The Philosophy of Driving

You’re merging onto the highway. You look in the side view mirror. Some idiot is hogging the lane with her Hummer and you barely miss the ramp. You to start tumble onto the shoulder before merging on. Frustrated, you finally speed up to the Hummer and you see a ‘Make America Great Again’ bumper sticker. The female driving the car can hardly be identified as human and looks grossly gigantic. She has a lit cigarette in her mouth, McDonald’s and Burger King trash on the dashboard, and eyes glued to her cell phone. By the next exit, you’ve passed this idiot driving her Hummer and you look back in your rearview- only to see another car suffering the same merge block that you did. You think to yourself, “Why are people such terrible drivers?”

Most people can agree that there’s nothing more irritating than thoughtless drivers on the road. Today, a large percentage of the population texts and drives, fails to use turn signals, passes on the right, or just drives remarkably irrationally. What do these facts say about the philosophies of the drivers who drive irresponsibly? In my view, the lack of awareness that most people have while driving demonstrates the lack of awareness that people have regarding their own lives.

In philosophy, our ethical framework tells us what direction to take. On the road, Google tells us what direction to take. However, we share the metaphysical roads of our lives with other people just like we share the physical roads of travel with other drivers. The ignorance that people exemplify on the road is a symbol of their ignorance in their own lives.

One who runs ‘STOP’ signs for instance, could be someone who fails to stop committing destructive behavior in his or her life. Someone who fails to put on their turn signal may be the one who miscommunicates or communicates poorly when off the road. One who texts and drives probably spends too much time obsessing on their phone off the road as well.

The main idea is that our volition is like a steering wheel, the choices we make behind the wheel of a car are parallel to those choices we make when we steer the wheel of the mind.

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