It is a commonly held tenant by a vast majority of people, that we need laws to maintain a civil society, thus the reason why we have a government. The common held belief is that we would be barbaric without laws to keep us in check, and regulations to monitor how we live our lives.
This perception is now being proven wrong however, in an interesting experiment beginning to spread throughout European towns. Imagine if you will, what would happen if you were to remove all of the traffic lights and signs on all of the roadways, and eliminate traffic laws? Imagine there were no police cars driving around looking for speeding drivers, and enforcing traffic laws…what would happen?
In the case of the town of Drachten, this very thing has been done, and the town now only possesses 3 of it’s original 15 traffic lights. These are going to be removed as well, as residents have found, they have no purpose for them. Since instating this new way of driving, accidents have not gone up, but actually gone down! Interestingly enough, people are even reporting they get to where they are going faster!
How can this be? When we give our power over to something else, whether it be a stop sign, a police officer, the DOT, government, etc., we stop taking full responsibility for our own actions. In the case of Drachten’s residents, they suddenly became more responsible, due to the lack of others and traffic mechanisms, telling them what to do. The people of Drachten now have to really pay attention to what is going on around them, and not allow distractions to get in their way. They pay attention to pedestrians, where they are going, and the other cars on the road. Traffic lights and signs had given them nothing more than a false sense of security.
Hans Monderman who is the inventor of this project says:
“It works well because it is dangerous, which is exactly what we want. But it shifts the emphasis away from the Government taking the risk, to the driver being responsible for his or her own risk.”
“We only want traffic lights where they are useful and I haven’t found anywhere where they are useful yet.”
The only traffic laws in Drachten, are to “yield to the right”, and “get in someone’s way, and you’ll be towed”. How simple is that?
Due to the success of this project, other European towns are now following in suit, such as the town of Makkinga, in the Dutch province of Frisia. Here there are no traffic signs, parking meters, or even lines painted on the road, as the drivers are now in control of what is happening. Just as in Drachten, accidents have gone down, and people are being more socially responsible. Seven European cities will soon be free of traffic laws and regulations, and more are sure to follow.
Interests is growing in this unmonitored system, even drawing experts from the United States and Argentina to visit the town of Drachten, to observe it’s success. London has expressed an interest, and the Kensington neighborhood of the British capital is actually giving it a try.
It is an ancient meditational practice, to try and create disorder. A canvas is speckled with painted dots, and the idea is to keep the dots chaotic with no perceivable order. The lesson is very simple, the object of creating only chaos, results in only order. We as bipeds tend to fear chaos and disorder, and yet we are like all symbiotic organisms, and will self-organize. For those who have studied chaos science, you know that true chaos does not exist. Every state of what appears to be disorder, contains an underlying order, though it may not be obvious upon first glance.
Historically we also know, that regulation and rules leads to eventual rebellion, and an increase in behaviors that were legal prior to illegalization. Take drugs for example. Throughout all of history, drug use has increased when illegalization is instated. The very act of controlling people leads them to want self control, and a desire to defy rules and regulations. When people are given the freedom to live their lives in a way they do not feel constrained, they are more likely to make proper decisions.
When my children were growing up, they were homeschooled. I had a big issue with my ability to regulate how much paper was being used for art projects, and at the time my children were about 6 & 7 years of age. I decided to take a different approach, and sat down with them, explaining how I knew I could trust them to make the right decisions, and told them I would no longer regulate the amount of paper that was being used. It was amazing, the amount of paper being consumed was greatly reduced, as they utilized the space on the paper they did use, to a much greater degree.
Many would like to believe we are in need of external regulating, that we are fools that cannot take care of ourselves, let alone live in harmony with our fellow peoples. In truth, our ability to regulate ourselves goes down with the increase of external regulation. The sad part is, that many have bought into the edicts of tyrants and bullies that once ruled the playground. Those who feel a lack of self control in their own lives, desire to control those outside of themselves, as a way to regain a sense of control. This is a false control, and it does nothing but demean and make less than all parties involved. You find these kind of people quite often wearing police uniforms, or working in government positions of power.
We are a natural system, and like all natural systems, we are self-regulating. Place us in unnatural circumstances, where our control is taken away from us and we are forced into an unnatural harmony, and you are going to see the exact opposite of order occur. We live in a world where such extreme control has been inflicted upon the average person, that if we have not caved into erratic and illogical behavior, we are at the very least under a lot of stress. Stress to conform, stress to succeed and meet up to the expectations of the regulating system, or stress over being a round peg trying to fit into a square hole.
In my opinion, long term anarchy cannot exist in a natural self regulating system. Anarchy however can exist as a temporary condition of a system working toward self-regulation. When I was living in Arizona, the birds would arise early in the morning, and a great cacophony would arise from multitudes of different species singing. Within about five minutes however, all of the birds would be singing together in perfect harmony, as if they were a carefully orchestrated group. It was amazing and beautiful. Self-regulation is not only possible, it is probable wherever it is allowed to be.
We need to stop listening to those who feel we must be controlled for the betterment of ‘society’, and start listening to logic and nature, and the truth that is in our own hearts. We need to look to better ways of living, ways that are proven to work, and not filled with empty rhetoric. We need to dream, to share, and to open ourselves up to our own inner guidance. It’s time, to walk away from what doesn’t work.