Tag Archives: The Future

Regrets

I was reading the comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal recently and came upon his comic about changing past accidents

The thing is, I actually believe “my mistakes brought me here.” This is similar to what the man in the comic says, but subtly different. The author of the comic seems to imply that people who wouldn’t change their mistakes think that mistakes are by definition good things. I would put it more like “mistakes are inevitable.” The punchline of the comic is that the man wants to change a time when he “asked out a girl through the Taco Bell drive-thru.” It’s a funny joke, but I have to say that it seems to me that if he was the type of person who thought that was a good idea, just because he didn’t do it that time he very well might do it another time. Theoretically it would be better if we learned some other way than through mistakes, but sometimes we’re just kind of dumb and have to learn that way. Sure, if we had a genie things would be better, but in the real world that’s not an option.

Besides, I think he’s making an error saying that any changes made to the past would have a trivial impact on the future. Consider the butterfly effect, small changes have the potential to build up over a long enough period. Changing an event one week ago might not have a big impact, but changing an event 10 years ago could have a huge cumulative impact.
Besides, changing the past might have a positive impact on who we are, but it would definitely change who we are around. I might wish I was a different, better person, and I’m working towards that, but if my dumb mistakes in the past brought me into contact with the people I know and love now I wouldn’t change them. Some of my deepest bonds have been built around stupid decisions I made that my friends helped me recover from.
Still, thinking back I wonder what I regret the most. I honestly would say that it isn’t the big dumb mistakes I made, it’s the little compromises I made. If I had spent more time living instead of watching from the side lines, a little more time creating than consuming, or a little more time exercising instead of sitting around I really wonder how much better my life might be right now. It’s with that in mind that I write this blog, knowing that I can’t change the past and not regretting it because I still have a life I enjoy. 
Mistakes don’t necessarily make life better, but they’re a part of life and in the interest of positivity we should look for the goods that have come out of our falls. Sure we could theoretically be living a “perfect life,” but most of the time we spend thinking about such things is completely wasted when we could be living the life that we do have. Spending a moment to think about our regrets in the interest of learning from them isn’t a bad idea, but we should move on as soon as possible in the interest of actually living in the present rather than in the past.

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Late Night Thoughts

It wasn’t too long ago that almost everyone constantly wandered around looking at the natural world. They’d see the fields, the mountains, the seas and the stars and say “look at the glory of God reflected in His handiwork!”

Walking around the city at night I’m not surprised that the world seems more and more godless, all I see around is the glory of man. The glowing lights, the roaming masses of metal, the towering masses of concrete, rebar and steel that put the tower of Babel to shame. I see how we’ve taken a wild world and seemingly tamed her.

But then I look down the alley ways and I see the trash piled high. I see the piles of plastic that for billions of years this world never knew, the stacks of paper that at almost any other point in history would have been trees, and the old electronics that were so recently top of the line but are now worthless. I think of the billions of people across the world, producing, expanding and consuming.

I can’t help but wonder how much this planet can sustain. I think of the old myths, warning man of the fruits of knowledge, the invention of fire and of flying too close to the sun. We’ve built towers so high that they must stand out like a middle finger aimed right at any God who created us as part of this Earth. This isn’t the earth we found when we stepped out of the trees onto the plains of Africa many millennia ago.

Please don’t take me for a luddite, I love all this as much as anything. I simply wonder how long all this can continue on. We ride a great wave onward and upward, one that has been building since before recorded history, but all waves crest. I look at the pigeons the rats and the roaches, living like we once did, treating all our glorious constructions like rock formations or forests. I wonder if someday we won’t live like that again, in the ruins of a civilization that flew too close to the sun, thinking it inviting up until the very moment it slapped them down.

It’s not like I’m doing anything to stop this. As far as I’m concerned I look around and all I see is humans acting according to our nature, and I have no faith that will ever or could ever change. I’m just along for the ride, riding this wave as far as it will take me. But just as it’s human nature to build it’s human nature to wonder. So on a night like tonight, wandering the streets and taking in this world I was born into I can’t help but wonder how long it will last.

How long we’ll last.

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