I found a powerful definition in the teachings of a twelfth century Japanese Shogun, Yoritomo-Tashi. By the latter part of the twelfth century (i.e., 1186), greed, corruption, lawlessness, political intrigue, abuse of power, and total immorality had driven the Japanese empire into a state of demoralization. Sound familiar? The emperor selected Yoritomo-Tashi, one of the greatest statesmen that Japan has ever produced, to save the empire.

He defined common sense as the condition created by having certain positive mental characteristics (supports) overpowering negative mental characteristics (barriers). Unfortunately ever since the birth of our nation, the barriers to common sense have evolved to become the core of our culture.

SUPPORTS

1. Perception…awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensation.

2. Memory…the capacity for, or act of remembering.

3. Thought…the act or process of thinking.

4. Alertness (mental activity)…quick to perceive and act.

5. Reason…to take part in conversation, or argument.

6. Deduction…the deriving of a conclusion by reasoning.

7. Foresight…a view forward.

8. Judgment…the process of forming an opinion or evaluation¬† by discerning and comparing.

9. Self-Control…restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, or desires.

BARRIERS

1. Moral Inertia…indisposition to change relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior.

2. Indifference…absence of a compulsion (a drive or urge) to or toward one thing or another.

3. Sentimentality…the quality or state of being sentimental, especially to excess or in affection.

4. Egotism…an exaggerated sense of self-importance.

5. Illusion…something that deceives or misleads intellectually.

6. Impulse…a sudden, spontaneous inclination or incitement to some unpremeditated act.

A constant tug of war takes place in our brains, between supports and barriers, as we make decisions and solve problems. I believe that the potential for development of each of the barriers and supports is an inherent characteristic of the human brain! What triggers the development of those inherent characteristics? Is it possible for us to have a mixture of supports and barriers? Can someone have all supports and no barriers? Can someone have all barriers and no supports? I set out to answer those questions!