John Muir published How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive in 1969. In one of the many asides that enliven the book and give it a countercultural feel, he wonders about the effects of some of the newfangled safety equipment, like seat belts. He writes, If we all constantly drive as if we are strapped to the front of the car like Aztec sacrifices so we’d be the first thing hit, there would be a lot less accidents.”

The animating ideal seems to be that the driver should be a disembodied observer, moving through a world of objects that present themselves as though on a screen”

What all this idiot-proofing and abstraction amounts to is a genuine poverty of information reaching the driver.”

Disconnection—pressing a button to make something happen—facilitates an experience of one’s own will as something unconditioned by all those contingencies that intervene between an intention and its realization.”

The wealth of information presented by an older, harder-edged, and lighter car elicits involvement; you have the palpable sense that it is your ass that is going sixty miles an hour”

A car that interposes layers of electronic mediation between the driver and the road demands an effort of interpretation by the driver, because each of those layers is based on a representation that has no inherent, necessary relationship to the states being represented.”

Excerpts From The World Beyond Your Head, Matthew B. Crawford

Daily Note

December 16, 2018