Monday, January 09, 2006


Via Pajamas Media, I read this humorous piece by Aaron Swartz on turning off emotions.

I would like to figure out a way to turn off regret and guilt. A personal tic I have is thinking of stupid things I did as long as 20 years ago. I cringe and kick myself. These things are WAY over. There’s nothing I can do about them. The lesson is learned. Why does the regret linger?

As Nietzsche said, “Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders.”

I have to make clear in my psychology that man is not omniscient. And life if a process of gaining knowledge. I would be a sad case indeed if I didn't know more now than I knew 20 years ago.

I'll probably regret this post tomorrow.


Mike N said...

Yes. But mistakes are not something that should be considered undesirable or unwanted. Because we have free will and must choose our thoughts and the actions based on those thoughts, the identification of a thought or action as a mistake means that an error has been identified and corrected. This is a good thing.

Myrhaf said...

That is a good way of looking at it!

Billy Beck said...

Christopher Hitchens once drew a very fine distinction between "regret" and "remorse": he concluded that the latter is for people with whom one slept, while the latter is for those with whom one did not.

Extended more generally to the whole field of mistakes, it doesn't blot either one out of mind, but it's an interesting way to help manage them.

Billy Beck said...

"...the former is for those with whom one did not."

Rats. Now I am filled with regret over not hitting the preview.