Why is Common Sense So Rare?

Cats cradle - www.longwood.k12.ny.us

Why is Common Sense So Rare?

Common sense was a term used a lot when I was growing up, you were encouraged to work things out for yourself and to use the brain you were born with.  Often you were left to your own devices all day as a child and could wander at will in the countryside,  safe in the knowledge that you were always kept an eye on by your community who knew who and where you were.  They were not above giving you a good telling off if you were up to mischief or a clip round the ear if deserved.   You found out by trial and error what was a good thing to do or not.  We learnt to climb trees and explore the woods, we learnt what was good to eat from the wild food of the hedgerows and what was not when we ended up with a lot of belly aches.  I was forever coming home grubby, with grazed knees with twigs in my hair and grass stains on my shorts – a right scruffy little urchin!  But I knew my natural environment – the trees, flowers, berries and the many forms of wildlife – those times of simple enchantment taught me a lot about life.

Sadly nowadays a lot of all this has gone.  From age 5 years old I used to walk a mile to school and back on my own.  This would be unheard of now and I feel very sorry for kids that they don’t have the freedom to explore and educate themselves about their natural environment – hell, a lot of them don’t even know who their immediate neighbours are let alone where the best tree for conkers in the autumn is!  It’s getting that kids won’t even be able to tie their own shoelaces anymore with the age of Velcro making this redundant – so they’ll miss the magic of knots and ‘cat’s cradles’ and the like.

Also I know that some of our teachers at school could be pretty sadistic and/or sarcastic and were very strict, but they did impose discipline which is sadly lacking nowadays in schools.  I hear some horrifying tales of the way standards have plummeted because of this complete lack of respect for teachers and the like.   The lack of respect shows in other areas as well especially on the home front.  Fate decreed that I didn’t succeed in having any children this time around, but I have to say that on the whole, after observing others, I am relieved at that.  I find the total disregard that some parents are held in by their offspring simply appalling, and sadly as a direct consequence a large proportion of the youth of nowadays have no ingenuity, motivation or what we used to call ‘gumption’.  They seem to expect everything to just magically fall into their laps without any effort from them.

I left school at 15 years and immediately went into my first job in order to earn my living, half of my wages was given to my mother and I left home permanently at age 18 to start my nursing training.  Today getting a job seems to be the last thing on a lot of youngsters’ minds, or if they do it’s just to fund their excessive drinking binges at weekends.  I know of many people, especially males, who are still living with their parents until well into their thirties.  And before I get lots of parents saying that their children aren’t like that, I’m talking about a general trend that I have noticed that I find worrying.

So many people seem to live in fear nowadays.  A high percentage of my clients when I was working were suffering from one form of fear or another and counselling them was a frequent part of my consultations.  I realise now, and especially following the counselling training I underwent, that a lot of the advice that I used to give came under the category of ‘common sense’, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) or maybe ‘headology’ as Granny Weatherwax out of the Pratchett books would say.  Often there are very pragmatic ways to resolve many of life’s situations but some need an addition of a little bit of witchcraft to help them on their way.

I think that’s enough grumbling for tonight as something’s just happened that makes me despair.  Why is it that some people seem to derive so much pleasure from finding fault in others and causing so much pain in the process?  Isn’t it so much easier to just get on with people and be kind?  Sigh!

Just a little addition to this subject lifted from Facebook:

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who had been with us for many years.

No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

– Knowing when to come in out of the rain
– Why the early bird gets the worm
– Life isn’t always fair
– and maybe it was my fault
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.   Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.  Common Sense declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot.   She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.  He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; – I Know My Rights – I Want It Now – Someone Else Is To Blame – I’m A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on.  If not,  join the majority and do nothing.

23rd September 2012

Well Met at Equinox

Yesterday evening  me and my other half Laetitia, went down to the local woods and met up with an old and dear friend of mine, Jo.  It was very evocative sitting in the woods by his old wooden caravan warming ourselves by the crackling fire and supping mead wine.  After a little while myself and Jo took ourselves off to visit his small stone circle in order to catch up on what’s been happening in our Craft lives which was very enlightening!

I’ve always admired Jo’s pragmatic, down-to-earth approach to life and his simple worship of the Great Goddess and the Horned God.  He stays well out of petty disputes, doesn’t claim unsubstantiated unbroken Craft lineages or name-drop, and regards those that do with kindly amusement.  Although Jo is a bit of a technophobe and doesn’t subscribe to the Internet in any way, he has always been a great networker and has corresponded with thousands of fascinating Craft people over the years by writing good old-fashioned letters.  He is a mine of useful information, particularly regarding Egyptian archaeology which he generously and willingly shares to all who are interested.

Jo and me go back a long way (we were initiated in the same year) and although we come from different traditions, Jo being a devout Gardenarian, we worked within the same magical group for nearly 10 years until we amicably went our separate ways.  We occasionally met briefly at various local functions such as the Friends of the Museum of Witchcraft weekends and the PF Devon & Cornwall conferences.  Talking with Jo felt like the years had rolled back and we reminisced about the old times and laughed about some of life’s absurdities.  It was my pleasure to gift a copy of my book to him as he had requested he would be very interested in acquiring a copy.

We returned to the fire, me and Laetitia had one last drink and then left for our Equinox  ritual at our own hearth and definitely felt well earthed by the timeless quality of the evening well spent with our brethren in the Craft.


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