Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Common sense of the senseless?

I don't have much time to keep up with news, but the story about the Planned Parenthood employee who was caught on tape collaborating in illegal activities against young teenage girls has been gnawing at me (not something I feel the need to include in this post, but "Bravo!" to Lila Rose and the people of Live Action for pulling up the carpet to reveal the rot). The resulting fallout from the public scandal (PP's response) finally compelled me to weigh in on the absurdity of using words without considering their meaning.

There has been some talk about the term “common sense”, particularly regarding Planned Parenthood’s employee training. What struck me as odd is that the term “common sense” is being used by a group that has been senseless from its inception and degrading of the common dignity of the human person.

Let’s define “common sense” according to human standards, shall we? Starting with the term, “common”, meaning what is shared by all. What exactly IS shared by all? The fact that humans are comprised of both body and soul, that our lives are directed toward a purpose, that our activity is distinct from animals: these are all observable realities. We think, we reason, we have tools and solve problems. We contemplate complex moral issues. We deliberate. In short, there is nothing that can explain the intricacies of the human existence other than the existence of a soul which animates the body. The term “common”, therefore, cannot deny the reality of a shared human existence.

“Sense” is another term that cannot be used flippantly. It is a means of gathering knowledge about perceivable realities. We use tangible senses to determine action. Simple instincts in conjunction with our senses compel us to remove our hand from a hot burner or to spit out something that tastes bitterly poisonous.

In putting the two terms together, we get a powerhouse of meaning. Sensate knowledge combined with what is common to all humans, namely the soul, ignites all the capacities of human intellect and will. Memory, reasoning and the desire to act in accordance with goodness (what is good for our bodies and souls) comprise this uniquely human gift of “common sense”.

No organization that supports the destruction of human life can invoke this standard of using “common sense”. Its mission is to support the willful termination of human life which denies the dignity of the human and the reality of the soul. In effect, Planned Parenthood is training its employees deny their own innate wisdom, and the result is evidenced in the cold words of someone who is clearly desensitized.

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