Look around you. What do you see? Other than Grande Vegas online casino ads popping up while you try to read your favorite news site or watch your favorite YouTuber, you probably see cars. A lot of cars.
Not just one car, and not just two cars, but probably tens or hundreds of cars. How many cars do you see in a single day? Even if you never leave your house, you probably see a street full of cars by just glancing out your window.
This is simply because cars have conquered the world. They are a central piece in our lives, and probably will be for a very long time.
The Arrogance of Space
It was once said that cars are the dominant species on planet Earth. I mean, think about it. How much space is allotted to cars as compared to people?
Think about it like this. Take a walk outside to your garage and take a seat in your car. Turn it on, then pull out into your driveway.
From your driveway, you can pull out onto your street and off you go! Turn the corner, or maybe a few more corners, and now you are on Mainstreet. Keep on driving, we’ll be there soon!
Off you go! To the highway! Soon, smooth sailing and open roads will be all that can contain us! Ah, feel that wind on our face as we have the windows rolled down. Only a couple miles now!
Well, here is our ramp, turn off before we miss it. Around the bend we go and onto another street. Keep driving, we will get there soon! It’s just up here, on the right!
Now as you pull into the big department store’s parking lot, stop. Although, maybe don’t block the roadway or you might have a couple angry shoppers honking at you.
How big is the store? Take a guess. Go inside it if you like. Walk from one end of the store to the other and time it. Do the same lengthwise.
Now, go into the parking lot. Walk from one end of the parking lot to the other end of the parking lot and time it. Then, do the same lengthwise. See what I am getting at?
Think about how much more land the parking lot occupies than the store! And that is only the beginning! Think about all the roads and streets you drove on. Think about the highway you took to get to this parking lot.
Think about your own driveway! Think about your garage! Cars are so important and central in our lives, we literally build homes for them in our houses to store them!
Still not convinced? Open Google Maps, and pick a modern country. Any modern country. Let’s say for instance the United States of America.
Now, pick a state. I’ll choose New York State. Now just start zooming in. Main highways and roads will start to appear. Just keep zooming it. As you zoom in, more and more roads will appear.
Streets, highways, roads, boulevards, ways, and paths! More and more space is taken up for cars and transportation. Thousands and thousands of square kilometers!
If you are still not convinced? Pull up pictures of a stadium on Google Maps or Google Images. Look how much space is taken up for parking compared to the stadium itself!
Cars have conquered the world, and we gladly have helped them. Why is this so? Why is so much of our world taken up by cars?
Cars take up such a big part of our lives simply because they are so important to us. Being able to go to the places we want to go fast, conveniently, and when we want to go to them is essential for many people.
This means that their only real choice is to have a personal vehicle. For many people having to wait for public transport is simply not good enough for their purposes.
For instance, if you are a handyman, electrician, plumber, painter, or anyone else who needs to bring along lots of tools for his job, then taking a bus is simply not an option. You need to be able to easily bring all of your tools exactly where you need to bring them.
Or, if you have a large family, then having a car in order to go where you need to with all your kids can be very convenient. Taking kids on a bus along with luggage and strollers is a very difficult thing to do!
Finally, we come to one of the biggest things that make cars take up so much space and time in our world. That is simply that owning a car has become, and has been, a status symbol.
How Car Brands Have Conquered Us
Think about what it means to be a rich person. Think about how many rap songs talk about having a car, or simply just mention a car! I don’t listen to rap a ton, but I know for certain that it is a lot.
That is because when you think of being someone with a lot of influence and wealth, the things most people think about are houses, women, and cars. All three of those things have become status symbols in our culture and society.
And car brands love it and absolutely have been part of the reason for it. They purposely have pushed for cars to become status symbols, and their advertising proves it.
Watch some ads for any expensive sports car brand. You will start to notice a pattern. All of the ads have similar components that are just arranged in a different order.
The first component is women. They want to appeal to men’s base instincts and desires to have women. So, they try to show that their car will make all the women notice you and they absolutely imply sexual undertones.
Secondly, they all appeal to masculinity. They try to show off that their cars will make you more masculine and that “real men” buy expensive sports cars. So, they have guys with perfectly chiseled jawlines or rock-hard abs to make the average guy feel they need to compensate.
This is also seen in ads where they relate their cars to power or forces of nature. It’s all just a way to make people think that buying this fancy car is something special. They appeal to our desire for things that are “cool”.
Third, they correlate owning a nice car with being successful. There are always sections in the ads where they show the guy driving the car being some important businessman, or at the very least owning an unfathomably expensive luxury house.
Fourth, they interject the ideas about being famous or that owning this car will make everyone jealous of you. So, they show the guy driving around in his car and everyone is turning their heads to look at you with eyes full of desire.
They want you to think that people will think you are important or special just by owning their car. This is of course not true, it is just one of the many ways that car brands manipulate culture and ideas around cars.
I mean, think about it. Who on earth actually needs a fancy car? In most cases, you can’t even drive at the speeds the car is able to! It’s not like you can pull 200kph while you take your kid to school.
And all of this is rooted in history. Poor people couldn’t, and in many places still can’t, afford cars! Rich people saw it as a way to separate themselves from poor people. Ultimately, a lot of prejudices are just classism.
So, now that cars become more affordable to the average person, and even to a poor person, rich people need ways to set themselves apart again. So, they go out and buy fancy luxury cars that lower-class people can’t afford.
Think about it, what do many people who were poor think about if they get a large sum of money like through the lottery? In many cases, it is a fancy car. A fancy car makes you important after all!
So, this idea that has percolated its way through our culture is found everywhere. In our music, in our media (Think about how big a part of movies cars are!), and in our everyday lives.
All of this means that cars are here to stay, and will probably not be leaving any time soon. This is why cars are the dominant species on our planet. We just love cars. And car manufacturers love taking advantage of that fact.