Sunday, November 30, 2014

Car


“Car”, they speak, “is imperative. It must go on. Car is what we live for. Car is what we are.”

If I took you outside Car, turned your gaze down to it from above, you would gape at its size. In it everyone is somehow housed, certainly everyone you know and billions you do not. In it many-splendid items of distraction, new and newer, get old, tumble back and out to be spat, ignored, onto the receding scenery.

It looks like magic. How can something that big keep going. How can something that gargantuan hold together.

We all know their words. They are in us like skeleton, guide us like trellis, surround us like air. We know: Car is imperative. It must go on. If it stops, we stop. We would be ejected into the unknown, blinking like tourists in the bright strange, wandering around with fat fanny packs and feary eyes.

No, Car is not magic. Ask the experts. It is the manufactured best of all possibles, as natural as hunger, as obvious as panic, as inevitable as boredom. Its engine is machinery so very long in the making, almost-perfect machinery tended by skilled teams tweaking in well-timed response to the odd unforeseeable.

To the fore, an endless tangle of what Car needs. To the rear, scoured wastes soundly abused, home now to our trash. Car’s great reach takes it all in, gobbles it all up, digs, scrapes and inhales it all into its mighty machines, machines that produce and produce and produce such wonders. The wonders are counted. The numbers calculated astound. They are divided between us somehow. Those at the wheel say how. I cannot tell you how many numbers those at the wheel have, only that the amounts are beyond imagining.

Don’t ask how, but many have travelled ahead a ways. We are now not so far from a drop into what they have agreed to call ocean. It is, they say, made of water. We cannot imagine water and the waves that shape its surface.

Car cannot go there. Car can do nothing with that stuff, that graspless, shifting, wavy, wilful, living stuff. It awaits us, confident of itself. It knows Car must stop.

Car cannot stop. If Car stops, we stop. We must go on.

Car must stop. We will need Something Else. Those who have seen ahead speak new words like Boat, Ship, Float and Sail. Strange words we hear more and more. What do they mean?

Something odd: there is a rising sense finding voice that Car must stop. Many can feel it. Some speak Boat, Ship, Float and Sail to Car’s experts. Confused blinks followed by hasty retreats to machine administration are their answer. There are more and more of such hasty retreats these days.

Can you feel it? Something different this way comes.

6 comments:

Timbo614 said...

Car will grasp at spark and magnet, to no avail, to fail,
as energy draws in its dragnet,
and silence, clean air, reassert.

Toby said...

Excellent, Mr. Bo614!

It's like this pretty piece of pin-striping on the boot or something, or elegant writing on the wall, so to speak.

Tao Jonesing said...

Toby,

Have you seen the movie Snowpiercer yet? Car writ large.

Car must stop.

Unfortunately, when Car stops a lot of people are going to be thrown through Windshield. Worse, the makers of Car know that Car must stop and designed Car to throw people through Windshield in a way that somebody else gets blamed and is held liable for all the death and destruction. Car has been designed to demonstrate that Car stopping will be a disaster.

The breakdown in the Rule of Law here in the States cannot be but by design. The architects know their handiwork is about to collapse, and so they set in motion spectacles that will distract us with each other so we don't notice them making their escape.

Sucks.

Toby said...

Yup, you hit the nail on the head, Tao.

Just watched the trailer for Snowpiercer, hadn't even heard of it. Weird. Looks kind of trashy, but I'd like to see it as it's so similar to Car as a concept.

Debra said...

I am less interested in moralizing as I hit the wall of age.
In my megapole, the last scraps and pieces of green are being whittled away in concrete, through... the good intentions of people convinced that every individual needs "proper" housing in order to enjoy... dignity.
So... I take the car, usually with another person, and go up into the surrounding mountains for my soul, and sanity. And usually, when I hike, I manage to do so in places where the megapole is out of sight, on days when I am far from the madding crowd.
The day will come when the good intentioned people will decree, with the best of intentions, that it is not in the.. PUBLIC interest of society that I take my car up into the mountains, that it is... ENOUGH for me to take a bus up, with a hundred other hiker people, in a group, to exercise, get oxygen, feel better, all those hygienic rationalizations that can be found among many ecologists I hear.
The good intentioned people will pass laws, which will be enforced, and they will be confident in their.. CONVICTIONS that they are... RIGHT, that the TRUTH is on their side, and I will not be able to go up into the mountains any more.
Probably....
It is a question of time...
Incidentally, if you were living in France, you would be able to see (better...) what, and how.. SOCIALISM is/works.
Socialism, by concentrating power and legitimacy in the hands of institutions upheld by conceptual thought, takes power out of the hands of flesh and blood singular subjects, as I like to say.
When legitimate power is in the hands of institutions (and it can be debated whether a multinational is an institution or not... it probably is, come to think of it) singular subjects find their individual responsibility, and the freedom that emerges from such responsibility, eroded.
Just one of the unfortunate disadvantages of... democracy, in my book.
Sorry to be so pugnacious, Toby.
It is one of my pugnacious days.
Your post is very well written, and THAT I like...
I don't agree with your analysis, Tao.
It is paradoxically comforting, and reassuring to imagine that there are flesh and blood people to blame, but I will not allow myself such facile consolation at this time.

Toby said...

"In my megapole, the last scraps and pieces of green are being whittled away in concrete, through... the good intentions of people convinced that every individual needs "proper" housing in order to enjoy... dignity."

"The day will come when the good intentioned people will decree, with the best of intentions, that it is not in the.. PUBLIC interest of society that I take my car up into the mountains, that it is... ENOUGH for me to take a bus up, with a hundred other hiker people, in a group, to exercise, get oxygen, feel better, all those hygienic rationalizations that can be found among many ecologists I hear."

How is this not moralising?

You are arguing your corner, as is your 'right', and you have important things to say. It is a difficult balancing act to satisfy the needs both of individuals and collective. This is an ancient and knotty moral issue and you speak eloquently on it. But you are very morally engaged in the process, very passionate, far from detached and dispassionate. That's what makes your comments so valuable, imo.

But here I think you have misunderstood the post. It's really about the difficulty of change, even when change is imminent.

Ecologically, any species can destroy its environment. It has happened repeatedly throughout history. If an intelligent species like homo sapiens sapiens wants to survive, it has to confront the limits of its power to grow perpetually. Either we adapt to this reality or perish. That goes for all species. This is not a moral point. It just so happens that our social system is rapacious, and, like all things, will end. If we want to survive it, we have choices to make. The wiser those choices are, the better our chances of survival. Again, that's not a moral point and has nothing to do with good or bad intentions.

The morality lies in where we see the value or perhaps meaning behind surviving, or what we want to survive for. Perhaps, looked at dispassionately, we are a virus on the planet. Perhaps, 'scientifically', we are just another animal in a pointless universe that is incapable of mercy and compassion. And so on. I've chosen my side, I've made my moral choice: love. I act on it because I feel compelled to do so and in the hope that it contributes positively to wise decisions somehow (the how is out of my control). But because I know people have to make their own decisions as individual co-creators of our collective future, I try not to prescribe (as I said in my other comment). To prescribe is to imply that people are victims in need of prescriptions from folk who have figured it all out, folk who can shepherd them to a brighter dawn. We need a deeper revolution than that.