driving and friction

With technology it seems the technological development is achieved, then certain human practices spawn in response, then art and theory arrive as the (often self-congratulatory) coda to a civilisation-level causal flywheel.

Nb. That this narrative is at odds with how most theorists and artists understand history, and especially Modernity.

Enter driving. To have driven successfully is to have remained completely atomic with regards the physical world you’ve passed through—the road (obviously) and insects being the telling exceptions. No touching, no hitting, no contact, no friction.

To be a good driver is to have mastered this eventless travel, to have made a regular habit of never coming into contact with anything else under any circumstances, for nothing to ever touch the physical boundary of your extended tool-body. To be a bad driver is to have made a bad habit of the opposite, to nick things, catch some part of the world on the way out or the way in. To have your car touch anything else, and worst of all, another car.

Frictionless is the goal. Now, cf. the top of this post, there are things to be said about how and in what direction this car-myth has impacted our social inclinations and practices as disparate bodies and/or solipsistic souls. Does the car produce the aesthete or the aesthete the car? Or the Spinning jenny both? etc. And this necessity of physical isolation is evidently somehow inherent to complex technologies (think keeping your phone from entering into a relationship with your keys or your driveway).

Is there a type or development of technology that would lower its threshold for non-damaging interaction with the physical world? Would this be desirable?

What I want to say though, is how unlike human incarnation the car-state-of-affairs, that way of judging success, is.

A human being is made to touch the world around it, the more the merrier (limit cases not necessarily withstanding, it being not self-evident that the potential damage owed the flesh in this life is ultimately damaging).

A human body is made for friction (I’d argue the human soul and spirit is to); with trees, with water, with bread, with wood, with flesh, with stone. Most of our better senses require it as a necessity. A human story, a human day, is more human the more friction with the world it accumulates, the more flesh pressed, kisses given or received, food eaten, shovels handled, grass lain in etc.

Our impoverishment of such slowing contact by the very brittle un-world-worthy technologies that themselves can’t abide it (perceive again parallels and feedback loops aplenty) seems such a grievance to our felt lives, not to mention all the attendant mythic self-preception weirdness.

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