I’m not a great believer in “common sense”. It’s always struck me as a veil for assumptions, and a barrier to divergent thinking. When someone uses this term (most commonly accompanied by its mates “just…” and “obviously…”) I’m tempted to respond: And for whom might this way of seeing be uncommon?
But as Kahneman and Tversky taught us, not only are assumptions, symbols and rule-of-thumb narratives part of life, they’re hard wired into how we prefer thinking. Most of the time, we don’t even notice. We see what we expect and spot the things that fit the patterns we’re used to or the story we’re already telling ourselves. And these patterns are really hard to break. Our brains love them.
So, what can we do, to see things anew, or notice what is hidden in plain sight? It turns out, one of the best things we can do is learn to draw.