Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Driving...

So driving in China is pretty much the most ridiculous thing ever. Every time you get in a taxi or step on a bus you are in for a ride that no amusement park could ever offer (mainly for liability issues). Nobody stops for anyone, nor do they really obey any of "normal" traffic laws such as staying in your lane or even staying on your side of the road. Taxis and even buses spend as much time on the left hand side of the road as the right. I mean, they try to stay on the right but if it's not possible they just annex the left lane to their side and continue on. When you look at it, it seems like the most dangerous act known to man. There are lines on the ground but no one really follows them. The basic rule is, if you can fit there, you can go there. I've been in taxis that just drive in the middle of the road with absolutely no need for it.

With all this said, I gotta admit it's growing on me. It's so fluid. The way traffic just adjusts (and by adjust I mean nearly hits every car in sight but never does) for people but never stops is really something beautiful. I'm actually starting to believe it's safer than in America. Driving in America has so many rules and while the rules are really meant to keep people safe, I think in the end they end up being a detriment to the safety of the people on the road. We begin to trust in the rules way too much for our safety. With the lanes clearly marked we believe that no one will cross those lanes at the wrong time, because we've set up a perfect system that if everyone follows then no one will get hurt. But in all reality these rules hurt us, because when someone breaks the rules we don't know what to do so we overreact and end up swerving into oncoming traffic where the other person doesn't know what to do so they overreact and so on and so forth. Or we trust the rules so much that we don't pay enough attention assuming the others will follow the rules just like we will. But in the end, the rules which were meant to protect us end up hurting us.

In China, with really no set rules people adjust. I mean it's not like there's not rules, they are just basic i.e. don't hit anyone. They don't need to mark the boundaries so much because everyone has the same goal, to get where they are going quickly and safely, and they live inside that goal and adjust accordingly. China's driving may seem to have no meat to it's ideology behind it but it's based upon the same spirit of driving that everyone takes on as their own. They have no need for rules to define the way people should act because they all live with the same spirit.

China appears dangerous but it's actually safe. America looks safe but it's actually dangerous. Rules appears safe but they can actually be dangerous.

On the outside it's real clean and tidy but in life it can get pretty dirty. While spirit can look real dirty sometimes, and yet be remarkably clean. We tend to try to box ourselves in as a way of protection when in reality we are just designing a system that merely provides the illusion of protection.

It's kind of like this guy who built his house on some sand and then this big storm came...

1 Comments:

Blogger Luke said...

Derek,
I stumbled upon your blog, and am glad I did. China sounds great!
How's your Chinese coming? B/c it would be sweet if you returned knowing one of the few languages that Dr. Goss doesn't. Speaking of, you should introduce his methods of finding water with a bent coathanger to China…

5:14 AM  

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