The Wednesday morning study group, that I joined last fall, has been working our way through C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.
I loved his Chronicles of Narnia. In fact, I read through each book without stopping. Now some of his other writings, I have not been very successful at jumping into and enjoying. The current book would have been no exception. He writes at a much more intellectual level than I read for “mere enjoyment”
But we are really enjoying it. We read a chapter a week and discuss it. At first I would find myself re-reading many of the sentences to fully grasp what he was saying, but now that we are halfway through, his style is more familiar. I am entertained when he adds that certain ideas in “these times” will be considered “old fashioned.” Entertained considering he wrote and aired these thoughts on the radio during World War II. I wonder what he would think now.
A few weeks ago the chapter was on the Cardinal Virtues. I had a wonderful book of stories of virtue when the kids were younger. We would read the stories and prose, sometimes talk about the meaning, but wow, did C.S. take it deeper here.
One of the virtues he named and discussed (just a little) was common sense. Common sense, or reference to it at least, is all around us. I have heard people say “they are so book smart they don’t have any common sense.” I had not ever thought of it as a virtue though. I had, without any decision or thought, figured common sense was something you had or something you did not. But what Lewis said about this is, yes some have more than others, but basically we are to cultivate it. It, like patience and temperance, is something we build on.
I don’t know why this stuck with me and I have thought so much on it, but it has. I think it might have to do with having a 13, 16, 19, and 22 year old all in the house and the various happenings.
The other evening I walked into the kitchen, and there on the table was this laptop (The Man’s laptop). It was plugged into the wall. Not the plug at the end of the table, but the plug that required the cord to hang across the walkway. Instantly I moved it, I could see someone coming through during the night, and crash, the laptop and/or the person landing on the floor.
I explained to The Man that he could not do that and why. Then I thought about the common sense part. Really, how much of what we now know is naturally, instinctively there and how much is there by experience and education that we choose to practice?
Will told the older two no more sleeping past noon on weekdays (no, they do not work night shift ). Well one has chosen to shrug that off. So his tactic has been to obnoxiously wake her up daily. She is somewhat irritated by it. It seems that common sense would enter in and she would have her feet on the floor at 11:59 if nothing else.
Just two of the instances that I have noticed, there have been many more, but those two stood out. So that took me back to do you just have it or not? Is it that simple or is it even simpler than that. Is common sense actually our slowing down and paying attention, thinking something through for at least half a second? Taking wisdom that has been shared and acting on it?