Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Watchers

Today we got stuck in traffic. That slow kind on the busy highway that means there's been an accident. Today it turned out to be a van that was completely burned out - and well over to the side along with a single police car.

Even allowing for the buildup of traffic from when the fire originally happened, the slowdown must have been related to people wanting to have a look. This seems to happen all the time... Why are we so compelled to look at this stuff?Is it pure voyeurism - deriving some wierd pleasure from a rare chance to observe others in a difficult situation, regardless of how intrusive it may be?

Is it more cathartic - we feel some sort of emotional release from seeing others in trouble and being thankful it's not us?

Or is it actually adaptive on some level: take a good look at this (relatively) rare event - this is an opportunity to learn why each of us should try to avoid behaviour that leads to this kind of result.

...I hope the person driving the van was OK.

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