From carlessness as second-class citizenship to the way that roads and buildings shape our perception of the space we live in, cars are far more than just a mode of transport. They have become a primary influence on both our physical environment and our state of mind. Clifford Dean Shultz over at the Post Carbon Institute has a beautifully written, poetic and in many ways terrifying account of just how much our brain is influenced by the speed at which we move through the world. And it doesn't stop when we do:
But with these contributions to the discussion already logged and accounted for, I would narrow the focus to emphasize this: We do not really cease being drivers when we step from our vehicles. Like television, automobile travel strengthens some of the more pernicious habits of the egoic mind: positioning self as separate from the living environment, seeking to control experience by external means, and generally in many ways reaching for levers, pushing buttons, and forever seeking control. Bottom line: motor travel is addictive, and the effects of the addiction are likely to persist even if we can no longer afford to drive.