The ‘Beef’ That Quickly Escalated

‘Beef’ is about how two strangers continually triggered each other, till their car chase that led to further mutual aggravation almost cost them their lives. The very ‘beef’ that started it all is summarised in the following conversation.

Amy: Next time someone honks at you, maybe let it go.
Danny: Maybe next time, think twice before you honk.
Amy: Why are you so angry all the time?
Danny: I could ask you the same thing.

Amy might have been impatient, thus honking, but Danny was also impatient, thus taking offence. Most people are angry towards others; seldom themselves. Lacking introspection to realise that anger is a personal problem, this readily leads to self-righteousness, coupled with demonisation of others. Even if someone else really did make a mistake, we do not have to make the mistake of becoming enraged. This first to be harmed is oneself, with peace of mind lost. The next who might be harmed is the subject of one’s anger. If this subject also lacks self-reflection, the brewing of chaos (i.e. ‘war’) begins. In a later conversation, the below was said.

Danny: You know what your problem is? You only think about yourself.
Amy: Your problem is you only bitch about everybody else.

The temperamental also tend to be self-centred. Amy was anxious to get ahead, thus honking, but Danny was equally anxious, thus retaliating to ‘complain’. In the madness of being mad, empathy disappears too. Amy was not aware that Danny was having a bad day, while he did not know that she was stressed up. The beef that quickly escalated could have just as easily dissipated, if only one or both parties took a deep breath, before exhaling to release their pent up pressure. Always preserve your peace of mind, without which you might even lose your life!

As Marcus Aurelius put it, ‘How satisfying it is to dismiss and block out any upsetting or foreign impression, and immediately to have peace in all things.’ / ‘So other people hurt me? That’s their problem. Their character and actions are not mine.’ / ‘It doesn’t hurt me unless I interpret it’s happening as harmful to me. I can choose not to.’ / ‘The best way to avenge yourself is to not be like that.’

As Epictetus put it, ‘Another person will not hurt you without your cooperation. You are hurt the moment you believe yourself to be.’ / ‘Keep in mind that it isn’t the one who has it in for you and takes a swipe that harms you, but rather the harm comes from your own belief about the abuse. So when someone arouses your anger, know that it’s really your own opinion fueling it. Instead, make it your first response not to be carried away by such impressions, for with time and distance self-mastery is more easily achieved.’

As Seneca put it, ‘How much better to heal than seek revenge from injury. Vengeance wastes a lot of time and exposes you to many more injuries than the first that sparked it. Anger always outlasts hurt. Best to take the opposite course.’

In a telling scene (in the picture above), during a confrontation, when Amy and Danny were honked at by a third party, they yelled at the person together. They did not realise this as proof, that their initial rage at each other was nothing personal at all! If so, why have any beef at all? Of course, it was better for Amy to just be slightly more patient, to not honk, just as it was better for Danny to just drive off, without being peeved for a single second!

Related Review:

Some ‘Beef’ With Renunciation’s Misconceptions

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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