Regret

June 9, 2014

495cb3e60a8a4a8fabb58191d95c3ac2Clear and beautiful this way-too-early Monday on California’s north coast as the weekend is now history and we have to face the musical notes of a work week.
Light is faint in the rising dawn, and hard to imagine in all this quiet and calm that miles and miles and miles to the far east, New York City is alive with sound and action — sure-as-shit glad I ain’t there.

As a species, we’re not too high above the ground: What’s more, “just like humans,” says Redish, the rats were more likely to take a “bad deal” — or wait longer than they normally would for their next piece of food — after a regretful decision. The rats would also hastily consume food that stemmed from a bad choice, spending only about five seconds with the treat.

(Illustration: Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Old Man in Sorrow (On the Threshold of Eternity)‘ found here).

Are we better that rats in a maze?
The above stems from research at the University of Minneapolis on how rats handle regret — rats are like humans, in that we (and rats) don’t like regretting shit and try and make amends — works sometimes, sometimes not:

When a rat passed up food at one spoke and moved on to the next, then realized it would have to wait even longer for food at the second spoke, two things happened: It would look back to the previous spoke, and the specific nerve-cell pattern in its brain that represented that first choice would light up.
“That’s the regret,” says Redish. Not only were the rats physically looking backward; they were also thinking about the choice they hadn’t made.

The one thing I really regret, though, there’s absolutely nothing I can do about — I regret it’s not still Friday afternoon.
As I get older and can see my life, and my past, I don’t really have major regrets. There’s really some dumb-ass shit I’ve done over the years, but overall, no regrets — a lot of shame and embarrassment, though.
My favorite poet, Emily Dickinson, already ran that course — ‘I measure every Grief I meet” and keep going:

I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, eyes –
I wonder if It weighs like Mine –
Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long –
Or did it just begin –
I could not tell the Date of Mine –
It feels so old a pain –

I wonder if it hurts to live –
And if They have to try –
And whether – could They choose between –
It would not be – to die –

I note that Some – gone patient long –
At length, renew their smile –
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil –

I wonder if when Years have piled –
Some Thousands – on the Harm –
That hurt them early – such a lapse
Could give them any Balm –

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve –
Enlightened to a larger Pain –
In Contrast with the Love –

The Grieved – are many – I am told –
There is the various Cause –
Death – is but one – and comes but once –
And only nails the eyes –

There’s Grief of Want – and grief of Cold –
A sort they call “Despair” –
There’s Banishment from native Eyes –
In sight of Native Air –

And though I may not guess the kind –
Correctly – yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary –

To note the fashions – of the Cross –
And how they’re mostly worn –
Still fascinated to presume
That Some – are like my own –

As she’d said a long time ago, I’ve been “enlightened to a larger pain,” and really have no regrets getting there.
Hello, Monday…

(Illustration out front found here).

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