(Or, what happens when Bio majors dabble in philosophy.)
I only plan to live maybe fifty more years (that’d make me nearly 100 and that’s long enough for anybody) but I often wonder if, outside scientific discoveries, I will ever see anything new. The more I’m out in the world and enjoying my freedom, the more sameness I see. Pretty jaded for an optimist, but that’s how it looks right now. It’s almost enough to make a person accept that Sam Harris, et al, are right and there is no such thing as free will.
I can see the pull for the idea. I was a Calvinist for over a decade, after all. It’s nice to have a justification for why we f*cked things up. And I straddle the fence between “I should have known better” and “I was caught up in circumstances beyond my control.” Looking back it is difficult to see how I could have made any other choice considering the information I’d been given. But how culpable am I now with hindsight as my lens?
It’s the shitty side of being a parent: The regret, the questioning, the self-doubt. A million things…no…more than that I would’ve done differently. And if I’d known then what I know now….
“Regret is unprofessional,” M quips to Bond at the end of Quantum if Solace, and I want to make it my ‘life verse.’ The gospel of life according to M. It should be a thing. But I’d probably just fixate on her words I’m more inclined to repeat, “I f*cked this up, didn’t I?”
It’s a line I suppose anyone with a conscience has to straddle. We all f*ck up, and on a far more regular basis than we can deal with. I guess that’s why M adopted her motto. It helps to go on if you don’t get hung up on regret. Regret will drain you of your future. It will keep you from the changes you need to make. It will, oddly enough, get you to make the same mistakes over and over.
So what do we do? We are (most of us) human and we are prone to mistakes and selfishness and doing things that hurt others. How do we deal?
I suppose that is probably still my question. I haven’t arrived. I just do what everyone else does, push it aside as best I can and try for a better response next time.
Maybe in a hundred years someone will figure it out.
That’d be new.
But it’d be too late for me to see it.