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Heavy traffic on the road to Utopia

28 September 2000
Matt mirrors, signals, maneuvers.

I can't hear the cultural phenomenon as it happens but I see it while I'm watching the two girls on the bridge over the motorway, and just as a gust of wind unfortunately does not lift their skirts they wave at the drivers of the cars passing below them -- or the cars themselves, it's difficult to be sure.

It's a relic of an infant habit, one that appears to be a part of the normal socialisation of the human being but is actually an emergent property of the interplay of society and how we regard society. Note, aside to audience, N.B.: By 'we' it is not meant 'society'. I talk of the individual before (and the initialisation of during) social interaction, and how they regard the mass of humanity from the outside looking in (a place each of us is in once and one only).

This habit, this greeting of traffic, evolves separately in so many of us; I argue that it is not symptomatic of our civilisation, but actually indicative of the direction humanity possesses (furthermore: an indicator which has only become available in the last century), a fundamental and important pointer. That these young women repeat it, well out of infancy (strikingly so, although, alas, the wind is frustratingly not quite strong enough to grant me a view of their pants) and the associated social induction, is testament to the strength of the engram during their formative years.

Then, we must ask: what is waving? A wave is a tug I make from your universe into mine. One waves to start a relationship, an interaction; a wave is an information ripple in the noosphere, and if you see it then I am part of your experience. You are simply your experiences, summed and cross-multiplied. Now add in my wave -- you are no longer perfect and undilute, you are partially me. I have penetrated your existence.

And so, to counterattack, to even the balance: you wave back.

The wave spreads the individual's phenotype. It is an Evolutionary Stable Strategy to have as many interactions for memetic reproduction as possible. We all lust to be on the left side of the bell curve: The most successful of us can reach the world in only 5 degrees. So, we wave, we wave, we wave.

But waste not that wave on the feeble minded, the weak. The weak! -especially. There weren't so many niches in the now Amazonian meme-space when humanity shat on the African savannah. The waves would flock towards the strong and most likely to survive. We strive after relationships with those who would protect us.

And cars are strong. And fast. They're large, loud, powerful, have lengthy lifespans, and can kill with ease. A human child of the age of two has not the capacity in its plastic brain to see that while the qualities are present the form is wrong. The brain sets, and the patterns in place decades later cause traffic-greeting among young female adults (with tremendous thighs, visibly obvious despite the wind refusing to acknowledge - or, for that matter, even confirm - their true length and beauty).

Much more serious are lorries and fire-engines.

So now we must step carefully backwards through the broken glass of my thesis. Small children automatically wave to socialise themselves, using instructions hardcoded in the brain; said waving occurs preferentially towards discrete things (be they individuals or objects) bearing qualities evolution found necessary in human proto-society. Thus we may deduce the basic qualities upon which every human society is founded: And we find that those qualities are to be found in the car.

I need not emphasise how dangerous this is. I need not point out how lucky humanity is to have progressed so far on values so violently out of touch with civilisation 18 thousand years after the last (and most pivotal) ice age. Something, and I resort to cliché making no excuse given the serious nature of the situation, must be done.

Madam, Sir: There is nothing we can do for our children to change their innate behaviour short of in-vitro genetic manipulation and/or selective breeding, coupled with, I dare say, extensive Electro-Convulsive Therapy for the under-10s and widespread inner-city and suburban traffic calming measures (speedbumps, cameras, road narrowing and the like).

Naturally, I would suggest none of the above. Instead, there are steps we must take as individuals.

Do not drive. The less exposure babies and infants have to cars, the less they will see their qualities as a usual and widespread component of our society. To view these attributes is normal is to regard a lifestyle of hate and force as optimum.

Slap waving children. Associate pain with the qualities of speed and size. A society must be built on truth, intelligence, morality, exactitude, care and calculation, resolution, mental agility.

Use armoured artificial intelligence exo-skeletons as primary transportation. The child desires the automobile to be a friend through no fault of its own, so we must turn the brain's mental search for light to our advantage by introducing it to objects which embrace but surpass the car -- emphasising, as we must, human qualities we want to select for such as judgement and observation. We must turn to robots if we are to find suitable role-models for our children.

Witness the glory of our civilisation in spite of these rotten foundations, and consider the heights to which we may rise made free of these shackles of speed and force. Give up your car, and surely we shall be on the high road to a new Utopia.


Previously on upsideclown


Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
23 October 2003. Matt writes: Topology
2 October 2003. Matt writes: Haunted
8 September 2003. Matt writes: The Gardener's Diary
21 August 2003. Matt writes: The Starling Variable
31 July 2003. Matt writes: Two stories
14 July 2003. Matt writes: What is real?
23 June 2003. Matt writes: Mapping and journeys
29 May 2003. Matt writes: Extelligence
5 May 2003. Matt writes: Religious experiences
17 April 2003. Matt writes: Seeing the Light
27 March 2003. Matt writes: Flowering
10 March 2003. Matt writes: Climax state
10 February 2003. Matt writes: The Role of Cooperation in Human Interaction
20 January 2003. Matt writes: The same old subroutine
2 January 2003. Matt writes: New beginnings
9 December 2002. Matt writes: Packet Loss
18 November 2002. Matt writes: Wonderland
31 October 2002. Matt writes: Having and losing
10 October 2002. Matt writes: Trees of Knowledge
19 September 2002. Matt writes: The online life of bigplaty47
29 August 2002. Matt writes: Divorce
8 August 2002. Matt writes: How to get exactly what you want
18 July 2002. Matt writes: Eleven Graceland endings
27 June 2002. Matt writes: Listopad, Prague 1989
3 June 2002. Matt writes: Engram bullets
6 May 2002. Matt writes: Sound advice
15 April 2002. Matt writes: How it all works: Cars
21 March 2002. Matt writes: Proceeding to the next stage
25 February 2002. Matt writes: Spam quartet
31 January 2002. Matt writes: Person to person
7 January 2002. Matt writes: All for the best
13 December 2001. Matt writes: Life
19 November 2001. Matt writes: Giving is better than receiving
25 October 2001. Matt writes: Ludo
1 October 2001. Matt writes: Gifts, contracts, and whispers
6 September 2001. Matt writes: The world is ending
13 August 2001. Matt writes: The Church of Mrs Bins
16 July 2001. Matt writes: Things I Don't Have
25 June 2001. Matt writes: Fighting the Good Fight
31 May 2001. Matt writes: Code dependency
7 May 2001. Matt writes: Up The Arse, Or Not At All
5 April 2001. Matt writes: The increasing nonlinearity of time
19 March 2001. Matt writes: Hit Me Baby, One More Time
22 February 2001. Matt writes: Space, Matter, Cities, Sausages
29 January 2001. Matt writes: Truth in Advertising
1 January 2001. Matt writes: Six predictions for tomorrow
7 December 2000. Matt writes: You must reach this line to ride
16 November 2000. Matt writes: The truth about the leopard
23 October 2000. Matt writes: Shopping mauls
28 September 2000. Matt writes: Heavy traffic on the road to Utopia
4 September 2000. Matt writes: Sixty worlds a minute
17 July 2000. Matt writes: You, Me, and Face-space

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