If you’re familiar with the MBTI you’ll know that people can be of two types when it comes to interpreting the world - Sensing and Intuitive. The ‘Sensing’ people are those who see things that are seeable if you get my drift. :-) They use their eyes, ears, hands, nose, and mouth to interpret the world – through activities like seeing (physical objects/incidents etc), hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting. They are the observant types and have an eye (and a couple of ears and hands and a mouth and a nose.) for the details. They would be good people to go to when one needs directions, details, etc. In other words someone you should conceivably rely on if you wanted to go exploring a thick jungle and have plans of returning home. One would imagine that they are the earthy – practical – types; the ones who are commonsensical** and stick to what the world has to show and are inclined toward hard core tangible facts as it were. On the other hand, the ‘Intuitive’ people are those who can’t probably see what’s happening right under their nose and couldn’t care less about the details. They more often than not ignore the things that stare them on their face and look for something that’s beyond the obvious and visible. The imaginative types. The ones you should perhaps rely on when trying to explore something befuddling/strange/weird and apparently impossible. :)
Okay. Here’s where I put forth my theory.
**Common Sense: This oft used term - says the dictionary - means Sound judgment not based on specialized knowledge; native good judgment. I think the emphasis here is on two words - ‘not’ and ‘judgment’. Our natural tendency going by the classification of types of people above would be to believe that the type with common sense is the ‘Sensing’ type rather than the ‘Intuitive’ type. Why? Because the Sensing people are considered to be practical and alert (active senses). But I have a different proposition here. I’ve drawn the opposite conclusion in fact. Why? I’ve combined and connected two concepts - the attributes of the Sensing people and the Hindu philosophy of the world being Maya (Illusion/Delusion). Here’s how I would explain it - Sensing people rely primarily on the five senses. The five senses function based only on what is seen/heard/smelt etc. It is based on what is perceived to be happening in the world. BUT as per Hindu philosophy, the world is Maya. Which means that the world is an illusion. What you see happening is not the truth. It is a put on. (And we all know anyways, that nothing that happens in the world can be assumed to be true on the face of it. There are too many things happening behind the scenes. And like Shakespeare said “the world is a stage and we are all actors in it”. We don’t say what we really mean; we don’t many a time mean what we do and so forth. In a world where many people lead lives centered on money, fame, and power, and more fundamentally to survive in this world, not everything that is projected is honest and true. Nothing has escaped contamination though in varying degrees – be it politics, journalism, business, and even religion.) So, what does this imply? Anyone who draws conclusions based on just what she sees in the world may more often than not be way off target. When something is way off target, it obviously cannot be ‘common sense’ in the real sense– that is, something that leads to sound judgment (does that make sense? ;)). It will take someone who can see beyond what is visible to the naked eye to understand what the reality/truth is. In other words, this may be a job best left to the Intuitive type rather than the Sensing type!!! I rest my case here.
Here’s a fascinating and associated thought process that I went through while dwelling on this topic. What type do you think Sherlock Holmes was? Or for that matter any of the real-life detectives? Do they have to be the Sensing type or the Intuitive type? Think about it. It doesn’t at least to me seem easy to conclude that they ought to be one of the two types. I think it is essential for a detective to be both Sensing and Intuitive at the same time! If they were to take the MBTI they would fall in between the two categories. Isn’t that intriguing? A detective will obviously have to grab every clue available for which she needs to use all her senses. At the same time, a detective cannot rely only on clues. She will have to look beyond the obvious and see through the artificially projected picture. She will have to be Intuitive to find out possible motives and cut through fabricated aspects of the case! (No wonder many people (including me) find themselves admiring detectives and hooked on to detective stories) Can you think of any other profession that demands both these qualities?