The human traffic jam
Humans are amazingly unaware of themselves these days, and it takes some real stepping out of yourself to become self-aware.
How many times have we all said we were “stuck in traffic”? How many times have we sat in a traffic jam and blamed our predicament on every other driver on the road?
Well, here’s a thought; we aren’t just stuck in traffic… we are traffic.
I know, I know, you’re different. You saw the commercials for cars that showed a driver pressing down the accelerator and flying down the open road to a lonely mountain top that only you can get to because you bought the Behemoth XL. Now you are sitting in an eight-lane parking lot surrounded by people who can’t drive.
The thing is, everyone around you saw the same commercial and visualized themselves flying down the open road to a lonely mountaintop that only they can reach because they bought the Behemoth XL. And they are now sitting next to you, and they think you can’t drive either.
As we sit there being late for something, we start to seethe. We don’t get angry with the auto industry for lying to us about the state of our roads in every commercial while increasing the size of vehicles all the time. We don’t get mad at car dependency. We don’t get mad at government for poor traffic management and design with zero alternatives. We don’t get mad at ourselves for forgetting reality while watching the ad for the Behemoth XL.
…We get mad at each other for being stuck in a system that isn’t working as promised.
It’s called misdirection. Misdirected anger, specifically.
The person in front of you doesn’t set the work zone speed limits, why exactly are you so enraged at them for obeying the law?
The shoe can go right on the other foot; if you are obeying the construction zone speed limit and traffic around you is running you down, why are you mad at the other drivers? Especially when saturation speed patrols work?
Both drivers have reason to be mad… at the state, not each other.
How many areas are we all misdirecting anger? We’ve got a nation so “divided” that some think we are on a course toward civil war, how much of that is misdirected anger?
We complain about the “other” so much these days, to what extent are we all just stuck in the traffic we have created and become?
We either hate the Democrats or the Republicans (voters), but Americans of all stripes have 32 trillion reasons to hate the politicians of both parties and the permanent overgrown bureaucracy that is sucking up our future with debts.
We complain of an epidemic of loneliness, all lonely in our encapsulated /car centric/ smartphone lives… we can’t seem to figure out that family and real community is the way out of being alone… and as author James Howard Kunstler has pointed out, our zoning laws are a root cause of our loneliness (and a lot of other problems).
A civil war won’t make us less lonely, it won’t make the debt situation any better either, nor will it solve traffic. As a matter of fact, there isn’t a single problem America is facing that a civil war would improve.
And we sit here, in our smartphone segregated human traffic jam, in our single-family home suburb, ignoring people who are in the same room as we are. And we wonder why boys think they are girls…. and we seethe about the other phone users, on our phones.
Stepping out of ourselves and realizing that we are a part of the traffic jam is the first step in fixing traffic. Stepping out of ourselves and realizing that we are all part of a larger system would be helpful in so many areas of our lives where we are failing to understand root causes of our many problems.
The alternative is to become South Africa. A place where root causes of problems are never addressed, and a death spiral has ensued.