2008-04-26

Can I drive it too?

Since, perhaps, not everyone will get to participate in the actual construction of the trolley system, perhaps everyone can have a chance to drive it. Maybe everyone should be required to take a turn driving it, and not for pay, but as a civic duty.

If every citizen drove a trolley for 4 to 8 hours per year, would there be much conflict with their regular jobs? Think of how many people you would meet driving one. I suppose you'd meet more if you drove it more, right? But when you're driving you have to watch the road, so you can't talk much face-to-face.

What are the odds that you'll meet somebody new, have a face-to-face conversation with that person that leads to a long term friendship, if you each drive cars? You leave point A at time x, and she leaves point B at time y. You are each headed for separate random destinations. If you pull up next to one another in traffic, what can happen? Can you talk? What are the chances you'll be headed for the same destination and then have a chance to talk?

What if there was a comprehensive city wide public transit with residential service rail lines and you each leave your homes headed for random separate destinations. What are the odds that you'll meet at either a stop or on the train? They are probably much higher; think about the stop light in traffic. What if all of you are in the same trolley car instead of in separate automobiles at a traffic light? Now you can talk to one another if you like.

I'm reading a book that says that we live in a life-world composed of independent actors whos actions are influenced by linguistically mediated inter-subjectivity. It follows that increasing everyone's number of opportunities for communication with others in the community will have an effect on what those actors, seen as a whole group, do within the context of that life-world. What actions will people perform to bring about a change they've never even considered? They need to think it over, and to do so, must communicate with those other people about it! Never forget that you are one of those people too.

We've all heard the old adage “Divide and Conquer”. In the social community with shared transportation resources, there are a great number of opportunities for communication with others. The overall structure of that communication is dynamic and perhaps mostly non-hierarchical. But when people are separated from one another so they can't talk, and they listen to mass media more than to each other... It begs the question: if they are playing follow the leader, then who's leadership are they following, and why?