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ROAD RAGE AND PATIENCE

(From Bob Bob Mionske’s Blog on Cyclists and the Law)


Charles Montgomery writes:

"The driving experience primes car drivers for meltdowns. They are conditioned by popular culture to see cars as symbols of freedom, yet city driving is a slow-motion trap that subjects drivers to constant restrictions on their movement. Drivers are thwarted from enjoying the promise of motion by traffic lights, by congestion – and yes, by cyclists – and they suffer the natural but impossible desire to escape and move forward. All this while being strapped to their seats!"


In fact, there are a number of factors influencing driver anger; road rage psychologist Dr. Leon James has identified fifteen sources of driver anger, including:


• Restriction: “Being prevented from moving forward when you expect to arouses frustration, and along with it anxiety and an intense desire to escape the restriction. This anxiety prompts drivers to perform risky or aggressive maneuvers to get away or get ahead.”


• Regulation: Regulation of driving “feels like an imposition and arouses a rebellious streak in many, which then prompts them to disregard whatever regulations seem wrong or inconvenient.”


• Lack of personal control: The “lack of personal control over traffic events is frustrating and often leads to venting anger on whoever is around.”


• Being put in danger: “Hair-raising close calls and hostile incidents” result in “physiological stress, along with many negative emotions — fear, resentment, rage, a sense of helplessness, and a depressed mood.”


• Venting: Vented anger “is felt as an energizing rush. This seductive feeling is short-lived, and is accompanied by a stream of anger-inspiring thoughts that impair judgment and tempt us into rash and dangerous actions.”


• Unpredictability: “Streets and highways create an environment of drama, danger, and uncertainty.”

These feelings, simmering beneath the surface, threaten to boil over in anger as soon as somebody to blame can be found. And then along rolls a cyclist, taking up road space, slowing people down, wearing funny clothes, not paying taxes, and not even obeying the law! Never mind that some of these stereotypes may not even be true; the cyclist makes a convenient scapegoat to blame.


Patience with circumstances – we make plans, and want to stick to them, but everything seems to get in the way.


Patience with capital – much of the current meltdown of the economy has to do with the impatience of investors – we want to double our money now. I heard this amazing woman Jacqueline Novogratz share stories of how "patient capital" can bring sustainable jobs, goods, services -- and dignity -- to the world’s poorest. – If investors have a vision that goes beyond betting on the fastest horse, and are willing to work with entrepreneurs in the 3rd world, we can move beyond charity to true development.


Patience with history – How long oh Lord? – 7 times the Psalmist asks this.

Psalm 89:46

How long, LORD? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire?


(From a sermon by Mike Wilkins, Fruit of the Spirit: Patience, 10/19/2009)

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