Reading newspapers has become increasingly interesting now that people I know keep popping up in there. And not with obituaries, but rather with achievements and projects.
I told someone that I would talk about regret now, hence I shall talk about the U.S. demanding all kinds of personal information about people (travel data, banking data etc.) from the EU and its countries a little later, it’s not as if they would stop demanding confidential information without a clear reason anytime soon. So, you know, that is coming along.
So, regret. Is there a reason for regretting something done in the past? Sure, we have all had situations where we could have and should have done better, acted differently. If only we had known better… But is that worth regret and feeling bad about past events? I think not.
“What we should do does not lie in the past.” – Captain Okita
As much as we may wish, we are unable to change the course of past events. This is, assuming one does not have a surplus time machine just lying around, which sounds fairly reasonable. If that is so, having any emotions affecting us to wanting a change in the past seem to be quite arbitrary and impractical. Regret serves no practical use, as one cannot act on it. Unless one thinks of the consequences of regret. It is plain to see that regret is the emotion that teaches us that we’ve done wrong, that we should’ve done better. We will learn from the experience and do better next time we are in a similar situation. Hence once we understand we’ve done wrong and we know what the right course of action would’ve been, regret has accomplished its purpose and becomes useless again. In the end, it emerges with elegant inevitability that if regret were useful, we would be able to act on it, but we can’t so it isn’t. It’s use is extremely limited and extraordinarily short-term. That is, unless you happen to have a spare time machine, built out of a DeLorean, a hot tub or anything else.
Enjoy the legendary Matt Bomer (Chuck, White Collar)