Public Transport as Unbecoming

The other day I came across the following story on the website of a newspaper: ‘An era’s famed actor was seen boarding a minibus in Nişantaşı.’ Yes, this was ‘news,’ and was presented with a twelve-page slide presentation. I’m not going to get into media’s understanding of reporting, I only want to address the place of public transport in society and the psychological states beneath certain preferences.

The first thing that comes to my mind is this saying by Gustavo Petro: “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation.” Perhaps you’ll object by saying that our perception of public transportation is not on par with the standards of developed countries. You’re right. But that doesn’t change the fact that, despite not so dire conditions, people with a low income have cars and those with a high income and status stay away from public transportation.

The most dominant point of view in these choices (that directly affect economical, energy related, and environmental factors) is the ‘preferring not to mix with the masses’ situation, which is exactly what I’m interested in. We’re able to stay away from public transportation because, no matter how much better of a solution it is than getting stuck in traffic, we’re inclined to question it in terms of our self-worth, what we own, and what we’re accustomed to. If only we could realize how funny we look when the world we live in is perceived from the outside. And if we could only understand what great miracles would occur if we tried to impress ourselves instead of others.

We often hear the question of what the first step to have a simple life should be. How about giving up on trying to impress others?



Translated by Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

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