There may be a distinction between sensitivity and sensibility; however, these lines often blur and even overlap rapidly. Conducting oneself sensibly both at and outside of work automatically assumes that one’s sensitivity is well-attuned to the present times. Simultaneously, regularly refreshing sensitivity presumably ensures that one always carries oneself sensibly, both at and outside of work. Yet, it’s worth pondering: what is the origin of human common sense? Has our evolutionary past shaped our common sense based on what was necessary to survive our challenging and wild history? Does common sense evolve quickly to suppress the unintentional emergence of outliers, or is it always a post hoc adaptation to align with the times after the fact?
The Joint Commission has established workplace standards for health care environments, encompassing physical, psychological, social, economic, legal, spiritual, and various other norms to ensure that personal comfort boundaries are not violated. In non-private public spaces, especially within workplaces, everyone’s freedom to express themselves should find common ground to avoid intruding upon others’ personal comfort.
In the pursuit of happiness and the absence of suffering, humans have consistently sought to thrive in well-defined and appropriately organized environments, which include not only other humans but also non-human entities, both living and non-living, natural and artificial, and real or virtual systems. Consequently, it becomes the responsibility of systems to regulate humans and their environments if humans themselves are unable to prevent inadvertent or intentional breaches of personal comfort boundaries among each other.
Perhaps the legal entity known as the Joint Commission could extend its jurisdiction beyond patient care areas to establish standards for locker rooms and office spaces. This is because workplace standards in these areas should not merely focus on physical norms but should also consider psychological, social, economic, legal, spiritual, and other norms. Questions arise: Should personal clutter be considered? Should expressive arts be accounted for? Should loud conversations be monitored? Should uncomfortable postures be addressed? Should emotional venting be regulated? Should scents be controlled? Should political division be addressed? Should spiritual practices be considered? Should innocuous discussions be monitored? Should harmful gossip be discouraged?
Paradoxically, when isolated from their evolutionary biomes and microbiomes that help balance their innate immune systems, individuals may become hypersensitive beings, hyper-sensitized by their environments. Their heightened recollection of past sensitizing events may lead to accelerated anamnestic responses when exposed to similar or dissimilar, related or unrelated sensitizing events in the future. These anamnestic responses increase the risk of anaphylaxis, regardless of the type, frequency, or intensity of sensitizing events occurring inside or outside locker rooms and office spaces.
Deepak Gupta is an anesthesiologist.