Time Essay: The Uncommonness of Common Sense

There are three kinds of senses: physical, common and non.

The first is used (and abused) by everyone. The last has become the property of infants, absurdists and politicians. And the one in the middle? Strung between the poles of the superrational and the occult, it suffers from disuse and neglect. The nation suffers along with it.

There was a time when native intelligence was the salient American virtue. When Citizen Tom Paine wished to incite his countrymen, he titled his pamphlet Common Sense. His colleague Benjamin Franklin made a career of common...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!