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When Luck Runs Out

Sense, and Sensibility

It is interesting to note how uncommon it is to have common sense because sensibility is not common by nature, on the contrary, it is driven by individual emotion. Everyone has common senses to constant stimuli, but their individual sensibilities have varied reactions.

On this topic, one cannot help but think about Jane Austen's novel Sense and Sensibility. Through the narrative, Austen represents the effects of the conducts of life as a "quiet and good" sense on the one hand, yet a "refined and excessive" sensibility on the other hand. In short, sense and sensibility is our perception of common sense.

According to Merriam-Webster: sense is the "capacity for effective application of the powers of the mind as a basis for action or response;" sensibility is the "awareness of and responsiveness toward something;" common sense is the "sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts."

"Common Sense"

The Western school of thought actually coined such a thing as common sense, and has since insisted so much to possess it. The phrase comes from one of the most revolutionary movements of the eighteenth century, quite possibly of all-time. It resonates in the lives of every American, although we may have forgotten.

"Common Sense" is a 1775-1776 pamphlet by Thomas Paine to the people of the thirteen colonies, calling them to seek independence from Great Britain. Before history knew it, colonists threw tea in the harbor and the United States was born. When all the people of an entire community move in belief of the same thing, that is where "common sense" is born.

The Most Sensible Thing

Whether reading Austen, Paine, or Merriam-Webster, the most sensible thing to do is to be kind to others as well as yourself. Loving thy neighbor as yourself is as common as sense can get, even when luck runs out.

Paul told the Corinthians that when all else passes, these three will remain: faith, hope, and love; and, the greatest of these is love." Love for people is greater than logic or reason, it's why we are. Yes, part of being wise is having common sense; the other part, though, is acting in loving kindness.

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Proverbs says, “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” So the next time we feel the urge to exclaim why the world will be a better place if someone else had common sense, may we stop and think about our ultimate purpose: to love each other.


Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. London, 1811.

Paine, Thomas. "Common Sense." Pennsylvania, 1775-1776.

Paul. 2 Corinthians 13:13; Macedonia, 55 AD.

Solomon. Proverbs 3:13-14. Jerusalem, 6-2 BC

© 2021 Marilyn Prado

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