Whatever Happened to Common Sense?

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FOR A SECOND THERE, I almost rubbed my eyes. “Natural Tastes Better,” promised the full-page ad. Against a background of sun-rays sat a box….of cigarettes. Natural American Spirit cigs, to be specific—a brand I hadn’t heard of before. But the real attention-grabber was the subheading: “100% Additive-Free Natural Tobacco.”

Ah, yes—cigarettes as part of your personal health program! No point in risking any of those lethal additives as you’re pumping your lungs full of your normal dose of tar and nicotine.

So I sez to myself, I sez: “How brain-damaged do these tobacco marketers think we are? Do they really think they can sell cancer sticks as somehow more healthful because now they’re ‘natural’? Whatever happened to common sense?”

And that’s where my thoughts headed next—to the apparent scarcity of common sense. Do the wizards who make TV commercials really think we’ll put our brains on Pause so they can crank up the volume, push all our knee-jerk impulsive buttons, and hide their warnings in print so fine a microscope can’t see it?

Apparently they do. And apparently we do.

It’s not just in commerce that too many of us abandon commom sense. It happens in the wild over-reactions of the stock market, in the fickle voter responses that cause constantly switching allegiances, in the spiritual choices people make.

Yes. Even in religion—even in church. Some of the most nonsensical, hare-brained, fruity ideas on earth show up in the arena of religion. Preachers who say God sends hurricanes to punish wrong votes on abortion. Members who accuse everybody else of heresy or apostasy, if other people don’t see things exactly as they do. Parents who let their kids die because their religious belief doesn’t include doctors and hospitals.

God gave each of us a good brain. We come with common sense built in. But God also gave us the power of choice. That means that our brains have an On-and-Off switch.

When we move our common sense—our reason—to the Off position, anything goes. We end up believing that it’s a sin to eat pork but OK to cannibalize the reputation of fellow church members. We end up thinking “natural” cigarettes are really a great leap forward in good health!


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Lara on March 21, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    From a writing perspective this is one of your best entries here. You know what it’s like when each sentence seems to flow logically into the next one and it all wraps up into a nice ending. Really enjoyed reading it.

    Just incidentally, it’s good thinking too. Thanks for the blessing.


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