'Barriers to Common Sense' implies the fabrication of psychological mechanisms that blocks the means of access to the Common Sense. For every situation there is a precise Common Sense. In most of the incidences of daily life, we are clear in our unintentional mind about the right action but we are in the habit of ignoring them.
Why do we drag our feet? By observing real life incidences we could come to certain points to name and understand the nature and effects of these barriers. To the moment, we have collected some incidences which would show you how barriers grab us in a sudden stroke and recurrent strokes assure its repetitive application. You may also see around you for such incidences.
Once I was traveling from Allahabad to my home town. I met a person in the journey who runs his own school in the town and turned out to be a relative of me. I asked why you chose school why not some other business. He replied- I AM NOT BUSINESSMAN! and kept silent. After few minutes he shared his story with me. He said, “I have been brought up in a small town-village which has inherited the traits of a backward place. I was genius in maths and it was my hatrick for 100/100 in finals. Most inspiring things in my life were my father's words: 'I want you to be very happy in your life; I want you to become someone very big.' I entered my ninth class; I had no other option but to study in a local Government college. On the name of teaching it was not worth talking so I felt the need of tuition classes. The math's teacher's father was running his coaching class and everybody advised me to join that because refusing maths teacher to join his father's tuition class means poor marks more surely a fail. I went there but I was not able to solve sums under his guidance. To be frank, no student was able; they were taking help from other sources. So I decided not to go there.
My parents were not that much aware of education to understand these things, they were expecting me to learn in school class room. Nobody cared enough to manage me some other support neither do I.
I failed in my ninth class half yearly examination. My maths teacher again suggested cum warned me that if I don't join his father's class I will fail even in my final examination.
I got intimidated and feared about my father's feelings that how terrible he will feel if I fail. I found myself under kinds of strain and gave up and I again joined the classes. I passed my final examination securing minimum marks by the grace of my teacher. He patted my back and said- what did I say!
How this ended up has throttled my ambitions and my dreams. I became so weak in mathematics that it became impossible for me to go ahead with it, I droped maths and chose biology. I lost my subject and also the dream of my life- Nuclear scientist.
It was never like I did not know the right step but I couldn't muster the courage to speak and help myself out. I was never helpless though I pretended myself to myself a helpless.”
It can not be repaired! - says the shopkeeper.
But I have purchased only six months ago! – Said Gaurav.
I am sorry, you yourself have ruined it. - Replies shopkeeper.
Gaurav said nothing and came back, he was aware of his mistake that he has repeated third time with his gizmos, He found some hardware complication in his audio recorder and tried to repair himself thus damaged it more seriously. In over enthusiasm we cause bigger problems. Though we have previous cross experiences which does not allow rather stop us but we don't pay heed and pay the tolls again and again.
I meet many a people appearing in competitive examinations. Most of them complain about reservation, subject choice, state specific hindrances, number of seats, number of participants, how to get good study partner, group, teacher and coaching. I wonder what they people do. Why they make these issues primary. They make a psychological fear of competition that proves to be the biggest reason to fail.
Successful people concentrate on their strategy, their strength. They focus on the chances of their success not others'.
A friend of mine wakes up very late in the morning. He tells it to me like some confession, “I feel very guilty, I waste hours sleeping that I don't really need. Can you help me?
All my efforts went into vein because of his uncooperative temperament. I was left with a mandatory choice to refuse saying, “The very moment you become aware of right action, the ball moves to your court and it will remain there until you change yourself”.
We less recognize the value of resources and time. The people who misuse the things are not alien, they are you and me. The main reason for we misuse is that we are not able to establish connection between the prosperity of surrounding we live in and operate in and the prosperity of ourselves. The resources we use comes from society, organization, family and many other, how long it could be used without pay back or proper use?
Everyone dreams salary hike. The prospect of raise is based on two factors: 1. Individual's performance and 2. Performance of the firm.
The more efficiently the firm earns, the more it can pay. The more efficient you are the bigger is your share. I find 60% of workforce in my country incapable to accept this.
The life of each one of us is a web of so many such multi-sensory authentic memories. These stories explain the proneness and vulnerability of human beings to the psychological mechanism we call barrier; hard to identify and cope up! We not only have these stories but we live them and the humanity has developed with the support of learnings of these stories.
After giving much thought to such innumerable incidences, memories and stories, we come out with two categories - Inside-out hitches and Outside-in hitches as barriers to Common Sense Life.
- Inside-out Hitches:
We have an inner self which guides us while we make choices; it is our inward character, perception and feeling; the inner side of our character and personality. Inside-out hitches are the reflections of those interior features of any individual which are resistant to the Common Sense.
These features manifests into following:
- Prejudices and stereotype
- Lack of awareness
- Outside-in Hitches:
At any particular instance of time, the background encompasses elements of people, things and situations. They play the role as the forces deciding the picking-up of a particular action.
The outside-in hitches are the reflections of the point where the two points intersect each other- 1. The prevailing environment we come across and 2. The altitude of maturity and understanding we possess to handle them.
These forces are visible in the form of:
- Social rejection
- Family restraints
- Overruling by society, friends and family
- Pressures of life culminating into-
- 5.1 Entropy- Inevitable and steady deterioration of a system;
- 5.2 Fatigue
- 5.3 Non availability of time, resources etc.
- 5.4 Vicious cycles
The elements of inside-out hitches and outside-in hitches are closely associated with each other, and play the roles in the genesis of each other. Every individual with its inherent and metamorphosed personality tend to be influenced in a different manner altogether.
Running under these is contrary to Common Sense and doesn't bring any achievement, any change or solution.
To come out of theses hitches let us understand what they really are and how could these be whitewashed by the use of Common Sense.
PREJUDICES AND STEREOTYPES
Women were not allowed to vote until the early part of the 20th century in America.
African Americans were forbidden from using the same water fountains, restrooms, counters, and bus seats as white passengers. In Saudi Arabia women are forbidden to drive cars. They must also walk behind the man they are with if they are outdoors.
Under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, women were forbidden from receiving an education, holding an elected office, or leaving their house without their faces being covered, among other things.
We can find likes of above excerpts in many publications.
*A prejudice is a preconceived belief, opinion or judgment especially towards a group of people characterized by their race, social class, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or religion. Also, it means a priori beliefs (without knowledge of the facts) and includes “any unreasonable attitude that is unusually resistant to rational influence.”
Positive and negative both the prejudices occur.
A stereotype is a generalization about a person or group of persons. When we are unable or unwilling to obtain all the information to make fair judgment we develop stereotype. With the help of stereotyping, we accomplish 'fill in the blanks' exercise about people, situation and things. These prejudices and stereotype have their roots in our experiences; books and magazines, movies and television, friends and family.
My neighbor one day shared with me that he used to be biased of handicapped and ailing people. One time, he went through some magazine and saw the students having mask over their mouths in order to save themselves from epidemic, giving impression of sick and feeble person.
He compared in his mind's eye the masked students with the students without the masks- smiling, and all normal.
He said, - “My prejudice washed out immediately because they were as normal as I was.”
When we judge and group people under the influence of When we judge and prejudices and stereotypes, we treat them differently and group people under we engage ourselves in discrimination. the influence of prejudices and During our conversation, my brother shared with me something stereotypes, we treat happened with him which has changed one of his discriminatory them differently and behaviors.
we engage ourselves -- As we have been brought up in a milieu where the category of edible in discrimination. non vegetarian food is defined and people are very prejudiced about people eating non vegetarian food which is out of that defined category.
He shared; - “At a younger age I and my friends were also very prejudiced about people eating red meat.
To put each other down we were calling each other 'Red-Meaterian'. During I was residing in Philippines,
I developed friendship with a class mate. I couldn't believe it at first when I came to know he is 'Red-Meaterian'. We used to sit near each other and enjoyed the same type of music, movies and books. If I knew about his this eating preference, we would have never been friends but he shattered the image I was having for what a 'Red-Meaterian' is like. It has changed one of my discriminatory behaviors.”
Prejudice suggests to judge some-one before you get to know them based on the behavior of others who look like them or associate with them.
Till my teen age I was very much prejudiced about cheerleader girls of my school, till I enjoyed spending time with them. I found that we had something in common.
“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Failure is the series of complementary phases leading towards success till you really deserve the success. These failures make you accomplished for handling the success effectively. Failures are lessons and without lessons success is destined to blend with repercussions.
Letdowns construct insights with nuances and shades of each nook and corner of the process. Our finest moments of development are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled because only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort we step out of our pothole and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
Failures obstruct use of Common Sense and it is the result of misuse or disuse of Common Sense but for a culprit of failure, it is very difficult to identify the deviation in understanding and application.
Failures educate us, so why to fear from them.
A man made a very big error of million dollars. He was picked up before the big boss where he was expecting to be kicked out. Pre-empting this, he apologized and offered his resignation. Refusing the resignation, the boss said, we can't lose you now! We've just spent million dollars on your education!'
Think of what you call failure as a learning experience. Ask yourself these questions:
- What was the mistake?
- Why did it happen?
- How could it have been prevented?
- How can I do better next time?
Fear of failure hinders use of Common Sense as failures are treated flaws but the truth beneath is that the failures are just the symptom, the real ills are the root causes buried deep inside us manifested in the form of a range of barriers. Root causes are of iterative nature till they are replaced by a sapling of positive counterpart.
LACK OF AWARENESS
Awareness connotes mindfulness or heedfulness; it implies knowledge gained through one's own perceptions or by means of information. It is the state of mind of vigilance.
“The first step towards change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”
Do you know the balanced diet for your age, height, and weight?
Do you know the necessary workout for you?
Are you aware of the job you are in or wish for, their surroundings and the risks and benefits associated with them?
When the day starts how many times you are sure about your priorities of the day?
Do you know how your subordinate feels motivated?
Do you know what should you exactly do when you reach home after office?
A very loyal servant serves the water which he has checked by swinging his fingers into it just to make sure that the temperature is fit to drink. He is not aware of hygiene or may be not willing to accept it.
Basically three kinds of awareness are required:
Emotional awareness is the recognition of our personality, our strengths and weaknesses, our likes and dislikes, health and other issues related to ourselves.
Social awareness is the recognition of others' personality, their strength and weaknesses, likes and dislikes and other preferences as per cultures and geographical locations.
Spatial awareness is the awareness about the things and objects in the space around us.
The major cause of sorrow and distress is lack of awareness. If we are first aware of ourselves and then people and things around us then we be able to cope up with the situations in a better manner.
I remember the days of my adolescence when my maturity to understand the people around me was fairly low and I was hesitant to speak my mind because I was not aware that what could be the response of others, it was a fear for me. Gradually, I understood more about the people around me and moreover myself and it is less fearful for me to speak.
Awareness is like more you know the more is left. All the entities in the world are the subject matter of awareness but all the entities are not aware.
It is an ongoing process, and barring the process is barring the Common Sense.
Neglect is the willful lack of care and attention.
It is to allow something to pass unimproved, unheeded or undone.
I have seen my two cousins of two different parents growing in the same time who are very younger to me and I consciously remember their childhood. One was getting care, attention, and love and the other was being rebuked each moment for his behavior in an unjustified manner. I have seen the repercussions in their personalities. First one is very confident, straight forward and attached to his parents and the second one is very grey, hesitant and averts meeting his own parents.
The same way, Common Sense, if neglected starts neglecting back thus a wide lacuna is created and it increases with the time and repetition.
if neglected starts neglecting back .
The time you start looking after it, first it needs an inner thrust to fill the lacuna then to go along with it.
The fine voice of inner conscious is there to direct us towards the right, the truth. But we neglect it for being shortsighted or impulsive. The neglected voice gets feeble and gradually our inner auditory system fails to listen to that. And a dark and false world is created around which is contrary to the Common Sense system and leads to nowhere.
We talk about neglected childhood, old aged, historical monuments, education system, labor etc. but the thing which is really neglected is Common Sense. If Common Sense is appreciated and practiced, these things will not be left for debate.
Misuse of Common Sense is placing it wrongly, to manipulate it for immediate advantage by incorrect or improper application. It can be application of Common Sense when it is not required or it could also be over application of it. It could be the misuse, experienced by result due to improper implementation due to ignorance or misjudgment or wrong guidance. Inability to understand the results of misuse of application is shortsightedness.
Once my mother sent me an electrical grater. I became very happy to get that but all my enthusiasm vanished when I found that it was not grating the vegetables in different sizes as I was expecting. I told my mom that it is useless and I don't use it anymore. Once I visited my friends place, I saw the same machine and said: oh! You also have bought this rubbish! She replied: it is not rubbish. She explained me how it works on different speeds for different veggies. Then I could again register using that faster way in my Common Sense which I have lost due to improper implementation.
The results of wrong use or improper implementation are registered in our memory and gradually turn into prejudice.
So before this happen, we should look forward for the ways of right application.
The results of wrong use or improper implementation are registered in our memory and gradually turn into prejudice.
Disuse results into atrophy and it itself is the result of putting the Common Sense into the state of being no longer in use. Disuse may be the result of penny-wise pound-foolish attitude. The Common Sense lies disused and we keep on trying with less apt tools.
I remember two of my classmates who never used their best pens and used to write with ordinary pens, they wanted to keep the pens to write on some big occasion. They themselves did not know that big occasion.
The same way, we have a gigantic pool of knowledge and wisdom but it is questionable that how many times we check our decisions in the light of appropriate one.
There are traditions, customs and conventions. We feel unease, embarrassment and shame when we go against them since we don't want to be viewed as a rejection and meet with anger and humiliation. For the reason, we are hesitant to express our opinion and avoid arguments or controversial discussions. Furthermore, we easily get hurt by negative and unhelpful feedbacks of others and we get into the habit of relying too much on others and situations to avoid rejection. Particularly childhood experiences with parents and peers provoke this tendency. Social rejection is a fear.
"Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark."
- Francis Bacon
Fear runs away as enlightenment comes. Really there is no fear but the lack of awareness and deficiency of intellect of truth is fear. The more Common Sense we practice the more parallel we are with the reality, with the truth. We know the truth but don't acknowledge it. When we accept it, no fear remains.
Really there is no fear but the lack of awareness and deficiency of intellect of truth is fear.
It's easy to say what people do wrong. '3:11' rule says that if you go to some restaurant and have a good meal, you will probably tell three people about it. On the other hand if you get a terrible food you will probably tell 11 other people.
Criticism is the spontaneous fear which bars Common Sense being common practice. After every important meeting, some of my colleagues say I wish if I could have said this then it could have been very beneficial, it was very important to say but I couldn't find it appropriate to say. It's the fear of criticism at the point of time as well as some other point by peers that stops them doing so.
The most concerning and involving phenomenon of life is family. It is that part of our life which protects us from the time our body, mind and senses are not able to recognize “protection”. Tremendous basic needs are fulfilled which on later stages of life we don't count as 'needs' but the bond is created as it is the subject matter of feel and is continuously strengthened by the same. Family is the translucent sheath and we are covered with it, with its character. The thing we find leading us against this first group of life, we reject.
In the name of honor of the family, intolerant families kill young couples for violating traditional cast norms of marriage. In the shadow of fear, attachment, insecurity from outer world we fail to put the emotional value and logical value of a decision side by side and fail to measure its relevance on the parameters of Common Sense.
OVERRULING BY FAMILY, FRIENDS AND SOCIETY
As the parable goes-
Start with a cage containing five monkeys. In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the monkeys with cold water.
After a while, another monkey will make an attempt with the same response - all of the monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Keep this up for several days.
Turn off the cold water.
If, later, another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it even though no water sprayed on them.
Now, remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one.
The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.
Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.
Replace the third original monkey with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four monkeys that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.
After replacing the fourth and fifth original monkeys, all the monkeys which have been sprayed with cold water have been replaced. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs.1
"Because that's the way it's always been done around here”.
We really don't know why we do this, why we follow that but we mimic each other to intermingle and this way our individuality, its exclusivity, its capacity to experiment and transport changes is lost and there is left a monotony of being en-routed. This is overruling of others over us and proves to be a large impediment barring Common Sense being common practice.
PRESSURES OF LIFE
Life is assumed to be the name of balance and we want to create a utopia of acceptability. On many occasions, we try to fit ourselves in some size which is not our own and doesn't fit at all but we do it as an effort to get mixed with those using the same size in order to avoid ourselves being odd man out. Subsequently, this becomes our habit. We become regular to fit ourselves into the size decided by family, friends and society. There are goals, roles, ambitions, failures, frustration and so on and so forth. This creates pressure and as a result, the application of logic is barred in decisions and conclusions and we become prejudiced and restrained and thus, Common Sense starts being misused and disused. This gives birth to lack of awareness and neglect.
This way, we loose the path leading to Common Sense and meager Common Sense gives birth to pressures of life culminating into –
- Entropy- inevitable and steady deterioration of a system;
- Non availability of time, resources etc.
- Vicious cycles
There is no man who does not use Common
Sense at all but these barriers thwart the frequency of application of
Due to lack of Common Sense, entropy is very natural as it is the Common Sense which keeps system in line with sustainability and continual growth. Entropy proves to be the reason to put more efforts to keep the system sustainable and it generates fatigue. Fatigue generates lethargy and hence mismanagement resulting into scarcity of time, resources etc and this ultimately culminates into vicious cycle.
This does not mean that these restraints uproot the very existence of Common Sense but it continues to exist as a stunted entity in us and fails to grow and develop fully.
There is no man who does not use Common Sense at all but these barriers thwart the frequency of application of Common Sense. Stronger and more the barriers, the more difficult and lesser is the application.
1 Bananas and Monkeys, http://paws.kettering.edu/~jhuggins/humor/banana.html, (accessed April 2013)