Sense in Common

Common sense is a sound judgment not based on specialized knowledge, says the ■→American Heritage Dictionary. A translation of Latin sēnsus commūnis, the phrase was to mean common feelings of humanity.

Thomas Paine wrote a bestseller and people appreciate him favorably for it also in East Sussex, as the White Hart plaque confirms.

He titled the book Common Sense, feel welcome to read at the ■→Project Gutenberg link here, and ■→in translation to Polish here. This is how he began.

■→White Hart plaque, Wikimedia Commons

In the following sheets, the author hath studiously avoided every thing which is personal among ourselves. Compliments as well as censure to individuals make no part thereof.

■→This text is also available in Polish.

Let us see how he used the phrase “common sense”.
In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense.
As much hath been said of the advantages of reconciliation, which, like an agreeable dream, hath passed away and left us as we were, it is but right, that we should examine the contrary side of the argument, and inquire into some of the many material injuries which these colonies sustain, and always will sustain, by being connected with, and dependant on Great Britain. To examine that connexion and dependance, on the principles of nature and common sense, to see what we have to trust to, if separated, and what we are to expect, if dependant.
Common sense will tell us, that the power which hath endeavoured to subdue us, is of all others, the most improper to defend us.

Thomas Paine was not seeking feelings in common with the British.
As a long and violent abuse of power, is generally the means of calling the right of it in question (…) and as the King of England hath undertaken in his own Right, to support the Parliament in what he calls Theirs

Should Thomas Paine’s Common Sense have been about “common feelings of humanity”, there would have had to be more than one species. The British yet remain people too, though feelings on American and British sides could be pictured with this ■→Battleship portal, up-to-date.

Was there maybe faith in “common feelings of humanity” in ancient Rome, where the Latin comes from? Ancient Roman military may have been extolled in film industry productions, yet it is common lore that you make movies to make money. History would not promote the type of human for a pleasurable experience. Roman control over territories was taken through war. Conquered lands were under military policing, and if short of own manpower, the ancient speakers of Latin turned to local control hierarchies, mostly to keep regimes.

There was no faith in “common feelings of humanity” in ancient Rome.
■→Wikipedia: Roman Empire Government and Military

The dictionary by Facciolati, Forcellini, and Bailey gathers on the Latin sensus, ■→Google Books Free Resource.
Sensuum alii sunt externi, alii interni; illi sunt quinque: visus, auditus, olfactus, gustus, tactus; hi duo: sensus communis, et phantasia sive imaginatio, ad quam pertinet memoria.

In other words, ancients perceived external and inner senses. The external senses were five, to regard impressions that come from outside the body: vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.

The inner senses were two. The “imagine-making or representative power”, and the common sense that emerged with other senses coming together. Ancients noted that their memories were able to connect to both.

■→Lucretius had the common sense arise in the body. ■→De rerum natura:
corpus enim per se communis dedicat esse sensus.

Ancient definitions do not say we need to be plain or simple people, to be common sense. Modern definitions would keep the common sense apart from education.
Common sense is a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things, which is shared by (“common to”) nearly all people and can reasonably be expected of nearly all people without any need for debate, says ■→Wikipedia with a bit of dictator flair.

I reckon, the authors were on a debate. We do not have to exclude science or specialization, from the sane, good sense. That way, we do not have to look for a baker who never specialized, to get good bread.


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The world may never have seen her original handwriting, if her skill was taken for supernatural. Feel welcome to Poems by Emily Dickinson prepared for print by Teresa Pelka: thematic stanzas, notes on the Greek and Latin inspiration, the correlative with Webster 1828, and the Aristotelian motif, Things perpetual — these are not in time, but in eternity.

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Świat może i nigdy nie widział jej oryginalnego pisma, jeśli jej umiejętność została wzięta za nadnaturalną. Zapraszam do Wierszy Emilii Dickinson w przekładzie Teresy Pelka: zwrotka tematyczna, notki o inspiracji greką i łaciną, korelacie z Websterem 1828 oraz wątku arystotelesowskim, Rzecz perpetualna — ta nie zasadza się na czasie, ale na wieczności.

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