“Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.”
Often we feel we are wronged or deserve better treatment, either from strangers, people in the service industry, or even our loved ones. Though some behaviour is inexcusable, we must remember that we are all human and we all make mistakes. We are also vulnerable to our emotions, which correlate with our opinions, to which we are usually quite attached to.
Rather than fight fire with fire, use water. When treated unintelligently by someone else, let’s say by rude or childish insults, we should respond intelligently, let’s say by not responding with similarly childish insults. I am a large person, 6′ 2″ and 220 lbs. I commute in a big city and used to be confused when opposing pedestrian traffic would take up more than their share of the walkway, heading right towards me, apparently bracing for a collision.
Before I understood the way, I would simply brace myself and send them flying, not feeling bad since they nearly ran me off the road in the first place. Over the years I have encountered people that really have nothing to lose, or at least feel that they don’t. They will just as soon stab you or shoot you if you bump into them.
What is the point to pugilism and rude physical behavior? When you think about the cause, the objective, the possibilities, and the result, it doesn’t make much sense. In fact it usually is a similar formula to:
Cause = To prove you are physically tougher than someone else, preferably without using weapons. Or to show off to your friends or someone you are hoping to attract. Or to feel better about yourself.
Objective = To hurt the other party, preferably without killing them, to send a message to them and your friends that you are tougher, or that they should not act like an idiot.
Possibilities = You win the fight injured or perhaps not, you lose the fight injured (usually), you or the other party end up with irreperable damage or dead. You and/or the other party end up in jail.
Result = Even if you win, you think you are tougher, but are really just subject to police observation and/or one or more parties seeking vengeance on you.
To some this breakdown may sound good to them and is how they find excitement in their lives. To most people, this realization of the pointless objective usually persuades them to avoid conflict, or at least handle it with intelligence rather than pugilism. In the end it really doesn’t matter, as both actions are just different sides to the dice of life.
It is however, good to think about such things, and be mindful of your objectives when you perform an action.