Sorry, Theseus, it’s not the same thing. People with commonsense is a subset of the general populace, and it means there are also people without commonsense. In the Greek expression ο λαός is the totality of the citizens. The expression “Όπως λέει ο σοφός λαός” could become “as common wisdom tells us / would have us believe” and the like, but “ο σοφός λαός” is also often used in politics to denote the collective (and wise) will of the people.
I know collective has also been chosen here as an aid to understanding the concept (ο σοφός λαός).
I accept the concept of collective wisdom
but can't readily get my head around collective will
One of the problems with collective will (to me anyway) is it has undertones of a socialist or communist system which implies the concept/philosophy of Collectivism, where Individual decisions are entrusted to a representative body, which has the expertise and authority to decide on behalf of and for the common/collective good of the people and thus (at least in theory anyway) to express their will. So rather than it being the collective will of the people, it's the will of their representative body here that's really being expressed and exercised.
But leaving the "isms" and undertones aside and getting back to the discussion, can we really talk about the collective will of the people and is the collective will
ever really going to be expressed anyway ?
If for instance 51% of the people voted for political party A and 49% didn't, was it the collective will of all the people being expressed that brought party A into power or in reality only that of the 51% (only about half of the collective will ) ?
Contrasting it with collective wisdom.. collective wisdom implies (to me) a cooperative effort that draws on the sum total of individual knowledge and wisdom that is continually being added to and has been passed down through the ages.
The sum total of individual knowledge and wisdom can be collective and additive I suppose and so in that sense "collective wisdom" does sound plausible and realistic whereas I think that "collective will" does not i.e. is an ideal or idea at best and should only be used figuratively.
Maybe just the will of the people
should suffice ? (i.e. we should drop "collective" here) where will of the people
here is tantamount to and should denote will of the majority
(of the people) whereas collective wisdom
can perhaps be used unreservedly.
Just my thoughts anyway, which should be taken with a grain of salt.