I regret nothing
There are a few parts of my brain that are missing. I know this not because I used to have them, because I didn’t, but because of how other people refer to their own feelings and thoughts, which I simply can’t relate to or sometimes even decipher.
One of them is the part of the brain that enjoys art. I already explained how I don’t like or understand paintings. I just don’t get why people look at art. The closest I can get to enjoying art is photography, and then usually I only like naked photos. But at that point I don’t think it’s liking it for the artistic part exactly.
Here’s another confession. I don’t have a regret center in my brain. I am someone who regrets nothing. I mean, every now and then I certainly realize I made a mistake, and I do experience an “oh shit!” feeling that I made that mistake. Like, I’ll get in the wrong line at a check-out counter and the other line will go faster (“oh shit!”). But that doesn’t seem to compare with other people’s concept of regret.
Here’s how I argue that nobody should experience regret. Let’s assume you a regret decision you’ve made, that you later believe you should have made differently. But when you’re faced with a choice, there are things you can control and things you can’t. There are things you know and things you don’t. There are consequences that you can measure and those you can’t. You do the best you can with the information you have when you make your decision. Then it’s done. What’s to regret? If you went back to that place and that time, knowing what you knew then, and being that person you were then, you’d do the same thing. It’s kind of a tautology, but it’s convincing to me.
Maybe you are mourning for not being a person who could have made a different, better choice? Even so, (I’d suggest), don’t be regretful about that, but rather try now to become someone who would make the right decision next time.
What is the utility of a regret? Does it help us do better next time? I’m all for learning from mistakes, but I don’t see why it should be such a negative process. Maybe I learn more slowly from my mistakes because I don’t have regretful feelings.
On the other hand, from my observation of this alien emotion, I’d argue that the fear of having future regrets is more of a problem than the possible mistakes people actually make. That fear seems pretty unpleasant and it seems to cloud people’s decisions: they end up experimenting less and taking fewer risks.
Am I missing something? Since I can’t understand regretting, I probable am, so please explain it to me.