renodante wrote:they're patient with that situation because they've been waiting on long lines for things their whole lives. we marvel at their patience because when we go to a "fast food" place it's not normal to sit there for 20 minutes waiting for your name to get called, here it's par for the course.
I think you are on to something that can be generalized. No doubt aggression on the streets of Lima is the direct result of frustration in other areas of life in Peru - like a pressure cooker that emits steam wherever it reaches the boiling point. Traffic is the blow-hole of Peruvian culture, the one place where you can exact payback for all the unfairness and inconvenience and disappointment you have suffered through the day and over the course of your life.
It's interesting to compare this behavior to America and other developed societies. All of them suffer the same kinds of pressures, more or less. It's modernization itself that makes you feel squeezed by the world around you in ways that cannot be directly identified and corrected. Blaming "capitalism" as a villain, despite what you read in the News and Views forum, never really gets you anywhere, because it's largely unactionable criticism. Still, there are some differences:
- Road rage in the United States and Europe is actively policed. Here, nothing is policed, not on the road anyway, and because of rampant corruption the concept of policing itself has next to no legitimacy. So the rage is unabated, which means it's both more more common and more diffuse. In the US, there are fewer total road rage events than there are here. But when events do happen, they are spectacular - gun battles on the shoulders of the freeways, people intentionally run over, cars crashing into office buildings, televised police chases that go on for hours, etc. In Lima, they express their rage in the micro-details of their driving habits, which means the big events are less common (at least so far as I have seen). It's kind of like how a series of small tremblers can dissipate the energy of massive quake. The total negative energy is more or less constant over time. It's just the way it is expressed that is different. As a parallel, it's also interesting that no one ever seems to go postal in Peru. In this case, I don't think it's because they are able to blow off steam in micro ways, but rather because in the United States gun laws are weak and those that do exist are weakly enforced. Like aggressive traffic in Lima, aggressive shooting in the United States is partly explained by the opportunity that lawlessness itself creates.
- Peru, like many developing modernized countries, may suffer from more pressure than developed modernized countries, largely because Peru is so inegalitarian. The total negative energy is higher in Lima than it is in the countryside, because Lima is urban and modernized. That's normal. But it is also high in the countryside, because people are forced to eat inequality and injustice for breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day of the week, no matter where they live. I don't mean this a political commentary, just an observation about causes and effects, and how societies work. Unjust societies produce higher levels of negative energy than just societies. And I think this can be measured by the way people treat one another, especially in public. Traffic, then, is a kind of belle-weather for democratic health. Germany has incredibly aggressive drivers, fast and furious, but they are remarkably unintimidating. They stop for pedestrians and obey traffic laws. I wouldn't hesitate to ride a bicycle anywhere in Germany, except maybe the autobahn itself. Like in most healthy democracies, Germans don't have a bone to pick with their fellow citizens, but rather just want to feel the thrill of speed and rush of risking their own lives, and not those of others.