Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Common sense is not for the common man (2)

Early 2015, I published my blog: Common sense is not for the common man. In 2021, its title seems more relevant than ever before. I was reminded of my 2015 blog following a sentence in someone else’s blog post: “There seems to be nobody with common sense in governments anymore.” While I seldom agree with this writer, I do agree with this observation.

From 2018 to 2020, I wrote seven blogs about the decline in common knowledge. Such a decline fits a society in which job specialization continues to increase. This development makes sense given the ongoing increase in (detailed) knowledge. Managers aim to align company goals and the use of specialists. Some of the current job titles that are being advertised are beyond my imagination.

Today, I’m wondering if (and how) these developments are linked with my recent blogs about “our era of stupidity” and the emerging idiocracy.

To a (very) large extent, the issue of generalization vs specialization (eg, jobs) is similar to our macro vs micro focus and perspective on various subjects (eg, Covid-19). Perhaps, it’s as simple as this: a micro and/or specialist view prevents a focus on common knowledge and/or commons sense.

My background as a chartered/registered accountant/auditor (in Dutch: RA) requires me to know a “little” about many topics. By definition, this makes me a generalist with a macro focus. Actually, this perspective on my background is brand new to me.

Quite recently, I wrote a few blog on Change blindness. I now realize that change blindness is likely to increase given the ever-growing distance in focus between general & macro versus micro & specialised.

Change blindness is (much) more likely to occur with specialised people who hold a micro view. Nevertheless, change blindness can also happen with auditors who should hold a macro view. See my recent blog: Change blindness (2): audit blindness.

Politicians should be generalists who should have a macro focus. Unfortunately, the very nature of representative democracies requires a micro focus on the next election in order to maintain Power. Any crisis (eg, Covid-19) increases this micro focus. Hence, the blog writer’s remark: “There seems to be nobody with common sense in governments anymore.”

A continued micro focus will cause a continued decline in (i) common knowledge and in (ii) common sense, as well as Change blindness, and is thus cause for serious concern (eg, about an emerging idiocracy).

Fool’s Paradise (1975) by Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
artists, artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2, Wiki-3

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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