I drive about 1400km a week, and use the experience to drive well and remain connected to breathing, posture and context.
Unfortunately I live in Victoria, which I love dearly as a place, but may very well be the worst place to live in the world from a driving context.
The Victorian Government have chosen as their tag line, ‘Speed Kills.’ This overly simplistic message is communicated as an Absolute. They are suggesting subliminally, that if you speed, you will either die, or kill someone else. The associated feeling that goes with their message is guilt.
My experience of driving in Melbourne consistently for over 2 decades is that the driving behaviour is progressively declining. The main evidence I would like to highlight for this is the act of merging. When a driver merges they need to fill a space diagonally. This is most skilfully performed by accelerating into the space, becoming one with the flow of traffic, so that no disruption to the flow takes place. This almost never happens any more.
There are twin mutual aspects to skilful merging. The timing of the merging driver, with the awareness of the driver already in the lane. These 2 entities are not actually entities in relation to experience, rather they represent an activity. If this activity takes place without disturbance, this represents skilful means.
What I see today is endless braking, although there are no traffic lights, give way signs, stop signs, or roundabouts within 15 kms to slow or stop traffic.
Based on the above evidence, can we say that ‘Speed Kills’ is the optimal message from Government?
It is well known Internationally that Police visibility is the best and safest deterrent to affect speeding. Do the Victorian Police Force embody this behaviour?
It is a resounding No!
They will do anything to find the best hiding place for their hand-held radars to go with the thousands of fixed cameras and parked car cameras in order to amplify the number of fines that can be issued, regardless of how well drivers, are driving based on flow and context.
If I am to observe directly and honestly the last decade of driving behaviour from a first hand perspective, the image that comes to mind is one of a sea of brake lights. What image comes up for you?
The role of Government is regulation. This regulation has 2 aspects.
1. Lowest common denominator action (because by nature it is a catch-all net)
2. Should have the least impact other than its efficient regulation (should ideally liberate freedom to do efficient business, whilst stopping exploitation)
The legal system then is the enforcement body that deals with behaviour that acts outside of this implicit agreement and framework.
Therefore Governments should work on being invisible, not superstar athletes or pop-stars. Their true power should be the intention to embody selflessness, because that is simply being representative of the role.
My driving example highlights the tension that is growing as the complexity of living is increasing. The regulatory bodies are themselves examples of communicating propaganda that is self-serving and self-funding, rather than exhibiting excellence in clear-seeing from a lowest common denominator perspective.
The other mistake that exists in the current societal view is to associate Government with Leadership. The etymology of Leadership is from an old English derivative, meaning ‘to go first.’ A leader goes first and tests the way for others to follow.
It is not the role or the nature of Government to go first. It is their job to regulate in a way that is fair, unambiguous and which liberates degrees of freedom.
Imagine the last 10 years if the tag line of Government had been;
‘Drive well with awareness and courtesy’
and that this behaviour was incentivised with advanced courses and liberties. Which would create additional jobs and revenue streams.
Driving is seated movement and the car is your extended body. Driving happens in a context where perceptual processing is a constant challenge. To drive well is a high art and should be afforded a concomitant respect.
This possibility has been substituted for easy revenue, because context has been removed. Good communication has been replaced by a fine. Fines are becoming more common, and are being used by those holding power to fortify their positions. The legal system is being used as a default agency by these public institutions. Lowest common denominator has performed a magic act and transformed highest common denominator (Leadership) in to itself.