Why The Car Isn't Going Away: What Makes Us Tick  

Posted by Big Gav in , , , ,

I read Hugh Mackay's book "What Makes Us Tick?: The Ten Desires That Drive Us over the Christmas break and found it to be a reasonably entertaining piece of pop psychology.

Mackay identifies 10 driving "desires" that guide our lives (some good, some often bad):

- the desire to be taken seriously (which he identifies as the "primary" desire)
- the desire for 'my place'
- the desire for something to believe in
- the desire to connect
- the desire to be useful
- the desire to belong
- the desire for more
- the desire for control
- the desire for something to happen
- the desire for love

The section on "the desire for 'my place'" includes an interesting take on the role of the car in western society today:

The western world is characterised by speed, restlessness and motion (look at any major airport at almost any hour of day or night), so its hardly surprising that for many people in modern urban settings, 'my place' is neither a building nor a piece of the Earth's surface, but that somewhat ubiquitous mobile enclosure we call the car.
My very own space ? I'll tell you where that is - behind the wheel of my car. It's the only place I ever have to myself and it's the only place where I seem to get any real peace.

I've lost count of the number of times I've heard people say the car is the most comfortable place they ever inhabit; the place where they feel totally in control (helped immeasurably by the symbolism of the steering wheel in their hands and an accelerator pedal under their foot); the place that feels more like a personal space than anywhere else they spend their time...

Cars are for escaping into, for meditation, for thinking, for praying, for courting, for sex, for conversation, for eating and drinking, for sleep, for letting off steam and for generating unrivaled - and positively dangerous - feelings of power. Oh, and for driving too: cars are our most flexible and efficient means of transport, though at enormous cost to life and limb - to say nothing of the cost to the quality of the air we breathe and the health of the planet.

The role the car now performs seems (in my mind at least) to guarantee the success of electric vehicles in a post oil wold - for all the benefits of public transport, transit oriented development and walkable neighbourhoods, none of them offer a personalised space that people can take with them when they are on the move.

1 comments

Anonymous   says 3:20 AM

It's not true. A number of proposed monorail systems would allow people to own their own cars.

Post a Comment

Statistics

Locations of visitors to this page

blogspot visitor
Stat Counter

Total Pageviews

Ads

Books

Followers

Blog Archive

Labels

australia (607) global warming (396) solar power (379) peak oil (343) renewable energy (258) electric vehicles (222) wind power (185) ocean energy (163) csp (157) geothermal energy (144) solar thermal power (144) smart grids (139) tidal power (137) coal seam gas (130) oil (130) solar pv (127) energy storage (126) nuclear power (126) lng (116) china (113) geothermal power (112) iraq (112) green buildings (109) natural gas (108) agriculture (88) oil price (79) biofuel (78) smart meters (72) wave power (71) uk (68) electricity grid (67) coal (63) energy efficiency (63) google (57) bicycle (51) internet (51) shale gas (49) surveillance (49) food prices (48) big brother (47) thin film solar (42) canada (40) biomimicry (39) scotland (38) ocean power (37) politics (37) shale oil (37) tesla (37) new zealand (35) air transport (34) algae (34) water (34) concentrating solar power (32) queensland (32) saudi arabia (32) california (31) credit crunch (31) bioplastic (30) offshore wind power (30) arctic ice (29) population (29) cogeneration (28) geoengineering (28) batteries (26) drought (26) resource wars (26) woodside (26) bruce sterling (25) censorship (25) cleantech (25) ctl (23) carbon tax (22) economics (22) limits to growth (22) coal to liquids (20) distributed manufacturing (20) indonesia (20) iraq oil law (20) lithium (20) origin energy (20) brightsource (19) buckminster fuller (19) rail transport (19) ultracapacitor (19) exxon (18) santos (18) ausra (17) michael klare (17) atlantis (16) cellulosic ethanol (16) collapse (16) electric bikes (16) iceland (16) mapping (16) ucg (16) bees (15) concentrating solar thermal power (15) ethanol (15) geodynamics (15) psychology (15) brazil (14) fertiliser (14) lithium ion batteries (14) al gore (13) ambient energy (13) biodiesel (13) bucky fuller (13) carbon emissions (13) cities (13) investment (13) kenya (13) matthew simmons (13) public transport (13) biochar (12) chile (12) desertec (12) internet of things (12) otec (12) texas (12) victoria (12) cradle to cradle (11) energy policy (11) hybrid car (11) terra preta (11) toyota (11) amory lovins (10) fabber (10) gazprom (10) goldman sachs (10) gtl (10) severn estuary (10) tinfoil (10) volt (10) afghanistan (9) alaska (9) antarctica (9) biomass (9) carbon trading (9) distributed generation (9) esolar (9) four day week (9) fuel cells (9) jeremy leggett (9) pge (9) sweden (9) arrow energy (8) big oil (8) eroei (8) fish (8) floating offshore wind power (8) guerilla gardening (8) linc energy (8) methane (8) methane hydrates (8) nanosolar (8) natural gas pipelines (8) pentland firth (8) relocalisation (8) saul griffith (8) stirling engine (8) us elections (8) western australia (8) airborne wind turbines (7) bloom energy (7) boeing (7) bolivia (7) chp (7) climategate (7) copenhagen (7) vinod khosla (7) apocaphilia (6) ceramic fuel cells (6) cigs (6) futurism (6) jatropha (6) local currencies (6) nigeria (6) ocean acidification (6) scenario planning (6) somalia (6) t boone pickens (6) space based solar power (5) varanus island (5) garbage (4) global energy grid (4) kevin kelly (4) low temperature geothermal power (4) oled (4) tim flannery (4) v2g (4) club of rome (3) norman borlaug (2) peak oil portfolio (1)