On Time (II)

January 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

I have never understood how regretting can be an optional thing. When people say that they have no regrets I honestly assume they are either deluded or lying. How can anyone wish that they’d done nothing at all differently?

To regret is to have learned something about life. It hurts to learn things about life, for most of the truths to learn are painful ones. One might be wont to say then that it could be regrettable to not regret, and then we would find ourselves in a difficult regress, where regret might become its opposite. Maybe there is comfort in that, but it sure as hell doesn’t feel that way.

Regret is a sort of epistemological torture device. Because you want to think that if you’d done this differently or that differently, then you’d be happier now, or at least less miserable. But there’s no way to know, is there. You can see the rooms next to your memories, those rooms are well lit. But the rooms next to those rooms are a little dimmer, and the rooms next to those dimmer still, until eventually there is darkness. But even if you could see the whole thing clearly, even if you could know all the possible outcomes of all the possible choices, still there would be nothing to be done. Oh, but to wallow, yes. It is a sort of pleasurable pain, like tonguing a loose tooth.

The pragmatic thing to do in life is to focus one’s mental efforts on the future, on what is not yet, the idea ostensibly being that if one does this then one’s future memories need not be so painful or regrettable. And isn’t that the rub. That it is and will always be about memory, for memory is all there really is.

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