Where did

common sense go?

I have to admit that I love Netflix. It has definitely changed the way we watch televi- sion forever. My problem is that when I finish a good series, it takes me a while to find another one. During that transition, I start searching all the content Netflix has to offer with no patience at all. I start watching a new episode and if I do not en- gage quickly, I quit. It is like flipping chan- nels while watching regular TV and you do not find anything you like. One of those nights, desperately search-

ing for something to watch, I found a great show that I highly recommend: My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman. US TV legend Letterman teams up with fascinating global figures for in-depth interviews. I have watched several episodes, but there’s one that I really liked which inspired me to write this article. It involved an interview with former

president Barack Obama. In one moment during the conversation with Letterman, Obama spoke about the current divisions in American society. He said that “people no longer share a common baseline of facts”. Tis struck a chord with me.

During the past three years, one thought has come to my mind over and over: peo- ple do not use common sense anymore. When I was growing up, I often heard the expression “it’s common sense”. How can we define common sense? For me, it is a natural skill that we develop to reason and make decisions, usually based on the wis- dom we acquire throughout life. Obama was talking about American so-

ciety but his premise – we do not share a common baseline of facts – can be ex- tended to any democratic society around the world. I not only agree with his state- ment, I would add that it is the lack of common sense that is the cause making us not to be able to share that common base- line of facts. I am a journalist and, I have to confess, a

digital news addict (my wife calls it a “dis- ease”). In any spare moment I have, I check the news on my phone to find out what is going on in the world. Now, more than ever before, it is easy to access the ‘news’ but it is equally important to find out what the facts are. And this is the problem. As Obama said, people are entitled to their own opinions

“The real challenge is to have the capacity to see the facts – and they should be the same facts for everyone – from outside of our “comfort zone,” through the eyes of those who do not think like us.”

FOCUS The Magazine 19

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