chris blogs

May 2004

02may2004 · Breaking up by "chaos"

Yesterday I recalled a story my former History teacher told us (Jürgen W. Conzelmann, RIP), which I think is worth to know:

He has been in Berlin with a class of him, and there was something quite important—I think it was a state visit, but I’m not sure—so the policemen roped off some very important main streets of Berlin. They also shutdown all the traffic lights on their crossings. A traffic chaos was on it’s way.

After the event was over, it would have been tedious work for the policemen to tell all those waiting cars at both sides of the street where to go. If they would just go and turn on the traffic lights again, it would have been even worse: In minutes of time, the biggest honk-concert ever would have started.

So they did something very clever and impressive: They just went and kept the traffic lights off.

Contrary to what you may think, this was no problem at all: Short after, the streets were open again and the traffic jam broke up. Everyone had been driving more careful, you look more at others if the traffic lights are off. Also, common sense seems to be used a lot more.

Sometimes it’s just better not to regulate everything, but let it regulate itself.

NP: The Human Echo—How’d You Find Me

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