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Archive for the tag “common sense”

Ψάχνοντας τα αυτονόητα / Seeking the obvious

(English text follows)

idiottestΨάχνοντας τα αυτονόητα

Τις προάλλες περνούσα από μια πολυσύχναστη λεωφόρο. Μια νεαρή κοπέλα στεκόταν στην άκρη του πεζοδρομίου με ύφος κολυμβητή των 100 μέτρων ελεύθερο που περίμενε το καμπανάκι για να βουτήξει. Καθώς πέρασα από δίπλα της την άκουσα να μονολογεί «Καλά τώρα πώς θα περάσω;». Η διασταύρωση πεζών (με φανάρι) ήταν μόλις 100 μέτρα πιο κάτω.

Μια άλλη φορά ήμουνα πρώτη στη σειρά για ταξί. Μόλις είχαν φύγει δύο και περίμενα να έρθει μπροστά ο επόμενος για να μπω. Ξεπροβάλουν από πίσω μου δυο νεαροί και ατάραχοι πλησιάζουν το ταξί, έτοιμοι να χιμήξουν σαν την λεοπάρδαλη σε νεαρή αντιλόπη. Εγώ δεν κουνήθηκα. Ξάφνου γυρνάει ο ένας και με ρωτάει σχεδόν έκπληκτος «Θα το πάρεις εσύ;». Τώρα τι του λες; «Όχι, απλά στεκόμουν εδώ για τον καθαρό αέρα»;

Τέτοια παραδείγματα έχω κι άλλα πολλά. Και είμαι σίγουρη πως ο καθένας έχει τις δικές του περιπέτειες να διηγηθεί. Αυτό που όλα αυτά όμως σε κάνουν να αναρωτιέσαι είναι «πόσο δύσκολο είναι να σκέφτεσαι πια λογικά;».

Λένε ότι τα ευκόλως εννοούμενα παραλείποντα. Αλλά όχι πια. Γιατί αλήθεια, τί είναι ευκόλως εννοούμενο τη σήμερον ημέρα; Το να περπατήσεις λίγα μέτρα παραπάνω και να διασχίσεις με ασφάλεια την λεωφόρο παρά να κάθεσαι μισή ώρα στην άκρη υπολογίζοντας την φόρα και την ταχύτητα που θα πρέπει να λάβεις για να περάσεις δια μέσω διερχομένων αυτοκινήτων; Ή μήπως το να περιμένεις υπομονετικά τη σειρά σου αφού σαν κι εσένα άλλοι τόσοι βιάζονται;

Αν έστω μερικοί ακολουθούσαν την κοινή λογική, η ζωή μας θα ήταν πιο εύκολη. Θα υπήρχε καλύτερη οργάνωση, λιγότερα νεύρα, και σίγουρα καλύτερη συννενόηση. Για φαντάσου να ακολουθούσαν όλοι τους “κανόνες κοινής λογικής”. Θα ζούσαμε σε παράδεισο. Αλλά πού τέτοια τύχη. Χρειαζόμαστε περιπέτειες εμείς. Που θα διηγούμαστε μετά και θα γελάμε. Το πόσο μετά δεν ξέρω…

Ίσως να περιμένουμε πολλά απ´ τους άλλους. Αλλά στην ουσία περιμένουμε μόνο τα αυτονόητα. Μόνο που πια δεν είναι και τόσο αυτονόητα…

 

commonsense12345Seeking the obvious

The other day I was marching hastily on the sidewalk of a busy avenue. Cars were rushing past and you could feel the wind being pushed forcefully at you by these speeding vehicles. And then I saw her. A young girl remained frozen on the side of the pavement staring into the jungle of racing cars, as if she was expecting a starting gun to sound so she could dive in. As I was passing by her, I heard her say to herself “Now, how am I supposed to cross over?” The pedestrian crossing was only 100 meters away.

Another time I was first in line for a taxi. Two yellow cabs had just left with their passengers and I was now waiting for the next one to pull up so I could get in. Two young men sprung suddenly from behind me and carefreely moved in front, like a leopard attacking its victim. One of them turned round and surprised asked “Are you taking this one?” What did they expect me to say? “No, I’m just standing here to enjoy the fresh air?

I have many such examples. And I am sure many of you do too. Each of us has these sort of “adventures” to tell. Things that make you wonder “really, how hard is it to think logically nowadays?”

It is usually said that what is obvious may be left out. But apparently not anymore. Because, what truly is obvious nowadays? Walking a few more meters to safely cross a busy avenue rather than lurking for half an hour or more on the side, calculating the speed and boost required to cross amidst speeding cars? Or waiting patiently for your turn, as you are not the only one in a hurry?

But it is said that when you’re stupid you don’t know you’re stupid. It’s only hard for everyone else.

If only some people followed principles of common logic, our lives would be much easier. There would be better organization, less irritation, and certainly better communication. Imagine if everyone was equipped with ‘common sense’. We would be living in a heaven. But no. We need these adventures. Things that we will be later describing to others and laugh at them. Only I don’t know how much later that would be.

Maybe we’re expecting too much of others. But in essence we are only expecting the obvious. But maybe it is not so obvious after all…

The ‘if’s and reality

imageWhy is it that whenever you are in a hurry or late for a meeting the bus always takes forever to show up, when every other time there is one passing by ever five minutes?

Or when you’re all nicely dressed up and in high heels a car drives by and splashes the puddle of rainwater on your new outfit?

Or when you think you have finally emptied your to-do list, another million things appear for you to add on it.

There is an adage called Murphy’s Law you probably know it: Anything that can go wrong — will go wrong.

It usually does. Sometimes due to chance, sometimes due to circumstances, most times due to stupidity and lack of comprehending the obvious.

The need to plan ahead and have time to get to your meeting, the logic of not standing by the puddle in the first place, the courage to say ‘no’ and pace yourself.

Then again there are somethings that are simply out of your hand. When drowning in tasks you are forced to do and ask for help, you are not responsible if that boomerangs back as a negative answer. For if it is physically impossible for you to work during non-working hours then that is all there is to it. The cost of medical remedy far outweighs any financial remuneration you may receive from daily encounters with persons and situations that only weigh the benefits and not both sides.

If people had the good judgement to understand the rationale behind each situation, we would have better communication between us, we would live more harmoniously with each other and misunderstandings would not occur. But they don’t, and we don’t and they do.

It is a pity really. Because we then truly start to believe that Murphy’s Law is an unbreakable rule.

There is just one thing that it makes you truly wonder though: what really did happen to Murphy?

 

Goosfraba

YogamanDo you ever feel the urge to take out your anger on something? And always have “buy a punch bag” at the top of your list but somehow never get around to doing so? Like you need to find a way to calm your nerves, defuse your irritation and overcome your frustration with all the annoying things around you? Because it just is so true, that common sense is simply not common at all. And that what you think is obvious, may not be so for so many others. Either way, everyone needs to find a way to channel this enclosed negative adrenaline into a healthy outlet.

Some choose yoga, Pilates or even kick-boxing.

But there is one thing similar in all these activities. They all prompt you to “just breathe”.

In fact, one of the principles of managing your frustration and remaining calm is to breathe and count to ten. It will help you relax and lower the adrenaline levels that are surmounting inside you.

In Anger Management Jack Nicholson used a single expression as a mantra to do just this. Sitting in lotus position with hands in meditative mudra, he intoned “Goos Frabaaaaa.”

Goosfraba is also a word that Eskimos use to calm down their children. So it is not surprising that this was chosen as the key to nerve-control. (It is also a word Eskimos use when they’re having sex – but that is a completely different story).

So next time someone parks in your spot, an employee is rude, or you simply cannot communicate with the people you work with, just breathe and exhale “Goosfrabaaaa”.

Also part of Daily Post: Unsafe Containers

Also part of Daily Prompt: Big Day Ahead

Superstitious thirteenth

friday 13thFriday the 13th is weird. Because you expect something scary to happen, like you see in those horror movies, or something bad like urban legends and superstitions have you believe.

The scary thing is that something always does happen that accentuates your initial preposition against this “tremendous” calendar date.

Walking under a ladder or seeing a black cat on a Friday 13th won’t kill you (not that I know of at least). For what happens if your favourite pet cat is black? Or if you are employed in construction and happen to work with ladders?  Or worse yet, if both apply to you?

See, it’s a strange date.

Perhaps it is also because you expect something bad to happen, that whatever out-of-the-ordinary does happen on this date is interpreted as such.

Then again if confusion strikes and you can’t get your work done because other people fail to deliver their part of the deal; or if you get lost on the road due to wrong directions given; or better yet if your entire power is cut off – well, then it is arguable whether this is due to a superstitious date, or in fact the all-round stupidity of people who regularly prove that common sense is indeed not as common as it sounds…

Common sense should be rated as a superpower

They say common sense is actually a curse because you have to deal with all those who don’t have it. Indeed common sense is not as common as we may think. What strikes you as obvious may not be so for someone else. Indeed “nonsense is so good only because common sense is so limited” (George Santayana).

Things like looking both ways before you cross the street; not parking on a turn or on a sidewalk that pedestrians should use; editing before printing; counting your change; and simply paying attention to what you do and where you’re going, may be justly classified as common sense. Not to everyone though. Some people take things for granted. Like the fact that your change will always be the right amount. Or the fact that if there is no other place to park, leaving your car in the middle of the road is an acceptable practice. It’s the things that can tick a person off. That can irritate you and ruin your mood for the day. But it is also things that we simply should learn to accept, for the fact alone that human nature and its mentality are very difficult to change.

Common sense is defined as “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts” or even as “the basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way”. Common sense is based on a person’s rationale. His/her ability to rationalise situations and decide the appropriate form of action, simply based on what is obvious. For example, walking around a street lamp in the street and not climbing up it and down the other side; or even keeping your hand away from the fire. It is this ability to rationalise that supposedly gives humans their superior character. But what is obvious to one person doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be viewed the same way by another. That is why communication is intrinsic. It actually enables people to understand each other and one another’s perspective, and hence, their rationale on certain situations.

The only problem with common sense is that everyone thinks they possess it and this can lead to arrogance and the determined belief that “my way is more right than yours”. In such situations, however, it is important to remain calm and use justified arguments for your case. Patience, after all, is a virtue…

Inspiration, Expression and Life

Everyone has heard of a writer’s block. I’ve always wondered how and why it occurs. And lately it seems my questions have been answered. Suddenly and for various reasons, ranging from fatigue, to no free time to even the simple “there is nothing to write about”. But thing is, there is always something to write about!

We are constantly bombarded with news – from the civil war in Syria, to the economic crisis in Europe, to the corruption scandals (globally), to the stunts of royalty, to what “celebrities” had for lunch. There is always something to write about, to comment on, to express an opinion about. All you have to do is look out the window, a bit further out your back yard and a world of strange, weird and apparently newsworthy stories will reveal themselves. Sometimes you don’t even have to get out. You just sit in front of a screen and a whole different world opens up to you. Google becomes your best friend, Wikipedia your teacher, and YouTube your tour guide.

It is amazing how much information is available freely, just “out there”. And yet it is remarkable how certain societies try to suppress this. The voice that dares to be different, the voice that expresses a different opinion, the radical-extremist, as it is dubbed, has to be gagged if it does not abide to the status quo. Freedom of expression is among the fundamental pillars of a democratic society and one upon which true pluralism can be created and a society can move forward. Can progress. And can improve. Yet in our times, it appears it is too dangerous to have a different view. It is not only frowned upon but even punished. In the 21st century. Reminiscent of the Holy Inquisition. It is tragic that mankind has evolved so much and yet so little. As if it is revolving around a closed mindset that for some reason refuses to change, to open up. Voltaire had said that “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. Yet, today this appears to have transformed into something more similar to “I do not agree with what you have to say and I will lead you to your death for it”. Unfortunately, this is what our times demonstrate. An insatiable need for superiority. A stubbornness beyond measure. And an intolerance without reason.

Everyone wishes to appear cool and open-minded. But when it comes to tolerance, it seems no-one really has it. Tolerance, as “a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own” in our times rarely appears in its true form. People say they are ok with someone from a different race, religion or culture, but deep down that tiny worm of suspicion, of doubt is biting into them, keeping afloat that very feeling that makes people sceptic and insecure. There are so many things that are wrong in the world that we shouldn’t be adding more. Unity is power, and that is how people should stand. Together. Romantic as it all may seem. It does have a dose of truth in it, don’t you think?

And well, what do you know! Simply by beginning to think about something, a current issue, you can feel your thoughts flow out like a river rushing to find the sea. It is interesting how inspiration can be drawn from the smallest, even insignificant things, to the most dominant issues on the news. And yet, it is even better when it comes straight from you – from your eyes, your views, however different they may be.

Perhaps what is necessary is that we need to spend less time overloading our brain with information (often insignificant) and live a little more. Take a trip to the countryside. To the beach. Go horse-back riding. Go help pick olives. Enjoy the beauties nature has to give and be grateful that you get to enjoy it all. So, thank you for reading me. But I think now is time to act. So, put the mouse aside. Yes that one – the electronic mouse (why would you even have another?). OK, so put it aside and get up. Go. Go outside, go have some fun. Be it sun or rain, I am certain there will always be something extraordinary to do. That will fill you up with inspiration, and will energize you to continue your quest for whatever it is that your heart desires…

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” — Gertrude Stein

Also part of Daily Prompt: Overload Alert

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