Friday, March 5, 2010

Driving As Amnesia

I've often thought that our obsession with the automobile has been one of the major contributors to our creation of meaningless places. When I drive, separated from the surrounding landscape by glass, fan whir and stereo blast, I feel strangely disconnected. Jean Baudrillard, author of America, captures this feeling of disconnection more precisely: "Driving is a spectacular form of amnesia. Everything is to be discovered, everything to be obliterated." And it's so true. When I drive on America's endless highways, I don't remember anything along the way, not just because much of it looks alike but because I'm not physically connected to it -- driving is primarily a way to pass through quickly to get from one point to another without a lot of hassle or disturbance. I could just as well be in California or Florida as Virginia. It's amazing how often I forget to roll down the window, open the sunroof or just turn off the radio so I can hear the wind. Photo courtesy of's


Todd Pony said...

I love this post....something I don't really think about. We are so detached....the sites and smells and sounds....beautiful post..

Unknown said...

I like this post!.. Very nice thought..

Though I haven't read the book "America" but I want to add something to it...

When you are driving alone, this disconnection gives you time to be with your soul. It gives you a chance to speak with it, which normally we miss in our daily life. It gives you a time to stop (thinking, not driving) for a while and look back about what you have done in past (like the way we have passed the last road).

When you are with someone... it gives you an excellent opportunity to share those special thoughts which come from inside, un-affected by the surrounding activities. I remember that when I went to NY with my friends, since we got bored with songs, we started sharing some random stories of our life (about love, success, life, embarrassment, goals etc..). These highways helped us in knowing each other more deeply which we never did again.

So it all depends upon us!

Just a thought from my side. Thanks for bringing this excellent topic!

Our Founders said...

Beautifully, beautifully said.