When common sense and being human doesn’t prevail

The best in the west is not always the best…

I am always a long believer that the west has more to learn from Africa than it does helping Africa. I know my life if significantly ‘richer’ from having spent some time in parts of Africa. I have learnt invaluable lessons on resilience, resourcefulness, community, sharing, etc…

IMG_0593 (1024x512)This learning and these perspective turned into total frustration in the past week or so. I got news that the Happy, simply self-sufficient tiny home that I built with a group of volunteers in Australia in June last year will need to be moved. It needs to be moved because of ‘litigation and insurance concerns’. I have agreed with the group and I even understand where they are coming from and why, and if I was in their position I would be making the same decision so I don’t have ill feelings towards them or the eco village community. What it does though is sicken me to the bottom of my heart that humanity and common sense cannot prevail.

20141215_160406 (1024x768)It have been 1000x harder taking this news while being in South Sudan where common sense, personal responsibility and being human is still the normal way of life. Example: if you trip on the footpath (if there is one or there is one without most of it missing) you are the unlucky one and it is your fault for not watching out more closely while walking. Even if you are in a building that was not well made and it collapses on your head you are unlucky but still it is your personal responsibility.

I do agree there needs to be standards and we should try to meet those standards but in the end if you have made a decision to walk down the street or enter into a place, you are responsible for the consequences – just as humans had been until about 100 years ago in the west and as they mostly are in place like here in South Sudan.

When the line really goes off the chart for common sense and into pure inhuman, made-up, artificial, this-has-somehow-become-the-ridiculous-norm territory is when litigation and insurance worries override human common sense. If you stay in the Happy, simply home and in the very highly unlikely minuscule chance you get hurt, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for it to happen but you are responsible as you took the choice to stay there. If it was because of my fault I would be a good human and help where possible and apologise appropriately. What I wouldn’t do is go beyond that owing you all I have, forever. Accidents happen and unlucky consequences should be dealt with as a human not as a programed inhuman money-wanting victim role-play. I certainly know that there are a lot of people dead, maimed or hurt in South Sudan because of accidents and unlucky situations but their natural mandate is to not make others and the system a victim along with them.

20150322_190139 (1024x540)Western countries should use setting standards as a good service tool for communities to try and lessen accidents where possible but what we have is a system to create fear, scare people and allow the worst case scenario to dictate decisions and actions.

I don’t want to continue this rant as I could for a long time and a lot of people would probably follow along agreeing with me. So referencing my current surroundings in South Sudan  – I love the way of life in the countries I have been in Africa. It is sometimes raw, rough and unforgiving but it is real.

20150322_082745 (1024x768)I am very sad that the Happy, simply home won’t remain in the eco village and I wish being human and self-responsibility won at the end of the day. The best news is the Happy, simply home might have found a new wonderful spot so you will be welcome to stay – as long as you take responsibility for yourself!


6 thoughts on “When common sense and being human doesn’t prevail

  1. I agree in principle but it becomes more complex when you factor in capitalism. Without the threat of litigation, companies would seek to maximise profits to the detriment of public safety. Hell, this is already happening but at least there is legal recourse for those that are injured and companies are hopefully convinced to do it better next time.

    When I was reading your article, a Simpsons episode popped into my head, as this is where most of my worldly knowledge is derived. There is a scene where a ferris wheel falls apart at the Do As You Feel Festival because the engineer didn’t feel like doing his job right.

    You argue for humanity and common sense but in my (cynical) experience, humans are not very nice and ‘common’ sense is usually pretty dumb but maybe that’s because I’ve only ever lived in the West…and Springfield.

    • Thanks for the comment Beau and I too take significant learning and application from the Simpsons – as we all should.

      I think for me common sense lies in the region of common sense not no sense or ridiculous overbearing sense. I think people are innately pretty good and for those who aren’t there needs to be laws, litigation, liability and other measures – I agree.

      But what troubles me the most is that litigation and liability in Australia prevents what I think is common sense, not siding with most people who generally do the right thing. I think so much is lost when we have to cater so heavily to the dickhead element as the norm which is what I think the situation is in Australia.

      Example: I saw a post on Facebook where a child was burned by hot metal from the sun on a piece of play equipment. This is very sad and a tragedy for the girl and her parents. The person put the post on Facebook to alert others to be careful so their kids don’t also get burned on the play equipment – great. But what I saw in comments from others was a huge cry to sue the council and what a disgrace it was from the people who installed the equipment. In my view of common sense and what would happen in the not over-developed world is you learn from it, notify the people who are responsible for the equipment, they try to fix the problem and happy community. I was sickened that the automatic reaction in Adelaide from this Facebook community was to sue the council and blame them like they had installed it on purpose to burn children!

      I suppose my big point is that litigation and liability should be used when it is needed not as common rule/sense – if that makes sense!

  2. Litigation! The one thing i believe has ruined life for many. Litigation has it’s purposes, but suing for stupid things is just wrong. I had to sue a business after a fall on their property because my health insurance refused to pay my medical bills because I fell on business property. I asked only that my medical bills be paid. but on the other hand when I heard a mother complaining that she hoped her child would fall on the new playground at school so she could sue and never have to work again all I could think of was how any one would wish an injury on their child solely to gain a financial advantage. that’s where the problem is. So many want the easy way in life and therefore will go to court over the dumbest things.

    I’m sorry your home had to be moved but it’s good to know it may have a new start on another piece of property.

    • Hi Lois, This is another classic example of us being told to not live in a more human way and resolve problems with litigations and liabilities. Another point I think of when reading your comment is one of the major aims of the Happy, simply project which is to love, appreciate and strive for the a simpler, happier life that is not so dependent on money and wishing your child get hurt for financial advantage. I believe you can have most of those higher feelings and wishes without needing a litigation pay out! 🙂

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