Traffic: (the return on those who do not return)
Even in the
The category of natural disasters now includes traffic
accidents. These man-made disasters, claiming so many dead and injured each
year, year-on-year, are now felt to be a matter of nature and not of culture.
This fatalism implies an eventuality that cannot be avoided, like floods,
heatwaves, or famines (although here there may be a connection between global
warming and decisions taken over levels of global heat through gas emissions
policy and energy use). At what point does a cultural attribute become natural?
At the point when it is necessary to our self-definition. (It is natural to
behave thus and not otherwise).
Traffic accidents are now an act of God. When earthly powers can no longer be held
responsible, the rationale passes to a higher court. These fatalities have
passed into the category of those things which are too big to imagine and
certainly beyond our control; therefore sublime, therefore sacred. Sublime and no longer human - sacred (an
exchange incarnating our most treasured values, that which is holy to the
collective). A cycle of exchange now non-negotiable, because beyond
negotiation. (Some things are not up for negotiation).
The speed of circulation and return of humans and
things is the speed of circulation of road death. It is the return on road
death. Even the final return of the road Dead (those who did not come back).
The return on those who do not return (or those who come back altered - those
who are physically and mentally transformed). And the cost to life, of pain,
and of injury; the cost of health care and lost labour? (Not everything has its
price; some things are not for sale).
Saving time costs lives: saving lives costs time. What
is the difference between the televised effort of a public emergency and the
sacrificial drip of blood on the roads? Nothing. Only the means. They both
contribute in their different ways to the construction of a collective
identity. (Saving time; calling on eternity).
Sublime Traffic; Natural Disaster; Act of God. Human
Road Kill as the sacrificial portion we give up for our advantage, our comfort,
our way of life and our sense of self; the exchange rate on identity. (Almost)
Invisible: like Capital and its costs. Our true Other. The Sublime of our
epoch. Our Prime-mover. Our Religion. (Our Identity).
Copyright 2002 Peter Nesteruk