Driving ourselves mad – Cars and modern crashes

Today’s rant prompt was a story about motorway speed limits. To reduce pollution a reduced maximum speed, from 70 to 60 mph is being considered.

Since I find highways slightly less interesting than examining my toenail clippings I will instead focus on how this story acts as a great example of how this country tears itself in half by remaining stubbornly and deliberately blind to how things are.

We put increasing pressure on ourselves to get everywhere faster, do everything quicker and we have made profit the goal in almost all things. By such means the pressure on people increases and they find themselves HAVING to get to meetings, then home for the school run, then back to the office to finish some urgent reports, then up early and do it again… All the while it feels, for many, as if they are always late for everything.

On the flip-side we have repeating debates about road-rage, speeding and people who talk on mobiles while driving.
This latest measure is an attempt to combat pollution not speed, but it remains true that most of the drivers on the road, even the slower ones, are on their way to or from work. More than this, many are driving as work, such as couriers and hauliers. So the majority of traffic is there not for leisure or necessity, but to keep one business or another in profit.

In the simplest terms, we cannot have it both ways. We cannot infect the world with liberal capitalism and a monomaniacal obsession with money and profit and not thereby create haste, pressure and a need to hurry up.

We cannot make and sell cars for no-one to drive, or eradicate local production without creating a need to import. If we market unnecessary products as essential we must expect to have to deliver them. Having created a society that has forgotten how to delay gratification, we cannot be surprised when everyone wants their everything NOW!!

So we invent the conditions for our own unhappiness. Either we can’t have what we want, or we’ll choke ourselves to death delivering it.

Such is a perfect exemplar of modern life. As my recent post suggested, money is a fiction we have all bought into – and by doing so created appalling suffering for the poor, and pathetic suffering for those who crave and sometimes kill for the affluent dream. We want both – money and equality – but one precludes the other.

We want speed and safety, money and equality, plastic surgery and to be not judged by our looks, an endless supply of good television, musicians to be delighted that we get their music for free. Everywhere we manufacture conflict – wanting two things that cannot both be. So we are the architects of our own suffering.

Maybe you can throw some more examples at me: what else do we do which shoots our own desires or wants in the foot?

Meanwhile – since few of us can afford to reach the dizzy heights where money can insulate us from life’s vicissitudes, maybe we can instead audit ourselves and find out what illusions we are feeding that only serve to split us or make us miserable.

22 thoughts on “Driving ourselves mad – Cars and modern crashes

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    1. Hi Randee, thanks for stopping by. Who knows, if you spot them this could be the start of a more peaceful life πŸ˜‰
      How about: I want to feel good about myself, so I’ll join the gym and then feel bad about not going? I want to see the kids more so work overtime to afford a better lifestyle? Let me know if you get more – I may have to compile a list πŸ˜€

  1. There’s so much here to comment on… so much that has been commented on over the years, it seems.

    We do have a sense of instant gratification here in the Western world, and technology that has driven us to work even more rather than free us up to leisure, as it would seem. So much that supposedly has made our life easier, more connected– but we still find great hardship and loneliness. We are rushing about, but are we really getting anywhere? There does seem to be more who are looking back like yourself and wondering why that is.

    1. Perhaps, but I believe we already know why, but another catch22 prevents the cure. To change things requires power, but those with power benefit from how things are. The very nature of our ‘democracy’ promotes those who would sustain it.

  2. Oh Mr P – but are not the drivers that drive to work – doing it to support themselves, pay their bills, raise their families and not purely driving to keep the company they work for in profit? Just my two bobs worth. You have a job to attend, you drive if you don’t have means of public transport, to ensure your income, your survival. Yep I’m back πŸ™‚

    1. You are πŸ˜‰ Hello M’Lady.
      Yes, of course, the worker works to feed the family, but that doesn’t affect my point. The worker does an unnecessary job (very often) to earn money to exchange for food because the means for growing her own food have been taken from her. And while they work to earn, they really only work to profit another since all they get from earning they could (in a better world) ‘grow at home’, trade more fairly for etc.
      Liberal capitalism enslaves us to an economic system that necessarily leaves most of us poorer than if we were able to barter and trade our skills and ‘creations’ without any financial intermediary. Our rushing around the country to earn, then, is a by-product of this and so unnecessary.

  3. Oh, yeah. Another great by-product of this wonderful culture. I’ve always been impressed by those that rush to the gym in their SUV so they can run on the treadmill, rather than take a walk and enjoy what nature has to offer. The fast solution to exercise.

    Like eating fast food and expecting to stay healthy.

    We are so much the architects of our mad rush to death.

      1. Indeed. Waking up to the fact that we as individuals make these choices and what the true consequences are is a big step. I’m still discovering the effects of my choices. Including my own gym membership and what I gave up to “stay healthy”. Including how I allowed the media to affect my thoughts and desires and how liberating it has been to turn off the TV. Taking responsibility for what I think and what it really means is a new and satisfying type of existence.

      2. You mean give up mindlessness and medication? The staples of western culture? πŸ˜‰ I totally agree. These are great tools. What I’ve been finding is the power of perspective. I can only imagine based on your recent life events, that you’ve been gifted a great deal of this. It seems an amazing thing that some of my greatest lessons have come from change, much of it painful. I wish I had been taught mindfulness at an early age. Perhaps I would have altered some of the choices I made, thinking they were smart choices at the time.

      3. The greatest wisdom grows from mistakes – the wisest often being those who made the most mistakes.
        To reach the top in western culture you can make no mistakes. That’s why most wisdom is in the minds of the poor and power in the hands of the stupid!
        Sounds to me like you led the life you needed to help you see what to learn next – nothing wrong with that πŸ™‚

  4. Sorry for my delay, sir, I’ve been…recovering. πŸ˜‰ The first one that comes to my mind is that we want cheap fuel, and we also don’t want to give up our SUVs and our carbon footprint, but then we also don’t want to pollute the environment through fracking and additional drilling. We want to have our cake and eat it too, and with ice cream. Personally, I’m opposed to drilling and try to keep my fuel consumption as low as possible, but hey, that’s just me.

You can tell me anything (yes, even that!)

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