New Russian Chronicles
Surviving monotaxocausofilia

A theory on transport

Et voici me, pour la deuxième fois cet moi je suis coincé à l’Aeroport de Paris Beauvais. Je DETESTE Beauvais. Si vous avez jamais voyagé à partir de ce aeroport, vous savez pourquoi. Si vous comprenez pas pourquoi, de la même manière, c’est parce que vous n’avez jamais été ici.

Cette fois-ci, par contre, la justificatión est differente. La dernière, une panne téchnique avait obligé la compagnie à ammener un ingenieur directement de l’Irlande pour regler l’avion.
Cette fois ci, hereusement, ils peuvent faire les tests directement dans l’aeroport…. et pourtant, on va attendre autant de temps. Et ben, merde.
(Par ailleurs, il parait que mon avion a frappé un oiseau. Et voilà. Oiseaux 1, avions 0.)

Mais bien avant toute cette merde, pendant que je voyage, à moitié endormi, dans la merde de navette Paris – Merde de Beauvais, une ampoule c’est allumée dans ma tête, et les resultats, je vous les offre:

A general theory on transport, prestige and human dignity.
I contend that the relation between a means of transport and human dignity, since its inception, up to their popularization and massification, follows a very definite path.

A path that can, in all probability, be represented by a bell curve.
(No, I haven’t done any math or anything, but in science almost everything can be explained with a bell curve. Sup, QED.)

Anyway, my hypothesis:

1. A new means of transport, at the start, is reserved for the rich and powerful, and so travelling in it is source of prestige.

2. As a means of transport is popularized, security measures are increased.
2.2 Security measures only decrease when the means of transport goes from massified to secondary, banal or obsolete.

3. Security measures go in direct detriment of human dignity
3.1 The more technically and technologically complicated the means of transport, the more security measures there will be.

And from that, let’s derive my thesis:

A new means of transport will normally go through 3 stages:
1. Prestigious
2. Massified and humiliating
3. Harmless

Or, in layman words: A new means of transport will be something really posh, at first, then many people will use it, so/because it becomes cheap, but at the same time it becomes an affront to your dignity, then it becomes harmless and it’s no longer a humiliation.

Examples? Ok.

Right now, in the 21st century:
– Space travel is still in its infancy, and so it’s very expensive, but very prestigious. You must go through a security screening, but it’s part of the charm. (Think of Richard Garriot going to space. And if you don’t know who Richard Garriot is, then you are not as geek as you think you are.) Space travel is in phase 1.

– Airplanes are a solid technology, but perhaps the most recent one. They no longer have the charm of being reserved for businessmen. Thanks to cheap airlines, anyone can travel! (and I can make a living in a different town!). The downside is, everytime you take a plane you have to go through a severe humiliation, called security control. And that’s without having brown skin, let’s not forget how racist Big Brother is. Airplanes are in phase 2.

– Trains have been with us for almost two centuries now. Buses and similar transport for longer. And let’s not even talk about ships. But let’s talk about buses for instance. When you take a bus, you don’t g through a shake down. You show your ticket, your passport and get on board. There is a bit more security in trains and ships, if only because they are more technologically complicated. They are phase 3.

Voilà.

Now with graphs (tm)!

Some final comments.

I think most of the points in my hypothesis are self evident. You might, however, have doubts about number two, meaning security. You might think that paranoid security is a new thing.
Well, there might be a case to argue, if you think that with time, civilization becomes more security obsessed. I think it’s not true, it has always been, but whatever.

But to prove that in the past, with new transports, there was a lot of security, consider this:
How many European nations used to have a dedicated branch of the army just to control the railway system? (clue: all of them).

Also, you could think about the carriages of the nobles of yore. They were defended, and you couldn’t just hitch hike in one…

One final comment: I have chosen my words very carefully when I speak about dignity, specially when it comes to mass transport like buses.
I think there’s dignity in sharing some travel hardships with your fellow man.

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2 comentarios to “A theory on transport”

  1. Thank you Professor Cañamares, that was enriching 🙂 And I totally agree, Beauvais sucks, this “””””airport”””” is no less than a joke. I’ve been there once to go to and come back from Bologna and I thought it looked more like a warehouse than anything else (a warehouse of humans). Still, I am among the happy few whose flight was not cancelled nor delayed. You can hate me for that if you want.

  2. […] friend of mine and understudy wrote this in 2010 and I think it’s worth […]


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