Posted by aogWednesday, 11 April 2007 at 09:51 TrackBack Ping URL

If you don’t have regrets, you’re not really making choices.

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Brit Wednesday, 11 April 2007 at 10:14

True, but it’s like the fear of death (which is closely related to regret) in that the key thing is not to dwell on it.

pj Saturday, 14 April 2007 at 07:26

Lionel Robbins spoke of “the tragedy of choice”, the tragedy being that every choice selected implies alternatives forgone.

Robert Duquette Monday, 16 April 2007 at 21:13

The most important thing about choice is knowing what you want. That isn’t an obvious thing. I’m still trying to figure it out, but at least I know many more things that I don’t want than I did as a young man. 98% of the paths not taken are crap - that’s why they aren’t taken.

cjm Tuesday, 17 April 2007 at 10:00

it’s a tough choice, how one spends their time. do you gambol in the fields, or toil in the fields — as a young man ? if you toil early on, you are in a position to take things easy later on. but then you are not young and so have forfeitted being young. if you do not toil, you surely will have to work harder in your maturity (or even pass away) just when leisure becomes more important. i suppose there is a kind of middle road, where you work when young but not to the exclusion of all other things. i guess i was fortunate to discover something i love doing, that afforded me the “room” to goof off a lot and still make a decent living. “software has ben beddy beddy good to me”

John Weidner Friday, 20 April 2007 at 11:25

Old Guy, I think you are close, but not quite there. I propose there is only one road, and our freedom consists only in moving one direction or the other. And the direction towards Truth involves painful choices and commitments, and of course it’s only human for us to have regrets.

But regrets are a kind of “beginners error.”

”…No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 20 April 2007 at 11:53

Mr. Weidner;

I actually wrote this instead of a much longer response to one of your posts which I haven’t had the mental energy to do properly. The essence is that part of the issue you address there and that I comment on derives from the attempt at avoiding regret, the desire to smooth all the rough edges off life. But you can only do that by removing any possibility of making choices, because moral choices always come with regrets. The santimonious blindess you wrote about seems to me to be a mechanism for avoiding regret by trying to live in a starkly defined world of absolute good and absolute bad which yields only obvious, regret free actions (because everything is a “no brainer” for the “good” option). Not well written, but if I could do that I would make it a post.

I don’t think regrets are beginner’s errors, I think they are intrinsic to how reality is structured. If you like two girls, and end up marrying one of them, how could you not have some regrets? Or you are in an emergency and can only save one of two people. What’s the one road there, that leaves no regrets?

John Weidner Friday, 20 April 2007 at 12:43

I think what I meant, but didn’t quite express, was that of course you feel regret, but you need to resolutely put the regret for other girl out of your mind, and focus wholeheartedly on the one you did choose.

You get several kinds of pain along with your decision, and some pains you want to embrace. For instance, the pain of knowing you could suffer loss at any time. But the pain of regret you should just scorn and jettison. (This is just off-the-top-of-my-head armchair philosophizin’, so take it cum grano.)

John Weidner Friday, 20 April 2007 at 15:29

I’m thinking that Leftist hatred of the Iraq Campaign stems, besides all the reasons I’ve blogged, from hatred of the idea of making a commitment, and sticking with it. They are stuck in the repulsive notion of “the tragedy of choice.”

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