Maybe you’re wondering what common is, how to get common sense, or how you can read Common Sense by Thomas Paine or why the book Common Sense was so important in the first place. I can help you with all that. I’m Christopher Scott, I’ve written books about common sense, I’m the voice of the Common Sense Podcast and the Christopher Scott Show Radio Talk Show Podcast.
This project got started while I was writing the Re-Told Story of Common Sense by Thomas Paine. I started reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine as research for the Christopher Scott Show Talk Radio Podcast. When I started reading it I found it very difficult to understand so I had to basically translate it. The words, grammar and way of communicating were so different it was practically another language. As I would read it, I would use an old dictionary to look up the meaning of words and I would re-write every point.
It started as a side project and turned into a year long, grueling project. I had to completely immerse myself in the book. I wasn’t just reading it, I was translating it which required painstakingly going through every word and every point to completely understand it. As I worked through the translation I decided to publish it so other people could also read and understand this very important book.
During the course of that work, two things happened. One, I found it was very easy for me to understand and relate to everything Thomas Paine had written. I felt a certain gift of being able to re-create what he wrote. I also developed a question. What is common sense? I know the dictionary defines it as sound judgement in practical matters but that doesn’t really explain what it is. That’s when I began writing the The Book On Common Sense.
Many people have spoken about common sense over the years. Well educated, highly respected people including, authors, political leaders, philosophers and even scientists and mathematicians. Many of them have left short quotes about common sense, and those quotes leave clues but none fully explained common sense.
Common sense is a philosophy. A lot of people throw the term common sense around but very few people actually know what it means. On a fundamental level it’s philosophy, but what is philosophy?
There was a writer who explained common sense like this, He said, “Broadly speaking, philosophy has three concerns: how the world hangs together, how our beliefs can be justified, and how to live.”
- How the world hangs together. In other words, society and government.
- How our beliefs can be justified. Or, how we form opinions, and make decisions.
- How to live. Practical advice for living a successful and meaningful life.
To be able to explain the philosophy of common sense. What common sense means in society and government, how we justify our opinions and practical advice for sound living. That’s my passion to share the philosophy of common sense so you can develop yours.
While I was trying to fully understand the philosophy of common sense to create The Book On Common Sense, I found something that got me to thinking. Maybe you’ve heard of the Pythagorean theory. It’s a mathematical formula, for calculating the length of the sides of a triangle. a2 + b2 = c2. You might now this from the 3,4,5 rule. A triangle with sides, 3,4,5, is square. It’s frequently used in construction to check that walls are square. It always amazed me that someone would create a formula like that. How could someone just think that up?
In some ways it’s kind of mind blowing that somebody could come up with a theory like that. Was it a time people just walked around and complex formulas just came to mind? The reality is, people were trying to figure things out. They were trying to discover answers to basic questions. Not like today where all the information and more than anyone can possibly handle is all in front of us all day every day. There’s no mystery anymore. There’s no challenge. Maybe it’s become a crutch and as a whole society maybe were losing the ability to think in complicated ways.
Then I found this diagram:
If you look at it, it clearly and simply explains the formula. So, somebody playing around with shapes and taking measurements and looking at the ratios, just laying these basic shapes out on a board or a table would see this simple truth would jump put at you just playing around with the shapes. Once you see it’s so obvious how the math works. I don’t think it was that Pythagoras was necessarily smarter or more intelligent than lots of other people, he just had a certain way of looking at things that other people missed. Or as Thomas Huxley said, “Science is simply common sense at its best, that is rigidly accurate in observation and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
Pythagoras, like everyone else, had a unique filter, a unique way of looking at things that he could see something complicated and make it simple. That’s when it dawned on me. I also have a unique filter that allows me to understand certain complicated things and explain it in simple terms.
I’m not saying I’m a Thomas Paine or a genius like Pythagoras! But, I do consider myself fortunate to be able to be a voice in a world that seems so lacking in common sense.