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Common Sense Versus Intelligence
Some people have the ability to memorize large amounts of information but seem to lack the skill to understand common everyday social etiquette, pick up on innuendos or clues of their surroundings.
According to R. S. Maynard, “Common sense, I suggest, is that native practical intelligence by which men test truth of knowledge and the morality and prudence of action.”
I’ve known individuals who could spout off facts about various things like dead presidents, geological information or do complex mathematical calculations in their heads but didn't pick up on simple cues.
Don’t get me wrong, there are those that have both and when you find a man with practical intelligence as well as a high IQ you should have his babies but it does seem that many have one or the other and almost never both.
Which is more important?
I have common sense but lack the memorization skill. I know where to find information, I have lots of books at my disposal with the data I need but can’t contain it all in my little brain at once. When one bit of knowledge goes in; something else exits the back door. I need a larger memory card.
Whether being able to hold a lot of important facts at once is more important than being able to discern basic life skills has been up for debate for many centuries. Colleges certainly put more stake in the retention department otherwise we’d have more open book tests.
There are times I’d like to be able to add three digit mathematical equations in my head without a calculator; forget pad and pen, but that isn’t how I was made. I do however analyze my surroundings and notice things some people do not.
What is common sense?
Commons sense is having the ability to foresee an outcome. We don’t see the future but rather, consider the outcome of an action. You know if you pull a thread on a sweater it may unravel.
For instance if I see that every house on the west side of the street has two mail boxes I do not assume that the western neighbors all have two postage receptacles while the people across the street have none. Those of us with common sense will realize that the postal service wanted to only make one pass down the street therefore putting all boxes on one side. I know a very smart nurse that was taking my mail because she thought both mail boxes belonged to her. They were both in her yard.
Common sense is looking at our surroundings and noticing things that people who lack this skill won’t always see.
If I see a child with a red tongue I don’t assume he has an ailment and needs a physician. More than likely he’s been eating a lollipop or Popsicle.
Shopping malls are busier on the weekend after the first of the month and the fifteenth due to people getting paid but those with a more intellectual brain might not pick up on these things. If they see spread sheets showing these numbers and dates they might put the two together and figure it out but simply going to the mall and seeing large numbers of shoppers they might not get it at first.
I think knowing some practical intelligence information can be beneficial to a person’s health. For example, I know a very smart Engineer with two master’s degrees that didn’t realize tea had caffeine in it. He couldn’t sleep at night after having multiple refills of his favorite beverage but hadn’t put the two together. Eating out one evening I noticed this as he was complaining about insomnia.
What is intelligence?
Being able to absorb information, learning seems effortless for these people and they can retrieve data from their brains in a matter of seconds.
They have a high IQ or high intelligence quotient. Scoring high on SAT, ACT or any other mental test is their talent.
Some are smart enough to be a member of Mensa, a high IQ society.
Argument in favor of intelligence
They say as we age our common sense wanes so perhaps having intelligence is more important. Those with a wall full of college degrees can hire staff to help them in areas they are lacking so perhaps being able to memorize large quantities of information is a more worthy characteristic after all.
Then again with the invention of the smart phone those of us with minimal brain capacity can look up just about anything our little hearts desire at the flick of a screen, so the debate is still on.