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Think Again
If asked, most of us would say we have common sense. Some of us might even be a little insulted by the question. These people might assume that only very stupid people don’t have common sense.

That, however, would be a silly assumption — as those of us who have at least some common sense could have told them. Common sense isn’t about brains. Or cunning, or verbal alacrity, or even logic. It is connected to experience, though…and human wisdom at its most fundamental level.

The term “common sense” has no particular academic meaning. It’s nothing more than vernacular for sound judgment when it comes to basic, practical matters. It appears to be activated on an almost intuitive level, as if analytical thought does not participate at all. The mind considers its own life experience holistically in reaching quick, reliable conclusions. We might even view it as a natural survival mechanism.

Or so it seems. None of us can be sure of exactly how the human mind functions. What we can see, however, is that such subliminal judgments are sometimes overridden by our analytical self. In such cases it doesn’t seem to matter whether common sense has produced a sound judgment or not. The rational mind just can’t leave it alone. Instead, it moves to replace perfectly good conclusions with more intricate explanations of reality. “Overthink” is the popular term.

Not that common sense always gets it right. Sometimes the complex, laborious thinking of science can step in and cancel good old common sense with irrefutable proof. Thanks to that kind of thinking, we no longer entertain the common sensical belief that the Sun revolves around the Earth. What once seemed obvious is now seen as a quaint foolishness.

Outside of the rigors of the scientific method, however, such appropriate cancellations are rare. Take the Deep State, for instance. Those who believe there is such a thing defy the common sense conclusion that nothing so huge and so secret could last for more than a day or two. Such folk do not rely, however, on anything like the scientific method for their proof. Most of their “evidence” (if you dare to trace it at all) is composed of dark suspicions. Those suspicions, in turn, are supported by well-documented coincidences that spiral off into infinity. None of this evidence would be admissible in a court of law, much less as part of a careful scientific inquiry. Classic overthink.

But that doesn’t stop the conspiracy buffs. It is my belief that everyone has common sense. In fact, day-to-day life could be very difficult if we didn’t have some semi-automatic system for assessing situations and moving on quickly. Other animals (who do not have our analytical capacity) seem to use something like common sense in order to facilitate their quick decisions…and so survive. They do not, so far as I can tell, subscribe to conspiracy theories.

Perhaps we should admit that our human intellect, for all its impressive accomplishments, has a few weaknesses. Unlike common sense, it shows a susceptibility to emotion and other non-rational motivations. As a licensed armchair psychologist, let me name a few. Wish-fulfillment is certainly one, though I can only guess why someone would wish for the existence of the Deep State. Maybe folks are desperate for any explanation of events, no matter how unlikely, if the alternative is a world filled with uncertainty. Or perhaps they want to be hip and in-the-know. Or maybe they’re just wrapped too tight for the real world.

Or it could be laziness. People often resort to cynicism as a way of dealing with a chaotic world. “It’s all rigged anyway” is a great cop-out if you’re looking to avoid responsibility. If everything is controlled by unseen, all-powerful forces, then you are off the hook for doing anything about it. These people are not conspiracy buffs, however. They just want a convenient excuse not to be bothered — which is a perfectly good survival mechanism in itself. And way preferable to overthink.
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon