Thoughts on carlessness

Has anything encouraged the rise of individualism in western culture more than the motor car?

I've just bought a new car - which is a huge blessing from God, being cheaper than I'd thought it would be, well equipped, and really good to drive. This happened after six weeks of being without a car of my own which I have found incredibly frustrating.

At least twice during this time I agreed to appointments that I couldn't keep without a car because it just didn't enter my head when I made them that I wouldn't be able to do what I wanted to do. Similarly frustrating were the occasions when I suddenly realised I wanted to do something and then I found I couldn't because my feet or my bike weren't sufficient (and public transport where I live is not great). I was generously lent a car on a few occasions, or had to ask for lifts - I was dependent on others to an extent I hadn't been in this area of my life for a long time.

This has all (once I allowed it to) helped me to realise that there can be an illusion of independence created when one is dependent on a car. This leads of the individualism we see all around us, though rarely in ourselves of course. Anyone who has travelled the London Underground will know that public transport does not by itself create a self-giving community but I certainly found that not having a car opened my eyes to my false sense of independence.

I hope this has humbled me a bit more, that it will increase my gratitude at the measure of freedom I do have, and taught me to keep my eyes own for people around me for more reason than mere hazard perception.