Common sense

I hate common sense.

Why would anyone kip down during the day at Pimlico station on the Victoria line in a sleeping bag, a sheet of cardboard as insulation from the concrete below? That’s the way to Tate Britain, so I see people there because I pass there. Perhaps people give them money. Perhaps they have homes to go to, they are just panhandling. I don’t get a feeling of benevolence giving to them, just of guilt. It is a fabulously small thing to do.

I get the arguments. I heard them in Cardiff when Social Services told Cytûn the late night soup run was doing more harm than good. If you make it possible for people to live on the streets then you keep them in that misery. There are better things to do for them. In Edinburgh at one time you could buy breakfast tickets for 50p from a particular charity, and give them out instead of money. The charity got your money, if the person did not need the breakfast he would not go, you were giving real food rather than money for alcohol. Social Services are doing what they can. Though under the Tories, Society’s response gets less helpful- fewer houses for homeless people in priority need- and more punitive- squatting is now a criminal offence; and the Australian method of providing a payment card to pay for goods with benefits rather than cash, so that claimants cannot gamble or buy alcohol is humiliating and mean, not high-minded, and the government knows it.

Why would the Pope want to give them a quid if asked? Because there is not much I can do as an individual- vote Labour once every two or five years, or give them a quid. I am not doing much harm- you can’t get that much extra strong lager or whisky-flavoured alcohol for a quid, and they might just buy breakfast with it. He said, look them in the eye, show love and respect.

What could I do if I disagreed with a Quaker about this? What Quakers do: listen to each other. I know you are not robotically unloving just because you do not agree with me on giving to beggars; I hope you know I am not completely out of touch with reality. Or something, or know I am not an enemy because of a disagreement.

I hate common sense because it is out of touch with reality, because I sought safety in common sense, in doing the good, right or sensible thing, and it did not work. Common sense is therefore a way of thinking which is less than necessary. I want holy foolery instead- not that I imagine I have it.

I am not sure I have adjusted to agriculture, I might be better as a hunter-gatherer, though that also required a great deal of preparation, thinking ahead and deferring gratification: all that work creating stone spear points or axes and leather tents. Maybe the Green Party will enter government and institute the Universal Basic Income. Maybe one of the impulses which I find more compelling or enticing than common sense will actually lead to something profitable.

Leave Common Sense to the Aspies. There’s Richard, constructing a hugely detailed map of the world and his place in it, asking me about wind energy because that was his interest at the time and he wanted to know the vague generalisations I knew about it- sort of an info suck rather than an info dump. He might be better to learn to find what a person is expert in- everyone is expert in something- and suck that. Common sense fits him because he loves it and it works for him better than anything else.

Common sense is what I have worked out already, and nothing I have worked out already works.

Common sense is the Sin against the Holy Spirit, she declared, sententiously: letting go of the Leadings of the Light within in favour of plodding logic. Though I hardly know anything I imagine might be a Leading. I mean well. There is some love, there, sometimes-… ?

Common sense v Leadings, I say. Is that the same as Hadley Freeman‘s freedom v fundamentalism? No, but I may be groping towards similar ideas.

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