Age-appropriate toys

As I sit in my hotel room in Mollendo, I think back to my nights in the Amazon jungle. One of the highlights of my Peru trip, that I had been looking forward to, was to listen to the sounds of the jungle. Though we didn’t see much in the way of wildlife, the denizens of the jungle make themselves abundantly heard at night. It was like an ongoing orchestra: Insects, frogs, monkeys, birds and various mammals all pitched in. It’s quite soothing, especially since I didn’t have to worry about one of them coming to eat me.
But now I’m in a city, albeit not a very large one. The sounds coming through the window are not soothing. I estimate that roughly 90% of them are car-related. In the third world, people use their horns liberally. They use it for legitimate purposes, but also to express anger, to draw attention to themselves, to vent frustration or for no apparent reason at all. Signs in major Peruvian cities instruct drivers to keep quiet. This helps a little. Not enough in my opinion. I remember, while living in Israel, that it was said “Israeli drivers use their horns instead of their breaks.” I think this is probably true of all Mideastern countries and even most of the world. Immature drivers use their horns as a crutch to make up for their lack of courtesy and caution. The resulting noise pollution takes a heavy toll on the quality of life.
The automobile was invented by white men. It had come at a time when Western civilization had reached an advanced state of maturity (not that it was flawless). Western civilization was ready for the automobile; it was an age-appropriate toy. But I don’t think the other segments of mankind were ready for it when it was thrust upon them. For them, it’s not an age-appropriate toy. Bad things happen when people are given tools they are not culturally ready for.
Bad things almost happened to me yesterday while taking a private (AKA “illegal”) taxi from Arequipa to Mollendo. It was a  harrowing experience. The driver drove at twice or thrice the speed limit, repeatedly passed in no-passing zones, was distracted by performing other tasks such as eating and habitually drove on the wrong side of the road to ease the curves on the mountain passes. I’m lucky to be alive and drivers like that have no business operating a motor vehicle.
Obviously nobody is going to take the automobile away from third-world societies. However, it would be a step in the right direction if governments were more aggressive in educating people about common decency and safety. I’m hopeful that, as the death-toll mounts, things will start to get safer. I’d like to think that third-world drivers will grow up some day and have more respect for those around them.

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16 Responses to Age-appropriate toys

  1. ad84 says:

    that’s a very good analogy, “age-appropriate toys.” I think, another such toy is liberal democracy. Has it actually worked anywhere except Anglo-Saxon countries and France? Even Germany didn’t get it right the first time. In the rest of the world, it seems it has invariably degenerated into either dictatorship or a state of perpetual civil war or being a colonial appendage of some other country. Not that I’m defending 3rd World hellholes. Many countries however were better off with whatever system they had before. This one size (one system) fits all I think is rooted in romanticism. I see why at some point in Western history it became necessary to proclaim that everyone’s the same, all men are brothers etc. But societies are not the same. They may have, for example, a higher level of interrelatedness between people (to echo the idea that races, nations etc are but extended families), but they have developed mechanisms to deal with that, thus a culturally alien liberal democratic system is a sure recipe for perpetual nepotism and corruption like the West has never seen.

  2. ad84 says:

    “to echo the idea that races, nations etc are but extended families”
    AND that we pick that up unconsciously and act accordingly (being kinder to people whose last common ancestor with us is 7 generations back than those with 20). The assumption is that nature acts on us, we better go with it than against it and there’s only so much one can fix by nurture, mores, laws etc (like those ineffectual signs you mentioned.)

  3. ad84 says:

    speaking of colonial appendages, I was surprised my former homeland, Russia, wasn’t on the list of countries who hosted America’s secret interrogation centres, but most of Eastern Europe was. So, maybe not all is lost.

  4. ad84 says:

    “They may have, for example, a higher level of interrelatedness between people”
    What about America, which was founded by a relatively small group of people, which, naturally, can’t have been very diverse? Why doesn’t she look like an Central Asian hellhole? Well, I imagine white elites are inbred as f**k. I mean look, John F. and Bobby, the both Bushes etc. We, the masses, however, are pretty diverse, and, actually, can’t be diverse enough for them.

  5. ad84 says:

    not to be misunderstood, this genetic stuff may explain the bigger patterns in history, but the reason why Russia fared so badly is because the USSR was betrayed by treasonous commie elites (seriously, Gorbi hat the duty to dunk the country in blood and hang “democrats” from the lampposts if it meant keeping millions of people, esp. ethnic Russians in Central Asia and the Baltics, from becoming virtually stateless virtually overnight, millions more from falling below the poverty line also virtually overnight, complete chaos, countess wars, de-industrialization, disarmament, strife, squalor and suffering). Everyone was content with their role, the former commie elites as new proprietors, the masses as someone who gets just enough leftovers from the master’s table to keep him from revolting.

    • ad84 says:

      in short, Russia racks disciprine.

      • ad84 says:

        Russia lacked social cohesion at a most critical point in newer history. by the above logic it actually would mean that Russians are very diverse. Actually, I think they well might be thanks to the Tatar-Mongol yoke and the geographic expanse of Russia.

      • ano says:

        russia is an mongol-minded country build up by Ivan the Horrible (…) by uising mongol army to destroy the old more republican Rus founded by Kiev. The last real rus city was Novogrod, an Republic destroyed by Moskovit. Since then, Russia is an white-but-with-asian-mindset-country. It was the “Moskovit-Khanat” and you just need to look at the crown of Ivan. It is an Mongol Hat. Real “Rus” in old thinking was the now know Ukraine (further old-russ and then little-russ). They stole the land, the country, the culture and the humans. Thats why russia always wants to invade somewhere.

  6. ad84 says:

    “Actually, I think they well might be thanks to the Tatar-Mongol yoke and the geographic expanse of Russia.”
    oh, and not decimating whatever natives they encountered and putting the tiny remainder into reservations, but mixing with them.

  7. Preston Bell says:

    Be careful, you might be accused of “hornism”.

  8. jewamongyou says:

    What’s up with the multiple comments ad84?

  9. deltapolis says:

    Yes, the first was good – I even gave it a thumbs-up – but then he just went on and on and on having a conversation with himself. Weird..!

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