Habituation to Danger Kpalime, Togo West Africa Thursday, April 5, 2007
I was in Cusco, Peru, and a man with me used a Credit Card in the restaurant to pay for he meal. I about came unglued, I was so angry I wanted to slap him and the friends agreeing to this idea.
He sort of said, this is my habit, not quite the same as Habituation, but sort of along those concepts or lines. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habituation
People learn to ignore danger, I am not sure having thousands of dollars rang up on your credit card is dangerous, but it will cause you unlimited grief.
People ignore this as a real problem, and it to me causes unknown amount of financial problem as the naïve of the planet, just hand over their credit cards to some of the most dishonest people on the planet.
Giving a unknown worker, in a poor country, the ability to tack on two months of their wages to your credit card seems silly, and they know how to make it work. The person goes home and never even looks at the bills close, they just pay.
When we ignore or minimize the danger of a situation it become more dangerous.
A Habit of ignoring the real danger.
I was walking home last night, the Islamic people were lined up praying along the road. Groups of people were having fun, men in groups that are bullies by nature. The people were dancing in the streets, the motos were zooming by. (Moto is Motorcycle Taxi.) I am different, I do not blend in. The do not ignore me.
Example of danger - I was surrounded by potential danger.
I have become Habituated to the Motos. The danger was reminded to me as I say a moto come inches from slamming into a person in front of me, as he jumped and screamed at the motorcycle driver.
I have learned not to step left or right fast, as they do not give but inches of clearance. They easily hit me. If I am walking down the road, I have to look back carefully and not move to the left or right fast. This is very dangerous, a motorcycle can be going by at about 25 miles per hour. It probably will not kill me, but it will hurt me.
I become habituated to this danger and forget how dangerous it really is and act the same as the Togo people. I ignore the danger, I continually remind myself to not walk on the road when possible to get a good two feet off the road so when the motos come by, they hit someone else.
I think bikes are enormously dangerous as they compete with the motos, and walking does not. The Peace Corps rides bike, so they can avoid the Motos, and in my opinion now are in greater risk. A bike is not as safe to me as Moto, a car coming up behind a bike, THAT MUST STAY ON THE HIGHWAY, or wants to stay on the highway can be hit easily. A Moto is going fast, it cannot be hit from behind by a truck easy, the problem is head on, but the same for bikes.
When a Moto goes faster than 25 miles per hour here, it become more dangerous than a bike.
There to me is this ignoring of the checks and balances of danger. Bikes do not go fast enough to not be hit from behind. Walking done the road is more dangerous than a bike, a bike is more dangerous than a moto, to get hit from behind, the slower the target the easier to be hit.
I take motos and would ride a bike in Africa, because there are fewer cars. I would not ride a bike in Asia, and India is nuts. The know of two travelers killed because of hit from behind by cars, one in Mexico and one in Bolivia.
I do not compete with crazy drivers for the highway, I walk off the road, and the crazy drives can have it to use. When on a bike, or walking on the road, we must share the road with a life threatening danger.
I am always telling myself, cars are killers, and who or what type of person am I trusting with my safety.
When I am Habituated to the danger, when I feel safe, this is when I start to think the most, am I really safe. I know I will be robbed, killed or hurt the worst when I feel the safest, I have turned off my danger meter or fear has left, I have learned to ignore, because the existence of danger is a habit.
Asia is very dangerous for cars, South America is Second, Central, Mexico after that, I would say Africa is safer than most, and if I was going to ride a bike or drive a car, it would be here.
But there is no shortage of insanely dangerous drivers on the roads
In Europe it can be very safe near the roads to walk, then the motorcycle paths become a danger, the USA is safe, then we go faster, and more people die in car accidents. The underdeveloped nations driver slower, they just maim you.