Inert Detritus The Internet's dust bunnies

5 November 2007 @ 5pm

Shadows, and Regrets

Regret stems from uncer­tain­ty and wish­ful think­ing. It is often pushed along­side a bad sit­u­a­tion that had bet­ter alter­na­tives, but there, it does not belong.

The “could have been” is our regret. It’s the alter­na­tive out­come; the nat­ur­al course; the hap­py, cer­tain end­ing. That final­i­ty is easy to see, to imag­ine, and the steps between us and what we want seem sure and guaranteed.

Regret is how we react to uncer­tain­ty, when the world is shak­en up. When we take the unnat­ur­al choice, when we try some­thing dif­fer­ent, regret is our wish­ing for the easy way out.

It’s pre­cise­ly when the future seems most uncer­tain, when things seem unpre­dictable and out of con­trol, that we look back and pick a moment, seem­ing­ly at ran­dom: it becomes our regret­ted deci­sion. “If only,” we think, “it would have turned out differently.”