It’s not uncommon to hear people yearn common sense. In many instances, this desire is understandable because the usual manner of thinking and performing actions allows us to get along and work together socially. On the other hand, it is uncommon to hear people pine for uncommon sense. This is unusual exactly because so many people wish for and settle for common sense. It is uncommon for people to realize that common sense does not always work to their benefit.
The notion of uncommon sense came to mind yesterday when I plugged the vacuum cleaner into a wall socket in order to clean the rug. The very common ability to use my Hoover evolved through very uncommon sense. First and foremost, was the alternating electrical current that we use each day in order to perform so many of our common tasks.
The generation and distribution of AC current came about largely through the uncommon sense of Nikola Tesla. The very eccentric man was also largely responsible for his patented AC motor. The electrically powered motor in the Hoover enables me to more efficiently clean my house. A glance around the room revealed many other inventions that came about largely due to someone possessing uncommon sense.
When we think of remarkable people doing remarkable things (hopefully for the betterment of the world), we think of people who did not settle for the common in most areas of their lives. This is most noticeable in how they think. There’s a lot of thinking outside of the boxes with such folks.
One of my favorite proverbs was written by the very uncommon thinker, Mark Twain. “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
There’s a lot to unpack from Twain’s thought. While a person might initially feel gratification by pleasing the crowd, he may eventually feel that he shortchanged himself. Popularity contests rarely satisfy thoughtful people. The glamor of the moment quickly fades away. Going along to get along feels inauthentic. Selling one’s soul to the whims of popularity satisfies the mob at the expense of personal integrity.
It behooves one to not settle for the common Zeitgeist or the collective outlook of the culture at large. Too often, popular thinking is parasitic upon the individual will and independence. While society at large may indulge in the wonders of the moment, the discerning person sees beyond wonder. In other words, while the common and vulgar masses are stunned in amazement, the wise person is keen to detect deception.
The wise person takes on the toughest problems by carefully considering the available options while also being open to uncommon considerations. This type of thinking usually produces uncommon, effective results. Uncommon sense allows us to do the things that people have said couldn’t be done.
The Blue Jay of Happiness contemplates a line from Charles Dickens. “May not the complaint, that common people are above their station, often take its rise in the fact of uncommon people being below theirs?”