A Piece On Regret
I do not live my life with any regrets. Not because of a cavalier attitude or a disregard for consequences. I live my life without regrets because I do not believe in free choice. Regret is built on the idea that when choosing between an action, or a product, or an experience, or a person, the wrong one is chosen in hindsight. But are we really consciously choosing in any of those situations? I don’t actively choose what my wardrobe consists of, where I spend most of my time, or how I deal with people in my life. Those are all determined for me by simply being the person that I am.
In the simplest example, if I am choosing between a red shirt and a blue shirt, and I pick the red shirt, I am someone who prefers red, even if it is only for that moment. Because my mind was triggered by a memory or a feeling that decided that red was the color for me today. But that doesn’t really conjure up strong potential feelings of regret. If I stay in for the night instead of going to the nearby concert with all my friends only to learn our all time favorite performer came out as a surprise guest, there is a part of me that could regret not going. Except in the moment when faced with the option of buying a ticket, I was not a person who was willing or ready for that experience. Maybe I was a person who needed to save money or to rest or to take a break from friends. If I lose touch with a friend or relative, that lost time could be a regret. But who I was at the time the disconnection happened was not ready to continue to be a part of that person’s life. I can’t change who I was when looking back at how I behaved or acted.
If there are no true choices to be made then the other side of regret does not exist. We are only ever living based on the person we are in the moment. Any given decision is determined by who we are at that exact time. And who we are in that moment is who we were always going to be in that moment. Living out our manifested self. How can we regret who we were? We can change as people over time, and as a result our preferences and decisions change. There is no other alternate person that we would have or could have been. All the events in our life shape who we are, which we in turn create events that shape us farther. There is only one version of us when we look back at our lives. A version that could not have chosen any differently than based on the person we were. But looking forwards, there are infinite versions of ourselves that have yet to be revealed.