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Sublime Traffic: (the return on those who do not return)




Even in the United Kingdom, with one of the world's lowest averages for traffic accidents there is tolerance for around four thousand traffic fatalities per year. More than on September 11th. About half as many as at Szrebrenice.


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