Why has common sense become rare
Common sense, sane?
Many refer to him. But his reputation is still not the best: common sense. Because Schiller comes into play all too quickly: "Mind has always only been with a few." However, the one who conjures up Schiller as an eide helper claims to be one of the few. However, this does not prevent him, if he is a veteran in the political business, from using common sense when he lacks other convincing evidence. Because as a bridge between the solid land of facts and the wide, often boggy realm of opinions, it is excellently suited. That is why La Rochefoucauld once scoffed: “We hardly trust anyone with common sense except those who share our opinion.” Kant says: “The correct understanding, which reaches for concepts of common knowledge, is called the healthy (for the household) understanding . " Accordingly, common sense would be practical thoughtfulness for everyday use. However, behind this there is immediately the danger of a very similar-sounding, but extremely questionable formulation: the healthy public sentiment. With it, the step is quickly taken from democracy, which should not despise common sense, to demagogy, which speaks to people by the mouth in order to dup their intellect. They are often used by those who pretend to know what is good for people, even if it enslaves them. Thanks to common sense, the leaders of the dictatorships, the military, fascist, communist, and national socialists are aware of the guilt they have incurred, even if they have always denied it in court and instead on their own, from themselves established law that contradicts not only common sense but also human dignity. Those who rely on common sense in our everyday political life are trying to win a majority with this argument, to lure the crowd into claiming that what they say is what common sense tells everyone who is reasonable. And at the same time they imply that those who do not agree with them that they must be lacking in understanding and that they are therefore not to be taken seriously. It is overlooked, however, that common sense is a rather ambiguous thing. Because the individual's insight into the complex structure of the world remains limited. In the Middle Ages, common sense had still told everyone that the earth was flat and that anyone who goes in a ship over the pillars of Hercules will at some point fall from the sea surrounding this disk into nothingness. Our school wisdom also teaches us that we stick upside down on our globe at night - as far as there is an above and below in space - but it contradicts common sense. Because it operates on this side of our experience, but beyond scientific evidence. Albert Einstein once mocked that common sense was actually just an accumulation of prejudices that we acquired by the age of 18. This can have fatal consequences, especially if the experience is misled by the zeitgeist and political imponderables. The English propaganda against Germany in the First World War is a characteristic example of this. The British Labor MP Richard Crossmann analyzed this once. Between 1914 and 1918 the Germans were portrayed as "Huns" who cut off the hands and feet of young children in Belgium and proudly presented them. These images were found on countless postcards and caricatures. After the war it all turned out to be a lie. But because the British had believed this at the time and had been deceived, 20 years later they mistrusted the reports of the atrocities of the National Socialists. Their common sense told them that the press, which had been used as a propaganda tool in World War I, was now doing the same to itself. In Germany the situation was different. But even there common sense was used as a means of domination. After the Second World War it was often said that no one knew about the atrocities in the concentration camps. But that is hardly the case. The concentration camp system (not the extermination camps) would not have worked as a permanent threat if common sense had not told everyone to do everything possible to avoid being sent to such a camp. In 1978 JP Stern stated in his book "Hitler - der Führer und das Volk": "The population knew as much and as little as they wanted to know. What they didn't know, for understandable reasons, they no longer wanted to know. Something Not wanting to know, however, always means that you know enough to know that you don't want to know any more. " Common sense, which tells us that it is unreasonable to test the carrying capacity of an ice sheet on a lake on the first day of frost, ends up falling on no less thin ice when it is used in political situations that are not easy to see through. Where action (or omission) requires detailed knowledge, common sense is not enough - our common sense should tell us that. And at the same time it should remind us of Gabriel Laub's sentence: "The mind is limited, only stupidity is limitless."
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