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.


Amel's Realm said...

VERY interesting post, Shan, as usual he he he...

1. It's true that even in a good relationship, logic is needed to keep the relationship alive. I can't rely purely on emotions 'coz sometimes (esp. for women) moods change due to hormones and other reasons and if you want to work on your relationship, you have to rely on commitment, not on emotions.

2. I disagree with not trusting your gut. There are times that I KNEW I should've trusted my gut instinct, but I didn't.

3. True love does exist, but it takes a HUGE amount of effort and hard work on BOTH sides of the parties.

4. I used to be very cynical, too (and more idealistic), when I was younger...but I've grown out of it. ;-D

5. No comment.

6. I agree with this quotation: Life is what we make it - always has been, always will be. :-)))

For me personally, if I can just make living on earth feels like heaven (even only temporarily or for a brief moment or incident), then those moments or occasion proves that my life has meanings.

Max said...

Hey Shan!

Most interesting subject...allow me to roll up my sleeves...

"Why sometimes we make a decision that we regret, especially if a decision has enormous repercussions on our life and its direction." - I attribute it to karma. Many times we know what has to be done, and we even design a good strategy for it; but then the karmic force (that we need to learn, to experience by actions perpetrated in the past) makes us turn to an opposite way.

"Could it possible be a lack of knowledge, lack of foresight, lack of planning or all three?" - in some cases it can be one or all of them.

Well, I have heard of cases when people jump into a decision (in matters of the heart) without having any motivation at all to do so: some were successful, others not so quite (in fact, they may end up being labled as stalkers).
Indeed, matters of the heart are not logical at all, since emotions step in the scene and take all the reason away (which is a pity if you ask me). Reason, logics are analytical; the heart, emotions are...are...a distraction, although a positive one.

I beg to differ: true love exists! I, too, defended that it didn't exist until I came across it...and today I like I made a fool out of myself.

If you "Shoot now, ask questions later or in this case, hurt others before you get hurt" you will prove that you make no use of reason at all; that you are void of intellectuality and wisdom...and I don't think that you are, Shan :)!

Point #5 is superb!!! *clap clap clap* I too admire strong willed, self capable and intellectually gifted females...

Life is not pointless even though it may seem like it! There is a reason for all things, my friend!

LOL I can't wait to read your next article! Bring it on!!


V said...

hmm I can't comment much about issues on love but I agree with amel, I regret not trusting my gut instinct sometimes. And I have also grown more cynical of the female 'species'. I don't understand most of 'us' either.

life can either be pointless or engulfed with points! .. but since I'm lazy, I guess it's more convenient to think that it's pointless. Much less to ponder about... :P

have a nice day!

ps. looking forward to your next post... I've always thought marriage to be pointless. How can anyone 'love'->'tolerate' each other for years & years? I wonder what you have to say about that :P

Deadpoolite said...

Oh it has been such a long while since I last graced this godforsaken blog of yours with my glorious wackiness:) It feels good to moles.... eerrr... visit you once again!

On with the festivities then:

This was an interesting post you made but let's face it my comments on it will totally eclipse it... Oh well, maybe you will reach my level of awesomeness sometime in the future...

1)Life is not maths. You can have all the good intention and foresight to make every decision based on logic and then something happens that turns your life upside down. You will see in time, you are still too young and not crazy enough apparently:)

2)I used to believe in that but I'll let you in on a small secret: IT IS UTTER B.S.!!! Keep your options open on all accounts.

3)It exists, I am living it and yes the option of immense heartbreak is there for the taking but what is life without some sort of risk - simply boring:)

4)I'll gladly shoot you before you do but that is beside the point:). I suggest that you be 'selectively cynical' than 'all out cynical' especially since you are a young lad.

5)Yep, that makes two of us and those women are out there so don't lose hope(damn that was so cheesy I am only missing a Meg Ryan puppy face as an avatar EW!!!)

6)It is if you are you but you are used to live with disappointments by now so why stop now? LOL

Life is cool especially if you are mad as me and scrape all the bad parts away:).

Take care friend!

Gbex and Ellen said...

happy weekend!!

rubenh ( said...

logic is definitely needed in most things, but many things are also relative

Jeff said...

WOW, I didn't realize this is such an old post. Oh well, it is still very relevant.

I find it hard to have too many regrets. Even the things in life that caused me the most pain has given me benefit. I recently went through the most painful experience of my life, but I don't regret getting into the relationship. When the dust starts to clear, there is a clarity there that has never been seen by me.

It has left me cynical however, and I will post about my cynicism about affairs of the heart and particularly of the fairer sex in an upcoming post.