroaching on his eloquent areas, he may never speak again if we go ahead with surgery, and there maybe a lot more postoperative complications as we discussed, but yes, sure, you are asking if there is no other problem, so surely, I’ll say it’s not big problem and everything is dandy, right?”

I could give a dozen more examples, but I’m sure they are far too many and far too easy to find. I’m of the understanding that common sense, the very entity, is our ability to perceive and understand the outside world. The whole basis of the GCS scoring is the ability to respond and understand our interaction with a surrounding world based on the ARAS, thalamus, basal forebrain via the input of the sense organs and comprehend the situation. The fallacy we face then, with common sense is probably related to underdeveloped frontal lobes and the interlobar pathways, is it? Or is there a deeper connection of the neocortex, one of yet unknown escalations that lies within?

We have reached a point where we can easily point out that vision, hearing, smell, and touch commence the whole process of making us aware, but we are miles behind in exactly pinpointing the multiple intricate crossfire relationships each of these information pathways have with – the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, temporal and parietal lobes, or corpus callosum, or in simple lay man’s language – with memories, with personal subjective experiences, spatial adaptation, and cognizance?

And whence why the importance of education, of social behaviour, constructed from childhood into adulthood, episodes of candour, of emotions, of consciousness, play important roles in defining what is common as a sense for one individual over another. It’s a part of life, its an acquisition, and it’s partly inbuilt defence and wisdom, and it isn’t something to use – rather it just exists.

So, common as it is, as common as the DNA in our body, it’s as extensively structured as a billion galaxies in the universe, and I’d leave this with a quote – “common sense is a genius dressed in his working clothes.”

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