Sadly, it is a fact that we live in an increasingly litigious society. It would appear that we cannot understand anything unless we are told about it. We cannot know that hot water comes out of the hot tap unless there is a sign saying ‘Danger – Hot Water’ above it. I have even heard people complain, even though there was a sign, that they did not realise how hot the water was! Really?
In the chip shop, there is a sign on the warmer above the range saying ‘Danger – Hot’. Come on, it’s a warmer! It is there to keep your food hot, there is a clue there.
I remember a story about a family in the Lakes whose young daughter fell over a waterfall. Fortunately, she was fine but the father complained that there were plenty of signs about dog poo but only a few signs about the danger of the waterfall. In my day, it would have been the responsibility of the parents to explain the danger and to make sure we did not go too near to the edge.
When we hear an advert on the radio for a new car and how we can have this wonderful and covetous vehicle for £199 per month, we are treated to a long, ridiculously fast series of caveats to comply with the law, ending with ‘Terms and Conditions Apply’. Really? I didn’t expect that at all and would not have known unless you told me!
I saw a nice explanation of common sense the other day. It was written in a law dictionary by John Bouvier in 1856 in America…
COMMON SENSE, med. jur. When a person possesses those perceptions, associations and judgments, in relation to persons and things, which agree with those of the generality of mankind, he is said to possess common sense. On the contrary, when a particular individual differs from the generality of persons in these respects, he is said not to have common sense, or not to be in his senses. 1 Chit. Med. Jur. 334.
It seems to me that we are not trusted to take responsibility for our own actions. They may have a point! I regularly see situations that prove Darwin’s treatise on evolution. Or is it that because we are surrounded by signs telling us what to do, that we are losing the ability to think for ourselves?
Maybe this is why, when we are told to use masks in shops and enclosed spaces, some of us choose not to wear one? Perhaps we have become so blasé about common sense that we are losing the ability to manage risk?
When I see people in a shop without a mask I think, you may know you have not got Covid-19 but do you know I haven’t? Are you willing to bet your life on it?
Caveat: Some people cannot wear masks because of existing medical conditions
See what I mean?