As people, we are an amalgam of biology and experience.
Biology is directly deterministic. Experience is not.
The possession of a particular set of data and the interaction of this set of data with a person’s biology is what will shape their personality, cognitive ability, tastes, choices, and everything that defines them as an individual.
What experiences do is insert data into the system that is us.
The person we are is a consequence of the experiences to which our biological entity has been exposed.
So the person we are after a (striking? special?) experience is different from the person who initiated the action, who was on the receiving end of that experience.
This is why it makes no sense to feel regret for the mistakes of the past.
Learn from them, yes. That’s an imperative. It is a tragedy when we don’t learn from the past. But to feel regret over what was done?
What is the point of regretting something that was done by someone else?
Photo Credit: nimishgogri Flickr via Compfight cc
What follows is a quote that I underlined recently, and has been in my head – to ponder over the weekend.
”Trust in God – but tie your camel first.” – Sayings of the Prophet, “Caravan of Dreams,” by Idries Shah
A life of fear and anxiety is not worth living. Most of the misfortunes that plague us – as Mark Twain once wrote – never happen. Facing life with a belief that everything will work out for the best may not always be the most realistic attitude, but the alternative is to suffer for things that have not yet happened.
And yet, it is true that luck is something that happens to those who put themselves in a position to receive it. No one ever won the lottery without playing. What appears to be an overnight success to people looking from outside has a life of failed attempts behind it. And those who sleep with unlocked doors will find their homes burgled much more easily than those who lock doors and windows…
We all serve at the mercy of the Lady Fortune. But we can always choose how we play the cards that we have been dealt.
Painting: “The Caravan” by Alexandre Gabriel Decamps
The power failed at dinnertime. It was a bit unnerving at first – especially as I was trying to handle everything while a cat was meowing for food. For Peach, absence of electricity is no justification a late meal.
But then I came to that state where I have the good fortune of usually arrive when the power fails. It’s a state where the stresses of the unexpected dissipate, and the balm of possibility arrives – the possibility of a relaxing dinner by candlelight, of quietly reading a book, playing a game on a portable system (props to the battery quality of Nintendo consoles, which remain charged after months without use).
I was grateful to get the power back, of course – there are essays to write, after all. And there is no joy in having the freezer start leaking.
But a temporary interruption does not have to turn into a crisis.
It can even be an opportunity to relax.
Painting: “The Vigilia di San Pietro” by Canaletto.