12/11/2008

Let Karma Take Care Of It

Filed under: — Bravus @ 11:47 am

I started out mostly thinking about it in relation to bike riders, and the things drivers do to them. For some reason on one particular trip home last week people pulled out in front of me 3 times. I had my lights on as usual, was doing everything the same as usual – just one of those odd statistical clusters, I guess. The final one, just before home, was close enough to double my heart rate. And then on the way home yesterday I split past a truck and he yelled ‘Oh, you idiot’ out his window as I went past.

In that last case I just gave him a cheery wave and rode on. I could have given him a different sort of gesture, but I do tend to think that the more birds you set free in the world, the more you get back! And he was in a truck and I’m on a bike – enraging him is probably not a particularly smart survival move.

I was also thinking about it because one of the riders who posts on the Netrider forum had had a taxi pull out on him without indicating. He stopped and got off the bike to go and have a few words with the taxi driver when the opportunity presented itself – and almost got done for assault by the cops who magically appeared. And having got off the bike, he’d kind of left himself open to it.

I’m not talking about karma in any mystical sense, and I apologise to any Hindu or Buddhist readers who think I’m just appropriating an idea. I’m talking about it more as the simple operation of cause and effect.

I could remonstrate with someone who pulls out in front of me without looking, but yelling at them is only going to lead to conflict, and the potential of me getting beaten up or arrested or my bike damaged. Not to mention stressing me out. But really, if they have the consistent habit of pulling out without looking, then sooner or later it won’t be a bike they’re in front of but another car, or a truck. Then I hope the other driver is as alert as me, and all the puller-outer gets is enough of a scare to remind them to be more careful.

So karma takes care of it – people who are consistently pleasant will, on average (but not always) find other people to be more pleasant in return, while people who are agressive will encounter aggression – and eventually it will be from someone bigger or tougher than them. People who drive carelessly will keep driving carelessly – and encounter the consequences.

I do like the core concept of ‘karma’, at least as Wikipedia describes it – we’re each responsible for our own lives and our own actions. If we consciously take that to heart – being responsible for acting in good ways in the world, and not worrying too much about correcting others’ actions – it seems to me that the world would be a better place.

So on the bike or wherever else – let karma take care of it.

3 responses to “Let Karma Take Care Of It”

  1. Sirdar says:

    Glad you are still with us 🙂 Road rage can be a dangerous thing. I ‘try’ not to get too excited when someone pulls out in front of me. I do get excited when someone is tailgating me!! That I don’t like. Anything else…I can deal with.

  2. Dawn says:

    I think fear can lead to anger and sometimes that is what causes the response. On the other hand self control is a great character trait and will help with the whole karma thing.

  3. Mark says:

    It’s a blunt instrument for justice. Lots of innocent people get hurt and there are crims who prosper to a ripe old age. But the general principle is true. I think the consequences of right or wrong action return not so much to the doer but to his community. So if a community improves its attitude as a whole, or a good number of the members do, the whole community will benefit – salt of the earth type thing.

    But in a more immediate sense, did you see that conscientious people have better life expectancy? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/science/sciencenews/3353724/Secret-to-a-longer-life—being-conscientious.html

    So, good on you for your polite gesture. And may you live long and prosper 🙂

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