Sunday, July 6, 2008

Regret and Life

"Every man I meet is in some way my superior"
A somewhat politically incorrect/sexist quote in the modern world. But as an individual, I strongly believe in the idea behind it. We can never learn enough after all.

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable activities when socialising with a person is listening and learning, well, if the person is interesting/smart enough. It's always humbling to recognise something in that person which you could take away for use in the future.

A recent discussion with a smart and capable individual made me ponder a critical issue in our life: regret.

We all regret something in our life and we feel we could have done that something better. And often, we ask ourselves the all important question of why? Why did we make that decision?

According to wikipedia, regret is defined as an intelligent (and/or emotional) dislike for personal past acts and behaviors. Regret is often felt when someone feels sadness, shame, embarrassment or guilt after committing an action or actions that the person later wishes that he or she had not done. Regret can describe not only the dislike for an action that has been committed, but also, importantly, regret of inaction. Many people find themselves wishing that they had done something in a past situation.

Moreover, it seems that there are two forms of regret: 1) For things that we have done and 2) For things that we have not done. Perhaps this is best illustrated by the following quote:
"Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable."
In this view, regret can be caused by action or inaction. Nonetheless, a decision has to had happen because the person can regret about whether they will regret the past action or past inactions. It would also be fair to say that a regrettable decision had to be made based on some kind of ground. In this regards, we can say two things: 1) The ground or basis for a decision comes from the heart/gut/mind 2) From existing circumstances. Furthermore, according to regret theory, the fear of regret itself can play a large role in dissuading or motivating someone to do something.

So as weird/complex as this speculation may sound, it screams something obvious and that is whatever made us made a regrettable decision was not solid and possibly hastened by the actual fear of future regret itself. What I am perhaps truly confused about is WHY sometimes we make a decision that we regret, especially if a decision has ENORMOUS repercussions on our life and its direction.

Could it possible be a lack of knowledge, lack of foresight, lack of planning or all three?

But could it be something else?

Let me clarify. When we make a decision, that decision could be for 1) matters of ones life such as job, education etc. or 2) matters of the heart. For 1), the reasons that caused us to make regrettable decisions can be surprisingly obvious as I have mentioned previously. But for 2), matters of the heart may be less so? By logic, you would hardly jump into a decision regarding a matter of the heart unless there is a strong motivation to do so right? Of course, it is exactly this point that void the previous sentence because matters of the heart are rarely logical right? I was actually reading an interesting article which mentioned that more than 1/3 of women married would not choose the same spouse 2nd time around. I was absolutely shocked.

So from this person, I felt that I have taken something away and in immeasurable ways, I thank you.

1) When making a decision for anything, ensure it is based on logic. Love is the opiate of the masses and logic is the cure. If you ever have regret, you can always fall back on logic but never that heart jumping, warm, tingling feeling. Fuck that shit. I know I will live to contradict myself but I like my theories.

2) Never trust your gut or heart. Always trust your mind.

3) True love don't exist. Fairy tales are lame and one will only end up hurting oneself.

4) I have grown more cynical of the human species and especially females in particular. It's a shame. I am growing more and more fond of the quote: Shoot now, ask questions later or in this case, hurt others before you get hurt.

5) I admire strong willed, self capable and intellectually gifted females. They are rare and I hope anyone who does command the love of one to fully appreciate what they have.

6) Life is pointless.

Time to wrap up. Here's a nice Paint drawing I did to summarise my points I was going to say something here as well but I can't remember and it's really cold.

Next post, "Love/Dating/Marriage is the opiates of the masses". And I warn anyone who may read my next article, beware. It is going to be highly pessimistic/cynical/ugly in its view and very depressing and can bring on anxiety, headache, fear, sudden coldness leading to possible heart attacks. Reader discretion is advised.