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I had always been weary of doing the right thing and then being sorry I did it. Especially when this concerned making sacrifices for the family and then unconsciously holding a grudge against them because I still regretted not getting to do something else, something so vital to my own sense of fulfillment and meaning in life. I didn’t want to have those grudges, and so, my mantra became: no regrets.

Let me develop that. You can regret something that you did, and you can regret something that you did not do. I always opt for regretting things that I do , instead of avoiding potentially wrong choices altogether. Because at least this way, you know how it would have turned out. Regretting not having done something is the most torturous kind of regret, because of all the “could have been”s.

So how has this been working for me? Mixed results. I went to Paris and married a young man that I fell in love with, four months after meeting him. And spent the better part of the next six years regretting it. What was I thinking when I married him? Well, I didn’t want to live with the regret of not having married him; of letting an absolutely unique and talented individual become a stranger when he wanted to weld his life with mine. Did I consider for a moment that we were incompatible, literally unable to function as a single unit? No, I didn’t think about it. See, I was all about no regrets.

Went to graduate school when my kids were 2 years old and 1 year old, pushed through so that I wouldn’t regret not having obtained an education due to the fact that I had young children, and unconsciously hold a grudge against them for life. Do I regret it?

Maybe.

And then there is the vending machine predicament. I stare at the variety of death treats, wondering, if I get a reeses, will I sit there eating it wishing I had gotten cheetos instead? Listening to my inner gut, I try to discern what it wants. My mind says, stick with the peanuts. But I don’t want to regret not having gotten the Snickers…Ultimately I end up regreting whatever I get, and when I get nothing…well that never happens because that would be the cardinal sin totally negating my mantra.

The same happens at night. I get ready for bed but then my husband invites me to a game of chess. Can I say no? But then I will never know how the game could have turned out. And sleeping is always so predictable…

But wait.

I know this. Peeling out of the covers before the crack of dawn, hurridly taping my drooping eyelids to my forehead, really far back for that EXTRA bushy-tailed look, peering in the bathroom mirror only quick enough to say, “Oh boy…”, I know exactly how each late-night game of chess turns out. And the mystery snack options all yield the same yucky aftertaste, and the what if’s get more and more predictable.

Still, I vote for no regrets. Now though it comes not as a result of my action or inaction, but as a natural consequence of the decision I make, when I have the strength of spirit, to not regret things.

It’s that simple.

I created a “Postulates” category because I believe that most every person on Earth has a set of postulates that they base their world view on. According to this article, a postulate is a “proposition that is not proved or demonstrated but considered to be either self-evident, or subject to necessary decision. Therefore, its truth is taken for granted, and serves as a starting point for deducing and inferring other (theory dependent) truths.”

Great definition. Even the most pragmatic and “rational” among us hold several postulates near and dear, although they may be unwilling to acknowledge that at the very core of their rationalized world view lies something that is not proved, is subject to necessary decision, and whose truth is taken for granted. Recall that the term “postulate” in its traditional use was and continues to be used in mathematics and logic (and nothing can be more logical than logic, right?). At the very heart of the geometry that engineers and architects use every day to build real, complex, and sustainable structures lies the belief that, say, “A straight line may be drawn from any given point to any other” (Postulate #1 of Euclidean Geometry).

Here you can read all about the other postulates...


A similar paradox lies at the heart of even the most robust system of understanding and viewing the world to date: the system of scientific inquiry based on reason and observation.

What are the postulates of the scientific-minded thinker?
1. The scientific inquiry approach will work every time.
2. Nature is not random – it works according to discoverable laws and patterns.
3. There are answers to be found.

My father, a hard-core scientist, has openly admitted that behind his ardent, ferocious research and inquiry into the way nature works (he is a biochemist) lies the conviction (ie. stong belief) that there are patterns in nature, there are answers to his questions, and he is using the best tool to get to them. These are beliefs because they have not been proven conclusively. Note: for a postulate to become a law, it has to be proven for all cases, no exceptions. That’s why even in science, most of the “laws” people take for granted are actually termed “hypotheses”.

So there goes the whole “reason vs. faith” confrontation. It’s more like “concealed faith vs. open, self-confessed faith”.

Faith is fundamental to the human experience. So, returning to my initial point, I started a Postulates category to create a special place for entries on my own postulates, and on the postulates of others: the backbone of my system of beliefs, and of yours.

Image credits: Clay Mathematics Institute, http://www.claymath.org/library/historical/euclid/images/euclid_3_31.jpg

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