THE PHILOSOPHY OF COMMON SENSE
Table of Contents
3 D World
When I had finished the rough draft of this work (book) I asked some close, trusted and respected friends for a perusal and feedback. The most interesting reactions were, "What is your objective? What do you want the readers to do?" I was somewhat taken aback and replied that the Philosophy of Common Sense has no fixed set of rules nor a formal dogma, whereas the questioner, a woman, reiterated, "but what do you want me to do?" Now what do I say? And viola, there it was. So I replied, "You just did". "Did what?" she responded". "All I did was to ask you a question". "Exactly!" I replied, and smiled. She immediately responded, "that's no answer, what do you mean", paused, thought a moment and then she smiled and said, "Cute but not good enough". "Well put" I reply. Now let me see if I can clarify my position.
I told her that in a given situation, time permitting, and you have to decide that for yourself, ask yourself the question, do I understand this situation. If the answer is no or not really sure, try to get more data either, from the person or persons posing the problem or from another source of knowledge. If there is any remaining doubt she should repeat the process again, if time permits. Always be leery of an answer such as, "Believe me I am an expert", since experts can be wrong or "That's just the way it is", who says so? Such responses may also mean that the individual probably doesn't want to give her the answer, not because she might not understand it, but rather because she might or they just really don't have an answer. This is not to say that the person asking the question should become a cynic. What is beneficial here is not cynicism but rather a helpful amount of skepticism.
In the final analysis the person who seeks answers is the one who ultimately makes the decision to accept the situation as is or to look for more data. You are the one that makes that choice. When it comes down to a situation where you are the only data source, ask yourself, "is the wisest course to postpone the decision." If not, ask yourself some questions and try to be objective, to attempt to get, if not the totally correct answer at least the best you can do under the present conditions. Sometimes asking questions of yourself is an important step. You should practice this question and answer routine with yourself periodically. Sometimes when you have a free minute pick a subject and start asking questions of yourself. You might be surprised at the results. This is good practice when done in a relaxed manner. The subjects that I have chosen for presenting common
embrace weighty topics that provide enormous possibilities for the practice of posing questions . These common sense presentations provide plenty of room for questioning practice. In fact they span the universe.
As to questions that might touch on faith, never fear. You are the Man and can always make the final decision with no other answer than, " it's just my faith." There are questions that may arise where faith is the answer. But in normal circumstances you will rarely encounter the requirement, although sometimes the only answer might be, " its my faith"
Now I will start you off with a question. Why are "you" reading this book? Write it down and each time you stop reading check it and ask yourself, "does it need to be modified and if so why".
Now before you start let me tell you how I have structured the presentation.
1. There are five (5) individual characters involved in the presentation and discussion of the various topics. These are:
Man / Me - usually but not always in agreement
which define the concept of Man the human being (you and I). They will be individually introduced, fleshed out and defined as we progress.
2. They will enter into discussions as individuals representing their functions and be treated as such including quotation marks when highlighting required.
3. There will be many points and opinions offered by the characters, even some in disagreement. It's up to you to see if they make sense, common or otherwise and why or why not.
So let's get started
DON'T KNOW YOUR REASONS FOR READING THIS BOOK BUT HERE ARE MY REASONS FOR WRITING IT.
HOW COULD I -YOU-WE-THEY DO THAT? WHERE WAS OUR COMMON SENSE.
I've always been fascinated with the human mind. Not the organ called the brain where the mind is said to reside, but rather the mind itself-that indescribable something that all humans have been blessed with to one degree or another. To this end, I have been fortunate to have been involved in many diverse activities involving numerous diverse individuals and organizations located in many diverse locations, and I have seen and experienced so many decisions, including many of my own, that in retrospect drew this comment: "Why didn't you use your common sense?" I'm sure you have had the same experience.
As I watched and experienced this human failing to use common sense I wondered what could be done to get this apparently uncommon thing called common sense into the human equation. Could it be taught at any age? Say as early as Grammar School. Raising the subject usually elicited the remark, "Sounds good. Why don't you write a book?" To which I commented, well when I retire and have some free time, maybe I just will. For years I always thought someone would write a book about common sense, but I haven't come across one. As I approached my retirement I thought again about doing the job myself. But upon retirement, I found that as a physically active person there were always more interesting things to do than sit at a desk and wrestle with the requirements of writing a book, especially one on a subject as amorphous as common sense. And the years went by. Then when I turned 75 and realized that this was to be the final quarter of my I began to think that if I were to do anything serious about a book, I wouldn't have a lot of time left. So after occasionally thinking about it for almost another, year I finally said to myself: "This doesn't make sense, common or other wise. Get with it or get off it." So finally on Nov. 2, 2006 my 76 birthday, I decided to tackle a serious real life problem and began to write. Then I e-mailed a copy of what I had written to a few respected friends (see original e-mail sent, in the addenda). As always their basic response was, "makes sense but won't work". This prompted me to ask myself why something that makes sense won't work. Maybe people simply regard the topic as a joke, Where were you when they were giving out common sense, behind the barn? At this point I got with it and did a great deal of reading of ancient history. Of course common sense is not a new idea, yet when applied it is usually taken as a novelty. I tried to see when and where it was lacking or ignored and with what results, made copious notes and talked about it, but with no solid results. Then as my wife and I were celebrating my 77 birthday at a casino I decided to roll the dice and write the damned book. So here we are. If people will at least subscribe to the philosophy of common sense, whether they use it themselves or not, how could things in general not be the better for it? Sounds like plain old common sense to me. Right? As say basic arithmetic where 1+1=2 regardless of what you are counting. Now common sense might lead to different answer depending on what was being counted. Say human beings. 1 human plus another human does equal 2 human beings. This is true as long as both are of the same sex.
But 1 female human being and 1 male human being can on occasion result in 3 human beings. This is a little tongue in cheek but illustrates why common sense cannot be defined by ridged fixed dogma but one that requires the flexibility to adjust for the in the situation as it exists. Common sense is not a subject currently being taught, its presentation by advancing fixed rules and in individual chapters did not seem to be appropriate, and the format to follow was not apparent. But as I was in the process of pulling my notes into some semblance of order so that I could start actual writing, one thing became obvious. Everybody knows what common sense is, it's well you know, just plain old common sense. True. But do they understand the concept? Then suddenly I had my starting point. Well there was my starting point. The Concept. But then what? How can Common Sense be demonstrated if not by rules of usage? Maybe through examples, not of common sense itself (since everyone knows what it is) but by means of its interaction with other elements within the existing conditions in the example. Now the book would have two distinct parts: 1) the introduction of the concepts of common sense and, 2) examples to familiarize us with its use. Finally a surprise , but just a bit of common sense, 3) that it would end with the Summary. So we have morphed into the " well known three part rule of Beginning - Middle - End". A conclusion that led me to ask what is there about the number 3 that makes it so definitive, as in 3 cheers for the Red, White and Blue (three colors?) So I began to come up with other examples of expressions that have the number three as a component-a relatively easy process resulting in long list. Here is a short sampling:
Morning, Noon and Night
The Trinity - Father, Son, Holy Spirit (Ghost)
Given name, Middle name and Last name
Three primary colors
Three Wise Men
Ego, Id and Super Ego
Small, Medium and Large
1st, 2nd, 3rd place medals
Past, Present and Future
Animal, vegetable or mineral
Birth, Life and Death
I'm sure you can add many more but 3 seems to be part of us maybe because we are a part of it as we live in our 3 dimensional World.
Lets see how we might have gotten to this 3 dimensional position. How did the dimensions evolve?Long ago the Mind wondered about distance although it didn't know what distance was it knew that going from one place to another was something since it could visualize the event. Then as Man learned to communicate Mind told the Brain that now was the time to figure out how to describe distance and the Brain did and the concept of a line or point A to point B had evolved. This was the 1st dimension or linear concept. This was important to the Hunter/Gatherer since distance or how far could be critical to his survival. This led to how long it would take to reach point B. Which led to actual linear measurement (how far defined by observable points) and visual time measurement (how long) to get to each if more than one point. The visual directions were based on the sun and moon, the two bodies usually visible, such as two moons designating two nights or if full moons designating two months or as 1 day from sunrise to sunset. Then as Man communicated more with each other their Minds would ask their Brains about various things they could visualize regarding distance and time and the Brain always finally came up with an answer, not always correct but an answer which provided Common Sense starting points for future evaluation. Although the Mind kept conceptualizing the Brain not seeing any need to work on ideas not critical to the Hunter/Gatherer well being ignored the ideas.
Sometime later the Hunter/Gatherers had found fertile land and had started to settle down and to farm and create communal societies. This led to the recognition of the 2nd or plane dimension and the ways of flat area measurement developed because land had to be defined for a number of reasons such as value, taxation, personal status, etc. Initially they had used the 1st dimension or linear definition measuring a line around the plot of land. This was now not really adequate. And the Mind said to the Brain the point is how much land and not the distance around it that is required. And the Mind said I can visualize a plot defined by the space it takes up like my foot as I stand here, so why don't you come up with a way to measure the space such as how many of my footprints would it take to cover the plot. And as usual, when needed the Brain came through and the 2nd dimension evolved and ways of flat surface measurement developed. The concept of footprint led to defining a fixed footprint called square areas. A square was chosen because most plots were defined by straight line boundaries. Then using the 1st dimension of length used for the fixed length sides of the square, the area was defined by the number of flat surface squares it would hold such as square feet, square rods, etc. Now a plot could be accurately defined as an area containing a number of fixed standard squares.
Once the concept of area was defined it was but a short way to the next or 3rd dimension - Volume. The Brain moved on to this without any prodding from the Mind required. The concept of volume or cubic space followed naturally. New fixed measures such as the cube for solid volumes and the gallon for liquid volumes and atmosphere for gaseous volumes were developed. But since that time there has been no advancement in dimensional definition. Although the Mind can conceptualize a 4th dimension the Brain is not up to the task yet. But Common Sense says the Brain has never failed Man yet. This will be discussed in the last section - Conclusions. Until then we will limit our ourselves to our existing 3 dimensional environment. Before we go any farther there are three concepts that have to be defined, since they are what this book is about. The definitions are from the computer encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
- Brain- the Human Brain or the Brain of Man. "It controls the central nervous system by way of cranial nerves and spinal cord, the peripheral nervous system and regulates virtually all human activity. Involuntary, or "lower ", actions, such as heart rate, respiration, and digestion, are unconsciously governed by the brain, specifically through the autonomic nervous system. Complex, or "higher", mental activity, such as thought, reason, and abstraction, is consciously controlled." The brain is an organ that resides in the skull, and of which a great deal is known.
2. Mind collectively refers to the aspects of intellect and consciousness manifested as combinations of thought, perception, memory, emotion, will and imagination. Mind is the stream of consciousness. It includes all of the brain's conscious processes. This denotation sometimes includes, in certain contexts, the working of the human unconsciousness or conscious thoughts of animals. "Mind" is often used to refer especially to thought processes of reason. In popular usage mind is frequently synonymous with thought. It is that private conversation with ourselves that we carry on "inside our heads". Thus we "make up our minds", "change or minds" or are "of two minds" about something. One of the key attributes of the mind in this sense is that it is a private sphere to which no one but the owner has access. No-one else can know our mind". They can only know what we communicate." The Mind has no actual description of what it is and has no known location as to where it is nor even what true purpose it serves.
3. "Common Sense, roughly speaking, is what people in common would agree: that which they "sense" in common as their shared natural understanding. Some use the phrase to refer to beliefs or propositions that in their opinion they consider would in most people's experience be prudent and of sound judgment, without dependence upon esoteric knowledge or study or research, but based upon what is believed to be knowledge held by people in common." Common Sense is that which Man has been endowed with to communicate between Mind and Brain and to use both, either or neither to evaluate given situations.
Common Sense and our three dimensional Man.
Man lives in a three dimensional world as we have just defined, distance or length, Flat or plane area and space or volume, And in this world is the only living thing that is also defined by three basic characteristics. All animals have two of the three, a brain and a smattering of common sense but man isthe only one that posses the third, the mind. That un-definable something that resides at an unknown location and allows only Man to understand our three dimensional earth. Without the Mind to conceptualize Distance, Area and Space these dimensions would exist but be unknown as unique identities.
With this concept of Man as the only 3 dimensional animal with Mind, Brain and Common Sense lets look at how they work in our 3 dimensional Earth..
First, distance and It's measurement. A line is impossible to illustrate in its own dimension as it is but a concept of distance with no requirement for substance. In order to illustrate a line requires all 3 dimensions, distance, area and space that the line takes up when physically drawn. But the concept of distance is perfectly clear such as the distance from here to the store is 3 miles. The term line was invented the Brain to quantify the concept of distance, which Man needed to continue his journey forward. Whether it was straight, curved or irregular the concept was constant. It was even used to reference another conceptualized dimension called Time. As to set a time for something. For Man to continue to advance the Mind knew that the concept of Time had to be. Once again the Brain created a means of measurement as with the line. Man could not have advanced as he has without the use of these two concepts of the 1st dimension. If I'm going to the store there are two things that are of consideration, how far and how long. Even if the distance is but three blocks and the time required to get there and back is but a half hour if I only have 15 minutes or have a bad knee its important to know. Think of how far and/or how long affects your daily activities.
Next is Area or 2 dimensional space and its measurement. This is more than a concept it is a reality. An Area defined by the use of our friend the Line is a real entity which the Brain as usual came up with a measurement for - square footage. Although as with the Line cannot be illustrated without using the 3rd dimension. As with distance, required for the hunter/gatherer when Man advanced to cultivation with subsequence communal living required the definition of land area or size the 2nd dimension came into use. Man now had a means of defining size of flat space with fixed transferable dimensions such as the farm covers 10 acres of land. Again the area does not have to be drawn to be understood as to its relative size.
Last is Volume or 3 dimensional measurement, whether solid, liquid or gas is also a real measurement. With solids, liquids and space being measured by their individual flat area fixed dimensions expanded by the vertical dimension, height. Solids were measured by the cube, liquids by the gallon and gas or space by cubic volume.
With the Mind being able to conceptualize the 3 dimensional Earth and the Brain coming up with the means of fixed measurement Man could once again move forward. Where he was going even the Mind couldn't fully conceptualize although the Mind knew Man would continue to move forward. The Brain said, maybe I'll get this one by myself. And Common Sense came in with, do you want the odds on that. Once again the three looked at each other and smiled.
With this concept of Man as the only 3 dimensional animal with, Brain, Mind and Common Sense lets see how they work together in this 3 dimensional world.
The earliest concept was defined as the love of study in the pursuit of wisdom. Philosophy as we know it is credited to Thales of Miletus (624-547 B.C.). He took the first step to examine the reality of mythology and put forth a non-mythological discourse on the origin and matter of things. Aximander( 610-546 B.C.), his pupil proposed the first approach to natural philosophy or the system to explain how the universe developed out of a primordial mass without divine intervention. From this start it has evolved into systems of study to determine and define the ultimate reality of and the principle knowledge of the causes of things. As you can see from this, it being the nature of Man to find the reason for things, there have been fields of philosophy developed to cover almost any know subject. And if a new one popped up a philosophy would evolve to encompass it. Complete with well-developed rules to follow and teach.
The knowledge or study of the principles of human action or conduct that lead to the development of fixed rules to follow. The intellectual attempt to resolve problems having to do with the nature of common experience and concern. Thus the attempt to make basic ideas clear and to justify their descriptions of reality.
Major Fields of Philosophy
Aesthetics-Art: Beauty and Criticism; Ethics and Morality; Logic and Formal Argument: Metaphysics; Epistemology and Knowledge; Ontology (nature of being); Cosmology and Cosmic structure; You can see from this that the major Philosophies cover just about everything.
Questions and Answers
How do you use it - follow the rules
Can it be taught - yes just learn the rules
Does it provide answers - yes and since it does just follow the rules.
How do you learn to use it - follow the rules.
When do you use it - depends on the subject defined by the rules.
Why would you use it - personal choice or dogma.
With these in mind let's see if we can develop a Philosophy for Common Sense
The internal sense which was regarded as the common bond of the 5 senses: Sight, Smell, Sound, Touch, Taste
Ordinary, normal or average understanding or practical sense or sagacity, Primary truths. General wisdom. Strict sense that which most people in your world believe true due to some common natural understanding - this does not mean that it is true, definable or provable. Practical wisdom - all adages are of this definition.
The theory which accepts as the criterion of truth the primary cognitions of Mankind where; Truth is defined as that which is consistent with known facts, agreeing with existing reality, representing the thing as we think, not necessarily know it is. Cognition is defined as the act or facility of knowing. Mankind is defined as the Human person or Human nature. Knowledge is defined as study of the principles of Human action or conduct.
Common Sense - There is no real definition of Common Sense so we will attempt to develop one using the previous format of questions. From the above we see that it is very dependent on the Mind - internal sense, primary truths, and natural understanding. The Mind in the beginning has no pre existing ideas. It creates its own. Sometimes just out of the existing environment other times just out of itself. But once there is an idea how do you verify its truth or revise, change, or reject it. This is what makes Common Sense so different from all the other Philosophies. The fact that it must be able to self correct, even to the extent that a perfectly good idea that in previous circumstances or environment might make common sense to the person making the decision in the current set of circumstances does not. Meaning it can have no fixed rules or dogma. All ideas are only in existence until they don't make common sense anymore. Since the very heart of Philosophy is fixed rules and dogma, whether it be Philosophical, Scientific, Political or Religious. This reason alone prohibits Philosophy from recognizing Common Sense as an entity. Also from a practical sense those who present their Philosophy to you cannot allow questions to be posed as to the rules or dogma since they cannot risk losing control of the situation. Sounds like they are using a bit of common sense by not allowing your use of it.
How do you use it - since there are no fixed rules this is the problem that Common Sense has always faced. Hopefully as we go along we can develop some methodology or criteria.
Can it be taught - Not really for the reasons stated above. Since it is flexible and considers the environment and circumstances existing at the time and a means, if it exists, to achieve the objective it cannot provide answers based on fixed dogma or absolute faith since these answers may or may not apply to this particular situation.
Does it provide answers - Yes but since it is flexible and self correcting not dogmatic ones although they may be the same. Since the same situation in different circumstances may have two different answers the use of skepticism is a vital part of Common Sense.
How do you learn to use it - by evaluating examples using Logic, moral suasion, intuitive reasoning, Scientific facts and all the tools available, be they fixed rules or dogma, but with a judicious amount of skepticism to get an acceptable solution. Which may be that there is no acceptable solution, which of course cannot be allowed in fixed rule or dogmatic philosophies, which of course may lead to improper or inaccurate answers, which of course may lead us to later say, where the hell was their common sense. Also it must be pointed out that Hubris cannot enter in to the evaluation process, probably the most difficult thing to learn and control.
When do you use it - always, if time permits the use of skepticism in the evaluation process. There are situations where decisions are made with little or no evaluation, based strictly on the moment. Heroic acts are rarely thought out but just intuitively done at the moment. Which is just common sense and a good thing since any undue evaluation could have caused the moment to be missed, with subsequent possible bad results
Why would you use it - because it just makes common sense and also makes no sense common or otherwise not to.
REMARKS CONCERNING THE CONCEPT OF COMMON SENSE
I believe that we are born with something special to Man, that intuitive relationship with the outside world that resides in the Mind and allows for the collection of information in our environment, and with its inherent ability to conceptualize provides the basis of what we call Common Sense. But since this data can be wrong in fact or interpretation the common sense end result can also be wrong and we must protect the process. We do this with the use of skepticism and subsequent self- correction. It's this that makes Common Sense unacceptable to all Philosophies requiring rigid rules, fixed dogma or absolute faith. And also what makes it so important to be accepted and practiced as a Philosophy or means to arrive at truth.
Common Sense demands that we use every bit of wisdom available. This includes Philosophy, Mathematics, Physics, Religion, all the Arts and Sciences and any other dish on the table of available Knowledge. But all seasoned with a bit of skepticism.
We mentioned the Mind that un-definable something that neither science nor logic can explain: i.e., the ability to conceptualize . A robot with a computer brain cannot do this nor does it have that thing in the Mind called intuition. The robot minds' every action is controlled by fixed rules that define its conclusions even when programmed to make changes as to how and when those rules apply, it has still been ordained by the programmer. No matter how good the programmer is, even if he puts in common sense evaluations, he cannot insert intuition in his instructions that will allow the common sense rules to be self- correcting, an absolute must. Most Philosophies when followed and played by their fixed rules in effect create fully programmed human robots. This is why again the concept of a Philosophy of Common Sense is so vital. Not to do away with any existing Philosophies but only to introduce the concept of Common Sense into their use. Any Philosophy that is afraid to allow common sense questions about its dogma probably doesn't have any common sense answers. Until Mans' Brain created words to be able to communicate with others it was very difficult to convey thoughts from your Mind to his Brain for translation. For example, the word for the concept or inherent feeling of, "Right" was impossible. The word developed in effect was the word - right - but with multiple meanings. To get the correct message through, the Mind used the physical senses familiar to the Brain as follows:
That doesn't Look Right
That doesn't Smell Right
That doesn't Sound Right
That doesn't Feel Right
That doesn't Taste Right
Since the reference was not to the physical sense as such but the intuitive sense, it asked the Brain to pause a moment and consider or evaluate the situation. But since there are two general meanings to the word right, intuitive - Common Sense and Physical - multiple definitions expressing current dogmas, the Brain had a problem. But since the Brain can and usually will over ride the Mind. This process of Mind control would be utilized by fixed-rule dogma and faith based Philosophies to insure that they would not be challenged. When used to extreme this is called Brain Washing.
Once again, a reason for active participation in the use of the Philosophy of Common Sense. To get the Brain trained to use a little skepticism. No fixed rules as in other Philosophies but just a good habit
Before we take on the big items to review lets look at some sayings and items that illustrate Common Sense. When some one questions your opinions don't get mad, say thank you and lets discuss it. If we can be objective in the discussion, then at best maybe one or even both of us will be more knowledgeable when we leave than when we came in. At the worst we will leave as we were when we came in. So nothing can be lost.
Don't know if God created Man but am sure Man created God.
I am a Man nothing more and nothing less as are you.
In the theory of evolution did man evolve from woman or visa versa or as a ready made couple.
The longer you allow evil to exist the greater the evil you will have to commit to if not eliminate it but at least contain it.
For those that seek true perfection how will they know when they had achieved it.
When your objective becomes the method to achieve your objective you may fail to achieve your objective.
Satisfaction breeds stagnation, since even perfection becomes boring.
Dogma or fixed rigidity of principle will defeat itself in the long haul even when basically good since it requires harsh punishment to maintain itself.
A man who can't laugh at himself has no permission to laugh at another.
Grave trouble never grants time for consideration.
Different concept of how to memorize the lines on a musical scale.
British - Every Good Boy Deserves Favor
American - Every Good Boy Does Fine.
Grabbing the tail of the bull may be great for progress but holding on too long runs the risk of being shat upon
A wish without emotion is but a passing fancy with little chance of fulfillment.
A negative wish is a waste of time
Correcting your faults is relatively easy. It's recognizing them that is difficult.
Big Bang theory of the creation of our Universe means an explosion, which means light moving away from that point, which means that at some time all the light will have gone elsewhere, which means, are the Black Holes of Space previous Big Bangs and since they suck things back in are we looking at true perpetual motion.
Phrase, " I've got plenty of nothing"
Socialist - take that plenty of nothing and divide it equally among all.
Communist - set up 5 year plan, work harder to achieve more nothing for all
Capitalist - accumulate as much nothing as possible, donate it to charity and take it as a tax deduction.
Belief in God is a smart choice. So even if you are not sure there is one,when everything else fails you can pray. What have you got to lose?
A Saint is someone who has spent his life dedicated to his beliefs.
That is certainly good. But we must ask what were the beliefs.
Common Sense requires the judicious use of skepticism - but always remember that skepticism is like salt- start with a small amount and add more as needed and never use any until you have tasted first.
Skepticism - Does this make sense as I know the facts? Do I need to get more facts and if so why? Is time a factor to take into consideration? If I'm wrong how serious as to results? Is a decision really required?
Since Evolution is based on genetic changes, which are the result of fetus development, an Evolutionist must be against abortion on demand since each abortion may eliminate the next genetic change. Not that we know with any certainty whether the change would be good or bad.
Many great ideas and advances made in direct conflict with Common Sense as interpreted by the then common knowledge. Makes it tricky sometimes.
If the truth is what you believe and alie is anything you don't believe then your truth may be a lie and his lie could be the truth so all beliefs should always be subjected to a little skepticism before being accepted as true but this runs the risk of your having to change or modify your beliefs.
Now that we have a general idea of what this product of the Mind is and how it arises lets look at some descriptive examples.
Common Sense- Old Time Example
The earth is flat. Who says so? The people that know those things - we call them scientist today.
Hunter sees a deer far off on the prairie. Is it a buck or doe? Can't tell at this distance. Deer gets closer and the horns are visible. It's a buck. Why this sequence?
Farmer sees an animal coming out of a hole in the distance. He sees the ears and then the body emerges It's a rabbit. Why this sequence?
Sailor on a ship. Here comes another ship over the horizon. I can see the mast. Now I see the hull. Why this sequence? What do we know?
1. The deer is on a flat and the horns are small in comparison to the body. So the body would become visible before the horns. Or if closer and coming over a rise the horns would become visible first. Just common sense.
2. The rabbit is coming out of a hole so the ears would be visible first. Just common sense.
3. The ship did not rise up out of a hole. The mast is smaller than the hull so why did we see it before the larger hull. Because the mast is taller than the hull said the Brain. Yes but the ship did not rise up out of a hole like the rabbit but was floating on the calm ocean. Now Common Sense wonders how could this be possible on a flat earth.
If the sailor had been a hunter or a farmer before becoming a sailor he might have asked himself these questions and with a little bit of skepticism, later in port he might asked the same of some one of knowledge and got the reply, "you are a sailor, it just came up over the horizon", and although not satisfied accepted the answer since he got it from, The people that know those things.
Then somewhere along the line, now called a scientists, asked himself these questions and didn't accept the answer, it just came up over the Horizon. Common Sense said the mast-hull sequence couldn't occur unless there was a change in sea level as the ship came closer to you similar to the deer coming towards you up and over a rise or the rabbit coming up out of a hole .
This was not possible since ships don't sail uphill or come up out of holes. The dogma of a flat earth had to be wrong. But what would explain this sequence of events. Voila! it's a sphere. Not really that easy but even dogma must sometimes pass the test of a pinch of skepticism. But you say Science is always asking questions and looking for answers. True, but remember that the people that knew those things were the scientists of their time.
Common Sense here said that the mast-ship sequence couldn't occur on a flat earth and the concept of a round earth became the new scientific dogma. Scientists knew this had to be true and accepted the round earth concept and stated it as a fact. Just common sense. But based on current knowledge couldn't be true, not because as with a flat earth you now wouldn't fall off the edge but rather how could you stay on the underside of a round earth without falling off - period. Here we have a problem, with two common sense situations with neither wholly acceptable. The scientists were laughed at by the General Population but knew they were right. They knew that water does not run up hill but finds its own level. So something that they didn't understand was affecting things. Common sense at play. The scientists knew that the mast-ship sequence was a truism answered only by a spherical earth. But how did the water stay on the surface of the underside regardless of how huge the sphere was. Common Sense could not accept the concept although the Mind could accept the concept and as always the Brain eventually found the answer. An invisible force that they named Gravity. It had taken a while but scientist using their common sense had said it had to exist and after investigation proved it did exist. Now the concept of Gravity explained why you would not fall of the surface of the sphere and water would not have to run up hill and Common Sense corrected itself and accepted a spherical earth. But still for a long time sailors were afraid of sailing off the end of the Earth and the General Population asked the Scientists show me this thing called Gravity and the Scientists reply was "we can't show you, it is invisible but believe us it is there". And the rejoinder was, where is your common sense. This went on for a long time and we still can't see gravity but we know it has to exist that's just common sense.
Mind is full of questions for the Brain to get answers for. With the round Earth example only two questions required answers how the mast-ship sequence was possible and after that answer, a sphere How water could stay on the bottom surface of the sphere The Brain was, as it always will be, eventually equal to the task of finding the answers. The problem is how to get the common Sense question that is relevant to the situation at hand to get the Brain working on the correct assignment The only answer is use some skepticism of the situation and see if you can get a common sense or logical response, you could of course just leave it alone. But again use a little skepticism to make sure you are not just dodging the issue.
Common Sense is never wrong only just sometimes ahead of and other times behind current knowledge but always forcing "those that know" to gather more facts to prove or disprove the relevance of the ideas.
But you say Common Sense could not accept the concept of round earth. True, but it could not accept the concept of a flat Earth either, waiting for more evidence to be gathered. And when Gravity was defined, Common Sense accepted the round Earth.
Always true: The Mind can conceive and visualize. Common Sense asks the questions. The Brain finds the answers.
From this point on our approach is simple. Just use Common Sense to look at big questions. Big questions, because we don't want to get bogged down in trivia. The Brain says, "you have to have words that explain and there are times when only a Big word will work. As for rules, they are created by me, so that there would no need to ask the same questions over and over. Faith and Supernatural are concepts of the Mind. Right"? "Yes" says the Mind. "I can see it and as with everything else I have shown you some day you will see it also." And now they say together, "you can't present or demonstrate an approach without some special words and fixed rules to handle that specific situation." And for those that the Brain has yet to solve the Mind says," easy, the introduction of a Supernatural element." Now Common Sense comes in and says, "we will never know if we don't try will we." The Mind and the Brain say, "why did we know you would say that." And Common Sense smiles and says," then lets do it." Now they all smile and we are on our way.
After each topic we will have a Round Table discussion with the team, Mind, Brain, Common Sense, and a critical element of the progress of Man, the Opposable Thumb, if and when appropriate. These discussions will neither push nor ignore any existing dogma. But will use the tools we all have been granted, mind, brain, and common sense. Butremember one or all can be wrong so always be a bit of a skeptic listening to or accepting the answers. Take the flat earth example. In the beginning all the crew accepted theflat earth but Common Sense asked how could the mast-hull sequence be possible on a flat earth. The Brain said it was the Horizon, a word created to explain the phenomenon, they could not explain, not an answer to the question. But as we know the Brain wasn't really satisfied either, Horizonor no Horizon, and finally came up with a new word, Gravity. One word, Horizon, explained why you saw what you saw but the other word, Gravity, explained why you could see it that way.
The idea of Gravity surfaced around 1000 BC and Man has made great strides in learning since then. An early theory of the attraction of things arose around 800 BC. Then circa 400 BC Aristotle introduced the cause and effect of attraction. No great progress made until the early 17th century, with Galileo and his leaning Pisa experiment and Newton used the so called falling apple on his head incident the first formal explanation of Gravity. Or really only the effects of gravity. Since then there have been great strides in the field with Einstein's theory of Relativity published in 1915, being one of the major breakthroughs. But there still is no basic explanation of what gravity is only, why it does what it does when it does.
During the Round Table, try to get in with your own Crew. Does your Mind, Brain, Common Sense have any comments? You may find that you disagree but one or more of your Crew may see some agreement. When and if it happens, and I sincerely hope it does, don't say, "No way, I know about those things," Get in the discussion with your Crew. You may be surprised with the results. And remember they work for you and you can tell them to shut up at anytime.
The Round Table is meant as a way to get used to using the Crew you have been given, regardless of how you received them, to help in guiding our voyage thru Life. To get used to asking the Crew does this make sense, do the facts lead to that conclusion, is it clear. Regardless of the answers, remember you the Man and still make the choice. They may say no and you say yes and you turn out to be right and it was the best or even only way. Take a bow. But don't ever stop using your Crew. There is one sure thing we can all agree on, the Common Sense adage, you cant' always be right. So practice getting your Crew involved. When Brain says I don't know enough about it or Mind replies I can't get a clear picture of it, or Common Sense says something doesn't feel right and you have time to make the decision; tell the Brain to get more information, learn more about it. Tell the Mind to work with the Brain to see if you can get a clearer picture. And tell Common Sense to keep on poking around, it may be that the feeling is getting stronger, which is good, whether for better or worse.
So lets get the crew on board, up anchor, cast off, unfurl the sails, point the bow towards the horizon and we are on our way. And even if we had a fear of falling off that's never stopped Man before. So Bon Voyage.
Now lets have some fun with the concept of Common Sense. Howabout looking at Something Big so we don't have to squint to see the problem.
Infinite - Infinity
From the Latin. As the Roman Empire expanded and seemed to have no limit to its growth the Roman Ego demanded a word to define itself. The word created was Infinitus - without bounds or having no limit or end. The definition does not mention a beginning only that there is no limit or end. Now Common Sense views this definition with skepticism since everything must have a beginning even if it has no end. They avoided this bit of common sense by allowing its possibility, using the concept of something without bounds which of course includes in any direction. This is the definition usage of today, No beginning or end in any measurable direction. Common Sense still has a problem accepting the missing beginning as well as no end. We will get into this some more later but for now we will accept it. Lets start with some simple ideas of our three dimensional concepts.
One dimensional - Length - Line in a Plane from A to B
Two dimensional - Area - Circle or figure such as a Square on a Plane
Three dimensional - Volume - Sphere or solid polygon such as a Cube
First the Straight Line - A distance from a point A to a point B. This is the accepted definition and it makes common sense. Now since an Infinite line has no beginning or end it cannot be a line in the common sense of the word but for now, we will call it a line. Also since it has no beginning nor end it cannot have a Midpoint. Just common sense, right?
To avoid printing the word infinity we will substitute the (?). We will look at 3 lines, (?) to (?), A to (?) and(?) to B.
Lets take an easy case. A line with a start point but no end point:A to (?). Since we don't know where the end is we don't know how far to travel from the start point to reach the midpoint. No way to determine the distance to the midpoint. Just common sense, right and works the same way in the other case, (?) to B except now we can't determine how far to go back from the end which is in effect the mirror image of A to (?).
Now for the last case. The true infinite Line, (?) to (?). There is no way to find a midpoint in a line with no start or end. Common sense, right. But we have said that every case should be viewed with some skepticism so self correction can apply Lets see. If the line is truly direction without limit. Now Common Sense tells us that any point on the line is the midpoint since the line is infinite in both directions from this point or any point. In fact any and every point on the Lineis a midpoint. So an infinite line has an infinite number of midpoints. Common Sense asks. Does it matter? Not really since Infinity is but a word we use to indicate something we can't truly define. But it does illustrate the need for skepticism even with Common Sense. More later.
Now lets move on and look at the circle. A curved line on a plane such that all points on the curve are a fixed distance from a fixed point called the center. With this in mind, one may ask if there is an infinite circle. Common sense tells us that all the points on the curve would have to be an infinite distance from the center. A circle by definition has to have a diameter which is a straight line that goes from one edge to the other side passing through the center. So now common sense says that the diameter must be an infinite line. But a circle is bounded by itself so how could it possibly have an infinite diameter which is bounded by the curve meaning the diameter has end points and a midpoint, since it passes through the center. It can't. So again common sense tells us that there cannot be an infinite circle if we define an infinite line as being without And again we are stuck and can only accept the existing Dogma as in the Flat Earth example. We will also visit the circle again later.
Now lets look at the sphere. The sphere is defined as a three dimensional object with all points on the surface at a fixed distance from a fixed point within also called the center. In effect a globe. Now can we have an infinite sphere? Common sense says of course, its nothing but a boundless globe. But wait, if we cut the globe through the center we have a flat surface which is a plane circle and we just said that a circle cannot be of infinite size and since the sphere is composed of an infinite number of circles it also cannot be of infinite size. We will also visit the sphere again. Lets look at these three examples involving a concept, the infinite line, whosedefinition when applied raises questions of common sense. But as in the Flat Earth example where these common sense questions were finally answered with the theory and later proof of the existence of the force of Gravity. So will the questions of the infinite line be answered at some future date by the proof of the existence of other forces. As Gravity provided the answer to a third dimension allowing the earth to be a sphere Maybe a future proof of a fourth or fifth dimension will answer the common sense questions concerning Infinity.
Again we see the beauty of the Mind asking the Brain common sense questions leading, hopefully, to the search for the answers. That is why all rigid Dogma can be a serious impediment to progress, telling the Brain to ignore the Mind, sometimes with sweet promises and others with dire threats, When Common Sense questions the Dogma, be it Physical Science, Mathematics, Religion, Politics or any Dogma with fixed rigid rules and answers. The most dangerous of all is if The Philosophy of Common Sense itself is ever allowed to become a rigid, by the rule Dogma rather than a self-correcting tool of the Mind. Man is the only living creature that has been blessed with the Mind, that un-definable something, that allows us to conceptualize the unknown and raise Common Sense questions of the known. We must always protect it from any constraints in its communication with the Brain or we risk losing the momentum of progress. Now for a little more fun, we said that an infinite line had no mid-point since it had no beginning nor end. We presented a rather tongue-in-cheek common sense answer, that it did have a mid-point, in fact it had an infinite number of mid-points. Now for a more prosaic example. We had said that a line goes from A to B and that infinite line had no bounds, A or B. But would it be possible to have an infinite line with a defined start and or also a mid point? The Mind wondered again that a line starting at A and going on for an infinite distance and the fact that an infinite line can have no point A didn't make common sense. What as if in the flat earth example there was another way to look at it. Mind said I'm using the line to measure length or distance, such as if I go to the store it is a distance and when I return that is also a distance, in fact the same distance. Now the Mind asked how far have I walked? The Brain said, that's easy the sum of the two distances. But the Mind said I'm home not the sum of the two distances. And the Brain said, Here we go again. But then paused and thought again as it is wont to do, ou tand back that involves direction as well as distance. To be back home at no distance means the two numbers must cancel each other out and to do that the trip back must be subtracted from the distance out. But the two distances must be added together that's just common sense; Makes common sense said the Mind but how can that be possible. Now the Brain went to work and negative numbers were created and we had a line with distance and also direction. Could this line be infinite. Lets see. This line of real numbers goes from -(?) to +(?) so it has no bounds merely the directional indication., positive(+) or negative (-) . But the change indirection occurs at a fixed point called zero (0). If this line is infiniteas claimed, here is a common sense proof of an infinite line with a mid-point, one of the infinite number of mid-points stated on line 5 of page 21. since no matter how far the line stretches in either (-) or(+) directions the midpoint will always be the point (0). So now we do have an infinite line consisting of infinite line of (-) negative and a infinite line of (+) positive numbers and since there exists a one on one relationship of (-) and (+) numbers we have an infinite line with an absolute defined mid-point. And as with measure of temperature, minus (-)degrees and plus (+)degrees it doesn't make any difference where the transition or zero point is defined only that it is fixed as with Centigrade and Farenheight. Although it is not a true infinite line since it has a theoretical start point that we call absolute zero it does go on in a positive direction with no upper limit. With our current knowledge this is an infinite line with a beginning but no end. Although Common Sense wonders if absolute zero is a true beginning point since we have not yet reached it, albeit almost. Maybe the Mind wonders if this point could be the entranceto another dimension.
Lets try another one. We said we would accept the concept of line as the distance between two points, A and B. Then an infinite line is a straight measurement of infinite length. Say a line called A-B is infinite. Then the distance from an unidentifiable existing mid-point to the point A is of course infinite. And of course the distance from this same mid-point to the point B is also infinite. Then we have an infinite line with a start point A which is an infinite distance from its mid-point which is an infinite distance from its end point B and the mid-point is the half-way point of infinity. At this point Common Sense is smiling.
On to the circle. Take a line A-B and bend it into a circle. Now the points A and B the two end points of the line will be the start and end points of the circle. Just common sense. Now since any point on a circle is the mid-point of the circle (circumference) the point AB is the beginning - end - midpoint of the circle. Now stretch the line defining the circle until it becomes infinite and we have created line AB to be infinite and so we have an infinite line with a start point, midpoint and end point. In fact they are the same point. Common Sense right. But that is not allowed by the rules of infinity requiring no bounds. But what if the rules of infinity are different for straight and curved lines. But we started with a straight line and made it a curved line. What now. As to other plane figures consisting of straight lines they cannot be infinite since sides have defined points of interception. So we cannot have an infinite square. Makes common sense under current knowledge unless you can accept four equal infinite lines meeting at right angles to form a square. Common Sense is intrigued by the thought but rejects it.
Another concept of infinite.
The infinitely small - Minimum
The infinitely large - Maximum
Minimum - can be no smaller nor any increment larger
Maximum - can be no larger nor any increment smaller
So if A= no smaller and B = no larger
Minimum = A & B
Maximum = A & B
Minimum = Maximum
But Minimum and Maximum are not quantities of something but merely both sides of the same unity. Man has also created a word for this un-definable concept which we will explore later.
Finally infinite-infinity is only a word created by the Brain to define an un-definable concept visualized by the Mind. And common sense says there must be common sense answers to this concept and asks the Brain to find them, We know that that there must be answers because the Mind knows they exist and as always the Brain has found them even, if belatedly.
As early Man watched the birds and wished he could fly and common sense said, don't jump off the cliff you don't have any wings. And the Mind told the Brain get me some wings and the Brain replied, go back to your dreaming Man will never fly. And for a long time the wish was there but Common Sense always said," you still don't have any wings." Common sense, right. But the Mindcould conceptualize flight no matter what Common Sense saidabout not having wings. Finally the Brain created wings for Man and Man could fly and the Brain told Common Sense ," you were wrong - Man can fly." And Common Sense replied, " I didn't say he couldn't fly but only that he needed wings and now you have given him wings and granted his wish to be able to fly." Common sense always applies to the situation and the existing conditions. When the situation or the conditions change Common Sense should see if it needs to change or modify. Common Sense can have no fixed dogma other than always use some degree of skepticism especially in your own set of circumstances to see if past common sense still applies or should be reviewed or modified. This discussion of infinity was chosen because it is only a word coined to define a concept of the Mind which can visualize the concept even if not explain it.Everything the Mind can visualize the Brain will eventually bring to pass if allowed to, as it always has and will. Man must allow the Brain to listen to the Mind if he is to continue to advance in his universe. The Mind will always be able to visualize but it needs the Brain to transform a "theory" into an explainable reality and make these visions come true. This requires free thought which can be dangerous to existing Dogma. Man must learn to utilize his common sense. We know that there are other forces and dimensions out there. Its just common sense. And one day as we advance they will become apparent and we will experience them and even infinity will appear to us as just what it is.
Some may think that Infinity is but a concept with no real impact on anything. What do you say about that Brain? "Well it is true that you can't use it in any true calculations requiring real answers but you do need the concept." Well you know all about concepts Mind, do we need the concept? " I think so. Using a single term to stand for anything really big makes it easier to present an argument without having a digression how big is Big. As an example, the concept of an expanding universe without bounds would be a universe of infinite size." But says Common Sense," if it must be of infinite size it must be expanding into something of infinite size or else it would reach the boundaries of space an become bounded. This means that the expanding universe must be in an infinite space." True and since it is expanding it must have something that started it expanding. This something had to be a force of some sort. Then the point of impact would be a starting point which is not allowed for actions of infinity when referencing any or all of our three dimensions. Of course we can ask the Mind the see other dimensions where this could-would be possible. But since we are part of our universe, I feel that we should stay with what we know.That is why I can't accept the fact of a line having no start point even though I can accept that it have no end point. No problem for me, since when dealing with infinity, if you wish for the end just stop. So you all consider infinity to be a needed concept when talking about other things. Correct they reply. Well how about some examples. Mind you first. "Well I can see immortality, which in effect is an infinite lifetime" But how would know you were immortal? Even if you lived for a very long time you wouldn't know that you were really immortal. "Yes," said the Brain. "The only answer would be if you died and then you would know that you were not immortal, no matter what you had been told. Common Sense adds, "when the words, infinite, immortal, everlasting or eternal are used think about it. That doesn't mean you can't accept the proposition, only that its risky." Whenever the only proof of something is if it doesn't come to pass there is a Risk that it may not come to pass. If there is some sort of payment required to receive it, weigh the cost to receive versus the promised result and the possibility of non performance. So if the reward is great for compliance or the punishment is great for non compliance then do it. Just remember if your trip along that infinite line comes to an end make sure y