The reptilian complex (R-complex) attempts to explain, among others, the origins of rage: in a nutshell, some of the higher brain functions of higher mammals are similar to those of reptiles. Sometimes, the R-complex is triggered to override mental functions like conscience and reason, leading to unpredictable results that span the gamut from bouts of anger to mass genocide. Socialization and interpersonal interaction plays an important part in the development of human R-complexes, but having done some self-study on psychiatry myself, I think that the environment is equally important: not just for the R-complex, but on human behavior as well.
Like driving a car.
I’ve been sort of “psychoanalyzing” my dad’s driving behavior for quite a while now. My dad drives a forest-green Mitsubishi Lancer, kept shiny and meticulously clean. A barely-visible dent or scratch on his car is enough to drive him into irrational feelings of depression. But outside of that, my dad turns into a very different man when he’s behind the wheel of his vehicle.
The laws of logic, reason, and science do not hold true. The car does not move. Instead, it is the road that moves.
I don’t like authoritarian regimes. If anything, my dad’s car is a sort of a figurative rogue state: a fascist dictatorship with him at the literal helm of the near future. He, along with millions of other drivers in the country, is the kind of fascist that would rile the principles of true activists: the ultimate threat to democracy, the very consequence of what would happen if Hitler’s father and Mussolini’s mother mated.
Adolf Mussolini? Benito Hitler? My dad behind the wheel?
Like many drivers, my dad implicitly believes that the ground touched by the four wheels of his car is his. My dad adheres to the unwritten Constitution that governs his driving, or should I say the Republic of his car:
- Every actual or imaginary line that there is in the road is his: no vehicle or pedestrian has the right to cross his territory.
- In every exit, changing lane, overtaking lane, or intersection, he has the right of way.
- He has the inalienable right to blow his horn: but if another driver blows his or her own horn, it is an open declaration of war.
- By international law, he is entitled to two parallel parking spaces: one to actually park, and the other to estimate his parking distances.
- He is entitled to a smart and proper salute not only by legitimate Armed Forces personnel in road checkpoints, but also to security guards who are not, by rule and convention, required to salute a fellow civilian.
- We, the people who ride his car, are not allowed to make comments about his driving (or should I say the direction of our near future): any comment is punishable by exile.
My dad, of course, is schooled on actual driving: I learned all my driving from completely unrealistic video games, where I have the benefit of comparatively low traffic, no fuel gauges, and going 200+ MPH without damaging my computer-generated car. But in reality, I have the driving skills of O.J. Simpson and a drunk/high Lindsay Lohan.
I’m going to stick with public transportation for now. Something tells me that when I have kids and drive them to school, I’d probably get sued for emotional abuse. If I drive Kennon Road the same way I do canyons in Initial D, I’d end up in jail.