Whenever I'm confronted with behaviours I find potentially harmful, I get angry. One example of this is when I witness motorists speeding or otherwise making risky maneuvers (going after the light has turned red, cutting in traffic, etc.) I may be enjoying a nice calm walk in my neighbourhood and be otherwise feeling quite serene, but then a single passing car happens to accelerate too much (sometimes noisily), and then I start feeling all sorts of feelings of disapproval, powerlessness and contempt.
I feel like I should change my attitude, but I'm not quite sure what I should strive for. Clearly, getting worked up over passing cars accomplishes little. It even hurts me, since I lose focus on what better thoughts I was enjoying before. Afterwards, I'm in an unhappy, vindictive mood for a while. People I love that see me having these types of reactions often look concerned and a bit disturbed. Pretty clearly, getting angry is not the right reaction.
On the other hand, even on a rational level, I'm not sure I want to not get angry, because it seems obvious to me that these drivers are taking unnecessary risks that will invariably lead to more kids getting hit by cars, more car crashes, more noise, environments that feel less safe - harmful things. If I don't react, am I not placing myself and others in harm's way by taking part in an enabling apathy?
Please note - reckless driving here is just an example. I'm hoping to find some insight on how to deal with things that are more or less tolerated by many, either by apathy, ignorance or differences in personal values, but that are for some reason important to me. Other examples that come to mind :
- Political propaganda
- Erosion of private life
- The environment
- Social justice.
How do Buddhists see disagreements where the opposing party might harm others if they continue in their ways? A "Live and let live" attitude seems problematic, since it contributes to the problem.