December 21, 2006

Sorry

There was a time, when I was young, when I was probably the rudest being the almighty ever created. I did not give elders the respect they were entitled to, I was too young to gauge if they actually deserved it. If one has ever conversed in a language that was Indian - Hindi, Tamil or any other regional language, I guess one will understand what I mean. There is a way of addressing the people that are in the same age group and those donkey years older than you are. I used the kind of language one uses to address and fight with ones siblings on everybody. This is when a cousin of mine, god bless his heart, taught me one does not do that and the nuances of the language. The reason I bring this up is this is when I began using the word “sorry”.

Over the last few days, a series of events occurred that has made me question the very use of the word. Again, the events do not matter, as do the questions that arose in my head. This is another effort to convert those useless things called random musings to valid arguments.

The main question is does on really control what they are doing? The answer to that, according to me is yes, they do. Everything one does is a choice. Taking into consideration all other possible avenues possible, the result of each one and weighing them also known as cost – benefit analysis in management parlance, one takes the decision. Post this one implements the decision. This means following a particular path is a result of a conscious decision.

Since one has control over every event, not the result, one had the choice not to do it, but chose to do so; does one need to be sorry the result was different compared to the one he/she expected when he/she chose to walk down that path?

This is where I am not able to conclude. There are two arguments I have and both seem to be equally sane. I will try to elucidate them both. Maybe someone out there can provide assistance.

Each decision one takes can be of two types - one that affects others and one that affects only the decision maker. This is the main assumption I am running with.

In the former case, where the decision I take affects others, I guess I have a responsibility to make sure the things I do, do not affect the other person in a detrimental manner, and even though this mainly contradicts the fact one man’s gain is another man’s loss. To take this further, I guess, only the people that matter to me should not to have a negative return from my actions. Does this mean I can do things I like when the other person is a complete stranger? Well, I am not sure. This is where the society steps in to say there is a limit to what I can do when it affects someone in a negative manner. What this means is, I can inflict pain to an unknown stranger to a certain extent, I can earn his money off him, which is really saying I can rob him of his money without me realizing I have done that, I can cause him emotional stress hopefully unknowingly, but I cannot do all this knowingly.

Does this mean I can do this if I do not care? If I give two hoots about what happens to others, can I carry on indulging myself and not bothering about what happens to others? Can I be selfish regarding my happiness and not give a damn about what it does to others?

When it comes to things that affects no one else, is there such a thing? Is not the “Butterfly Effect” that says, a butterfly flapping its wings at the equator can set off a chain of events that can lead to a tsunami in Japan? Is it not true no man is an island and he/she cannot exist in a vacuum, in a cocoon, alone and without a connection in the world? Is he/she not a social animal?

I have used two main influences in this thought. One is objectivism of Ayn Rand, the thought “no act in this world is selfless”; one that says, “There is a selfish reason behind everything one does”. The other line of thought is the one proposed by John Nash of the “A Beautiful Mind”, “The best result will happen for a group of people when the people think and do the things that are best for themselves and the group as a whole”.

I really seemed to have rambled on about everything but the topic. The question I am asking is “If everything I do is the result of a conscious decision, a choice, can I ever be sorry? By being sorry, am I not belittling myself? Is not a way of saying I was stupid when I made the choice? Is not saying I am sorry for taking the path I chose and I regret what I did? Is regretting something the worst thing to do?

If I never regret what I have done, if I am at peace with what I have done and what it has led to, no matter what the outcome, do I have to be sorry?

Does not being sorry, make me a worse man than I am? These questions were some I asked to my own self and the answers I got were amazing. I have not felt sorry when the effect was on some one I did not care for. When it was in some one I cared about, I was not sorry for the effect on the person, I was sorry because the person telling me I had let them down made me feel bad. When I felt bad because of something I did, I felt sorry. This sorry was not for the target that felt bad, but to me. In the end, I was sorry I let some one mean so much that hurting them hurt me.

3 comments:

Lazy Lavender said...

Since one has control over every event, not the result, one had the choice not to do it, but chose to do so; does one need to be sorry the result was different compared to the one he/she expected when he/she chose to walk down that path? - I guess people do feel.say sorry when the outcome/result was unexpected,or rather, the reverse of what they'd expected.

When it was in some one I cared about, I was not sorry for the effect on the person, I was sorry because the person telling me I had let them down made me feel bad. When I felt bad because of something I did, I felt sorry. This sorry was not for the target that felt bad, but to me. - Good one!!

In the end, I was sorry I let some one mean so much that hurting them hurt me. - Applause to you, and a right good slap to those who think they mean something to you. Hope they don't read it. Nothing personal!

Akila said...

an awesome post.. and if one doesnot at any point of time in life regret/feel sorry for a choice made... then i guess that person is God.

Keep it coming. You have an absolutely wonderful way or narrating things :)

Rajaraman said...

sorry is a feeling when one genuinely repents for his hurting some one intentionally or otherwise. it mus come within. if some one is made to say sorry it is is more a political settlemnt and is temperory. it may ease the trension but not clear the bitterness