Before mankind gained the ability to look at the earth from outer space, authors of speculative fiction tended to describe it as a giant green ball floating in a black void. Today, it is common knowledge that the earth is actually bright blue. Their mistake, however, is quite understandable.
Using common sense, an earthbound human can point to the abundance of green trees, green grass, the green oceans along inhabited shorelines, all as evidence supporting the hypothesis, the prediction, that the earth will appear green from outer space. And therein lies the problem with relying on common sense: Despite offering very compelling predictions and explanations, it is sometimes spectacularly inaccurate. And, even when it is not completely wrong, common sense can be misleading in its simplicity.
In some cases, an erroneous, common sense conclusion does little harm. Will the color of the earth from space have a big impact on an individual’s life? Probably not. At other times, though, being wrong can mean the difference between living a miserable, ineffective life and being ‘ awesome.
Take, for example, the common sense view of self-control. All humans with healthy brains possess this important mental faculty. Throughout the typical day, a person will be confronted with urges to behave…