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The International Psychology of the Green Man

Whilst travelling we noticed some interesting social commentary going on in the various approaches different nations have towards crossing the road. In Berlin and Leipzig people always wait for the illumination of the Green Man. Our friend was prevented from crossing the road by a 20 yr old anarchist who explained that it sets a bad example to children to cross on red (note that this is a correct example of anarchism). Nobody ever crosses on red. This was taken further in Norway, where those who obviously were considered outcasts by themselves and others were taking the Red Man as an opportunity to publically express their standing by waiting for the Green Man to go away before commencing their crossing. And of course in England we have a button whose function it is to illuminate the word WAIT, which most other peoples seem to overlook. It took me ages to realise that they probably communicate nothing to the traffic lights unless you’re in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps it merely replicates the British approach to law; a button we elect to push that tells us to do something we wouldn’t do if we hadn’t chosen to be told to do it, and then promptly ignore.

One thought on “The International Psychology of the Green Man

  • mrs ping
    April, 16, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    in taiwan they now have a LED green man animation which is walking, plus a countdown telling how much longer you have to walk. At 10 secs, the green man starts walking faster and at 5 secs, he starts to run!

    Makes me proud to be taiwanese.

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