[Clayart] david the self driving car

Snail Scott claywork at flying-snail.com
Mon Oct 18 14:19:18 UTC 2021

> On Oct 18, 2021, at 7:21 AM, mel jacobson <melpots at mail.com> wrote:
> I really appreciated David's post on electricity and
> natural instincts for survival.  I fear that we are raising
> a society that has no natural instinct..."Mom does it for us".

Let’s remember, also: we have to learn what to be cautious of. 'Common sense' is not innate. Big things rushing toward us inspire a deep atavistic fear induced by millenia of evolution, so avoiding oncoming cars is usually a no-brainer. Knowing to stay out of the nice smooth road even when no cars are present, and walk on the rough shoulder because cars are so fast we might not see them coming? That needs to be learned. Driving a car is dangerous as hell, too, but most of us learn. (Eventually.)

What not to eat? What not to touch? Parents teach these things, but only when they know. ‘Ambient cultural knowledge' is not universal.  My dad taught me to never work on a car while wearing a ring. And to shut off the breaker before doing house wiring.  But my dad was an electrical engineer who grew upon a farm far from professional tradespeople, where learning to do things was essential. Was yours?  My friend's father was a lawyer. No clue about any manual skills, but she grew up learning about contracts and liability, and how to handle business and legal issues. I did not!  Which is the more essential knowledge base? (Yep! “It depends!”)

Nobody is born knowing every dangerous thing. I have huge respect for people who take the initiative to learn a new skill. Sometimes, that new skill has hazards. Everything from snow-skiing to canning jam has hazards. (I did not know that until recently; my parents did not make preserves…Thanks, Kelly Savino!) We live in an era in which instruction in nearly everything is more available than at any time in history, but knowing what you need to know is still the hard part!

We seem to heap disapprobation on people who try something and mess it up, equally with those who are terrified to try at all, and our standards tend to be based on our own skill set and knowledge base. (Remember the George Carlin bit: “Everyone driving slower than you is an idiot, and everyone driving faster is a maniac!”?)  

Let’s cut the ignorant some slack, and respect the effort. And spread the knowledge!


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