Reflections! Stupidity or Lack of Common Sense?

Stupidity or Lack of Common Sense?
By William L. Bulla

Stupidity! That's a very harsh word. Yet it's a word that many of us use on a regular basis, in one form or another. We tend to use the word "stupid" to apply to people, rather than the actions that truly deserve the label.
Lack of common sense! Common sense has been missing for a very long time. The effects of a lack of common sense are everywhere these days The effects this lack of common sense have on our society can be devastating. Stupid by definition refers to someone who lacks intellectual acuity. Common sense on the other hand refers to someone's judgment or lack thereof.
I don't think there is such a thing as a stupid person. However, there are plenty of people who make stupid decisions! We see this reflected in our media every day. Recently a professional basketball player took hand guns into his locker, then later pointed the unloaded weapons at fellow players. Was this an act of lack of common sense or an act of stupidity?
Perhaps, both! Knowing he should not have guns in his locker and taking them in could be a lack of common sense. To point them at other players certainly was a stupid act. At least, that's my opinion. What's yours?
Stupidity could become a habit. If you consistently make enough stupid decisions, you end up having a habit of doing stupid things. Habits, in turn, become a lifestyle, and the next thing you know, you are feeling like and/or being branded as a stupid person.
We all do stupid things. And while there are many people who would prefer words such as "misguided" or "ill-advised" or "inappropriate," they are still stupid things. Some people live their lives committing stupid acts without feeling the least bit of regret.
Stupidity does not refer to limited mental capacity or ability. Lacking knowledge about something is not stupidity. Stupidity is doing something that we know is wrong and that we know can harm another person.
Stupidity is an obstacle to living life fully because we pay for our actions in regret or anger at ourselves. Stupidity, as an obstacle, pertains to our acts, those acts which we know we shouldn't do before we do them. We may apologize for what we have done, but that does not change our stupid actions.
Common sense is a hard thing to define. It is something which some people seem to possess a large amount and others do not seem to possess it at all. Over the years, I have also encountered people who have had a poor education, and might be classed as a little stupid, but who I know I could rely on to show common sense in an emergency. And at the same time I have known many highly educated persons that seem to be brilliant but lack common sense.
Overall, I tend to believe that most people in this world have something to offer. Some people have little or no common sense but could never be classed as stupid. Often it is not their actions, but their comments that reflect stupid comments. Perhaps, we should remember Abraham Lincoln's remarks, " 'Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt."

William L. Bulla is a freelance writer residing in Washington County.