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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 89 pages of information about Common Sense, How to Exercise It.

And the philosopher concludes: 

“A very little reasoning could suffice to convince one of the dangers of sentimentality, if the persons who devote themselves entirely to it consented to reflect, by frankly agreeing to the true cause which produces it.

“They would discover in this false pity the desire not to disturb their own tranquility.

“They would also perceive that, in order to spare themselves a few unpleasant moments in the present they are preparing for themselves great sorrow for the future.

“In parental affection, as in friendship or in the emotions of love, sentimentality is none other than an exaggerated amplification of the ego.

“If it be true that all our acts, even those most worthy of approbation, can react in our personality, at least it is necessary that we should be logical and that, in order to create for ourselves a partial happiness or to avoid a temporary annoyance, we should not prepare for ourselves an existence, outlined by deception and fruitless regrets.

“Sentimentality and its derivatives, puerile pity and false sensitiveness, can create illusion for those who do not practise the art of reasoning, but the friends of common sense do not hesitate to condemn them for it.

“In spite of the glitter in which it parades itself, sentimentality will never be anything but the dross of true sentiment.”

LESSON VI

THE UTILITY OF COMMON SENSE IN DAILY LIFE

As our philosopher explains, the influence of common sense is above all appreciation of daily events.  “We have,” he continues, “very rarely in life the opportunity of making grave decisions, but we are called upon daily to resolve unimportant problems, and we can only do it in a judicious way, if we are allowed to devote ourselves to certain kinds of investigation.

“This is what may be called to judge with discrimination, otherwise, with common sense.

“Without this faculty, it is in vain that our memory amasses the materials, which must serve us in the comparative examination of facts.

“And this examination can only be spoiled by decrepitude, if common sense did not succeed in dictating its conclusions to us.

“Thanks to this faculty, we possess this accuracy of mind which permits us to discern truth from falsehood.

“It is this power which aids us in distinguishing what we should consider as a duty, as a right, or as a thing conforming to equity, established by the laws of intelligence.

“Without common sense we should be like an inexperienced gardener, who, for want of knowledge, would allow the tares to grow and would neglect the plants whose function is to nourish man.

“In order to conform to the habit of judging with common sense, one ought first to lay down the following principle: 

“No fact can exist, unless there is a sufficient motive to determine its nature.

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