Common Sense II

I hate common sense because it has not been kind to me.

Common sense says people want to do what they are paid to do, so they will continue to be paid to do it. So, when it is pointed out to them that they are not doing what they are paid to do, they will respond, “Ooh! Thank you! We will now do the sensible thing,” rather than “We know better, and what we are being paid to do is not what we want to do, what we clearly see to be the Right thing for us to do.”

I am sorry to keep going on about that, but it remains a big thing in my life. I was right. They were wrong. You will see that emotion is a huge part of my response to this issue- Would you do the same again? God knows, I might just run away screaming. I fought my big battle to get the crooked doctor sacked, and the next crooked doctor I gave up. I burst into tears in the tribunal waiting room and shortly after stopped doing tribunals. Yet, I was right. They were wrong.

Common sense also says that your parents don’t keep silent, lie or pretend about everything. Of course people do, because however much they pretend they don’t use common sense, not really. Pretence is so much more bearable than reality, at least until it breaks down, and you may be lucky and it does not break down, or even keep pretending after it did because that is all you know.

Common sense tells me I am a man and transition is ridiculous. So I fought it and ran from it. That did me no good. The desire to transition is completely emotional. It was more important to me than survival.

Of course I can think things through rationally, but when I apply feeling to them, the sensible thing has no life in it. Should I look for work? No. I would rather sit at home. I have been hurt, badly hurt, repeatedly hurt. I have had six years now of licking my wounds, mostly. Four years at least. It makes sense if I am healing. Possibly I am. What do I feel about it? I feel I am. I can say what I think, and there is a more profound action when I say what I know to be true. I am healing.

I don’t know. Perhaps I could find a less sterile way of conceptualising rational thought or common sense, some way less completely divorced from emotional content. Feelings give goals, then rationality finds ways to those goals, seems to make sense- when I think about it, I assent to it- yet when I try it, it does not seem to work. I use rational thought for worthwhile purposes, and the moments when it does not work for me, when I have emotional blocks against the obvious, common sense course, are vivid in my mind.

I am left with those emotional blocks, the moments when I run away screaming because I have fought this battle before, and lost.

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.

Fear and bravery

I am allowed not to make sense, but do not always realise that.

Recent experiences have been pleasant. I was out leafleting for Labour last night. We met in the car park, and chatted for a bit, then I got my road group and cycled there. A man in his garage took my leaflet, and said he had voted Labour already. A woman in her front garden encouraged her toddler to take my leaflet from me. I had put the lock on my bike but not locked it to anything, and worried that someone would pinch it or hide it. That would require particular malice and nastiness, and there are few people walking round that corner, even on such a lovely midsummer evening. I cycled home and met two other leafleters- we chatted pleasantly for a few minutes. The whole experience was Nice. I remain afraid of the world.

I was too hot in the sunshine when I got to Swanston, and walked to the tea-shop with my wig off. So, sometimes I show fear, and sometimes a lack of circumspection.

It seems to me that if I show any vulnerability Enemies will pounce.

I leave my house, walk to the bus stop, and have to go back to check I have locked my front door, because I cannot remember and therefore imagine I have been an idiot, not locking it. I am capable of such idiocy: when I went to Portugal I left my electric blanket on, and though that was more likely to fuse it than to start a fire, I feared my flat would be burned out.

It is liberating giving this fear a voice, even though it is not sensible. Telling it to shut up and not to be so stupid has not worked, is not loving and shows no self-respect. So, give it a voice. I have been seeing my fear as a problem, but it is a part of me, needing loved and integrated. Love “drives out” fear, and soothes the fearful. I have wanted to show my fear it is wrong, but that shows no self-respect either.

I had thought work would be safe if I stuck to the rules, except it wasn’t. I feel my fear is my parents’ fear too.

I have very little knowledge of my maternal grandmother’s maternal grandfather, Mr Butt- only his surname, and only 90% certainty of its spelling. He drove a hackney carriage. At one time he owned three and had an arrangement for others to drive two on his behalf; but he lost the other two, through drinking. And, he would wander home drunk taking stuff from shops; the shopkeepers would let him, knowing he would be back to pay for it when sober. Stuff he did not need and could not afford, perhaps. I have the feeling my relatives felt as I feel about this, half disapproving, half admiring.

There are all these bits of myself I cannot admit because I can’t accept them. You haven’t said much today.

-I’ve been contemplating you contemplating your humanity. You can’t integrate without acceptance. Your need to find order in this.

Possibly I need to find order too much. I objected to a Labour volunteer calling the candidate a “young girl”. Women object to this. I wondered if it might make her seem more approachable, more “One of us” so more likely to get votes; or diminish respect for her, less likely to get votes. Probably the effect either way is too marginal to bother with. I do want order though. It seems safer if I can understand.

-You can’t show bravery without fear. Foolhardiness, perhaps.

I treasure this comment from over a year ago: I think you are extremely brave.

-I noticed you equate forgetfulness with idiocy.

Well, it was silly to leave the electric blanket on. “Idiocy” might be a bit strong. I need to be sensible and clever. I am clever, just not sensible.

-Perhaps that is a mercy not a curse, she says.