The Car Crash

Two colleagues, Ludwig and John, decided to embark on a trip together. Their destination was the Land of Abundance, a land in which every need and want one could desire could be attained as easily as one draws breath. The path to this Land was not so easily laid out for them, but they both had a good idea how to get there.

Before the trip, they met to discuss strategy. John believed that if they drove at an increasingly higher speed, slowly accelerating by the same amount each hour (a process he bizarrely called velocity stability), they would get to the Land of Abundance in no time, thus having more time to enjoy the spoils. Ludwig pointed out that constantly increasing speed regardless of the outside factors such as traffic, elevation changes, changes in the road etc would pose a problem and endanger their safety as they drove. Furthermore, the car has a maximum speed which will alter John’s plans of getting there in ‘no time.’

John brushed aside Ludwig’s concerns as primitive and barbarous, stating that Modern Driving was much more suited to his approach. When it came time to begin the trip, he strongarmed Ludwig and took the wheel, rendering Ludwing and his ideas to the passenger seat.

The trip began innocuously, as the straight road lent itself to John’s driving style. He brought the car up to speed, and then maintained an ever increasing speed as time went on. The straight road and the fact that there was no traffic to be seen gave the impression of a smooth trip. “This driving thing does not seem to require any specialized gifts of the highest order,” he smirked to his companion, who nervously stared out the window.

Suddenly, a bend appeared ahead. John, unperturbed, continued to implement his brand of velocity stability, slowly increasing the speed of the car. Ludwig, worried, tightened his seatbelt and braced. As the turn drew nearer, traffic intensified. John swerved to avoid slower moving cars, but was simply moving too fast to make the corner. The car careened from the road into the brush, coming to a halt with the aid of a 200 year old redwood tree.

*****************

Ludwig and John stood, staring at the wreck that was once their vehicle to the Land of Abundance. While both of them managed to survive the crash with minimal injuries, the car was completely totaled. Ludwig took a few moments to lament the fact that it was a great vehicle that could have got the job done, if not for a misallocation of driving techniques. He quickly put the thoughts of the great vehicle behind him, and turned to the construction of a new vehicle. He began to examine the wreckage for parts which hadn’t been damaged, which could be of use in the new project.

“What are you doing?” John asked, puzzled.

“Trying to figure out if any of these parts can be used again to build a new car,” he replied. “It’s the only way forward.”

“Nonsense!” John exclaimed. “We have magneto trouble. All we need to do is fix that and we’ll be good to go.”

Ludwig had no response. John was assured of his diagnosis and began to work on the magneto issue. Ludwig knew that even if that was fixed, the fact that the car had a mangled suspension and engine, no steering, damaged transmission and no tires meant that the car was not going anywhere, fixed magneto or not. He remained silent, however, because pointing out these obvious facts would have branded him as an extremist, or pessimist, or gloom and doomer, or a member of the Pain Crew, at least in the eyes of John. So he watched as John repaired the magneto on the totaled car.

Just then, a repair vehicle drove up to the scene of the crash. A professor-like individual got out of the vehicle, which was ivory in color, and taller than most on the road.

“Hello there,” he said. “I’m from the Central Traffic Authority (CTA). It looks as though you’ve had a crash.” He observed the totaled wreck, and then asked if they had tried to fix the magneto yet.

“Yes, I’ve been working on it for some time now,” John replied.

“Maybe I can help,” the CTA official said. He snapped his fingers. “There,” he said, pointing at the fuel tank. “I’ve just doubled the fuel supply, and increased your fuel tank capacity accordingly. Now you’ll be able to move faster. Also, I’ve introduced more stimulus in the shape of an increase in the speed limit. All of these changes should create a ‘speed effect,’ which makes you, and other drivers feel better as you should get to your destination in a faster and more thrilling manner. That’s all for now, if you need more stimulus let me know.”

John was ecstatic with these changes, while Ludwig still didn’t see how they’d help the totaled automobile go anywhere. He decided he had enough of the delusion and started to walk.

“Where are you going?” John asked.

“I’m going to walk, and see if I can’t use whatever tools I find along the way to build a new vehicle,” Ludwig replied.

“Suit yourself,” John scoffed, and returned to the magneto, marveling at the increased size of the fuel tank bestowed upon it by the CTA.

As Ludwig walked along the side of the road, cars whizzed past him back and forth, at greater and greater speeds. Ludwig noticed that the nature of the driving was far more reckless than even John’s was before the crash. He mentioned this to the CTA officials. The officials tended to be split in their views of the situation. Some of them said that they did notice a frothiness in the nature of the roads, with more and more drivers engaging in risky driving. This concern was dwarfed by the fact that the drivers were progressing faster and faster along the path to the Land of Abundance, so the officials preferred to look the other way. Ludwig wasn’t so sure, and kept walking, at a safe distance from the road.

After a few weeks of walking, Ludwig came to the end of the road. It stopped abruptly at the edge of a cliff, which was really just the beginning of a large canyon. On the other side of it was the Land of Abundance, but there was no way to get across to the other side. Ludwig was not alone at the end of the road, there were many travelers from all over the world, attempting to figure out a way to traverse the canyon. Ludwig noticed that John was among them, sitting inside the totaled wreckage of the car. Astonished, he walked up to John and greeted him.

“How did you make it here?” he asked.

John motioned to a tow truck in the distance, with the CTA logo emblazoned on it. “I got a tow from that thing,” he said. “I was able to fix the magneto, but I couldn’t quite get the car going for some odd reason. Then the tow truck came and all of a sudden, the car was able to move again. It was a smooth ride too, you really should have stayed. The car works fine now, as long as the tow truck is pulling it. Several times along the way, the tow truck driver asked if he could unhook me, but I didn’t want to upset the apple cart. I know that the car can run on its own, but I just didn’t feel it was ready yet. So I implored the tow truck to maintain its accommodation for an extended period of time. Now we’re here though and not sure what to do next.”

“Why don’t we start constructing a bridge?” Ludwig asked. “Once we produce that, we will have access to goods and services over there that we want to consume.”

As if he had uttered the most blasphemous words in the history of language, the entire gathering stopped what they were talking to each other about and slowly turned their heads towards Ludwig and stared at him with horror.

John broke the silence.

“You mean we have to produce something before consuming? You’re even crazier than I thought. It’s consumption that drives everything. All we need to do is get over to the Land of Abundance, consume, and growth will happen. Stop wasting our time, and help us come up with a solution.”

It was then that a huge rumbling sound was heard. The group turned around and noticed a gigantic contraption, in the shape of a bazooka. The CTA officials then addressed the crowd.

“This contraption will ensure that we get to the other side,” he began. “It works like a slingshot, and will garner enough escape velocity to negotiate the canyon to the other side. We will do whatever it takes to get you where you need to go.”

Ludwig was skeptical of the efficacy of the contraption. It was nowhere near large enough – even if it had been, there was no place to land on the other side, meaning there would be a massive crash regardless. Nevertheless, John eagerly volunteered. He began to load up the totaled car into the contraption.

“Are you coming?” he asked Ludwig.

Ludwig shook his head. “Your loss,” John said. “Your doom mongering will be the end of you one day.”

The CTA set off the bazooka slingshot, and John, strapped tightly inside the totaled car, went lunging forward. The crowd cheered with glee as the mess hurtled down the road at a great speed in the first few meters. Most of the observers assumed at this stage that the contraption had worked, and subsequently trampled each other to get in line to be the next ones to go. Ludwig continued to watch however, and noticed that over time the car was losing speed. It had enough speed to go over the cliff, but nowhere near enough to traverse the entire canyon. Ludwig immediately noticed this and tried to push his way through the crowd, imploring those in front of him to stop the car. He was repeatedly rebuffed, and told that the car was moving, thus all was well.

It was obvious that the car would not make it across, yet even as the car continued to slow as it reached the cliff, none of the other observers were alarmed. Resigned to helplessness, Ludwig turned and walked the other way, so as to avoid seeing the final carnage.

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