Regret – wikiquote electricity experiments

• I do not regret my youth and its beliefs. Up to now, I have wasted my time to live. Youth is the true force, but it is too rarely lucid. Sometimes it has a triumphant liking for what is now, and the pugnacious broadside of paradox may please it. But there is a degree in innovation which they who have not lived very much cannot attain. And yet who knows if the stern greatness of present events will not have educated and aged the generation which to-day forms humanity’s effective frontier? Whatever our hope may be, if we did not place it in youth, where should we place it?

• There is nothing between the paradise dreamed of and the paradise lost. There is nothing, since we always want what we have not got. We hope, and then we regret. We hope for the future, and then we turn to the past, and then we begin slowly and desperately to hope for the past! The two most violent and abiding feelings, hope and regret, both lean upon nothing. To ask, to ask, to have not! Humanity is exactly the same thing as poverty. Happiness has not the time to live; we have not really the time to profit by what we are. Happiness, that thing which never is — and which yet, for one day, is no longer!

• Listen widely to remove your doubts and be careful when speaking about the rest and your mistakes will be few. See much and get rid of what is dangerous and be careful in acting on the rest and your causes for regret will be few. Speaking without fault, acting without causing regret: ‘upgrading’ consists in this.

• I feel like those words are going to be engraved on my tombstone. It was brought up every single time I did an interview. I apologized for it; I acknowledged it; I said it was true; I said it was a joke. Do I regret it? I used to regret. Not anymore. I don’t regret anything anymore. Would I hope that I would never say something like that ever again? Yes. Am I capable of saying something like that again? I hope not.

• We must know, as much as possible, in our beautiful art…what we are talking about — and the only way to know is to have lived and loved and cursed and floundered and enjoyed and suffered. I think I don’t regret a single "excess" of my responsive youth — I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn’t embrace.

• Over every human being’s journey through life there watches a providence who provides everyone two guides: the one calls forward, the other calls back. Yet they do not contradict each other, the two guides, not do they let the traveler stand there irresolute, confused by the double call; on the contrary, the two have an eternal understanding with each other, for the one calls forward to the good, the other calls back from the evil. Nor are they blind guides-this is precisely why they are two, because in order to safeguard the journey there must be a looking ahead and a looking back. Alas, perhaps there was many a one who went astray by mistakenly continuing a good beginning, since the continuation was on a wrong rod, by unremittingly pressing forward-so that regret could not lead him back to the old road. Perhaps there was someone who went astray in the prostration of the repentance that does not move from the spot-so the guide could not help him to find the road forward. When a long procession is to start, there is first a call from the person who is in the lead, but everyone waits until the last one has answered. The two guides call to a person early and late, and if he pays attention to their calls, he finds the road and he can know where he is on the road, because these two calls determine the place and indicate the road, the call of regret perhaps the better, since the casual traveler who goes down the road quickly does not get to know it as does the traveler with his burden. The one who is only striving does not get to know the road as well as the one who regrets; the former hurries ahead to something new-perhaps also away from the experience; but the one who regrets comes along afterward, laboriously gathers up the experience. The two guides call to a person early and late-and yet to so, for when regret calls to a person it is always late. The call to find the road again by seeking God in the confession of sins is always at the eleventh hour.

• I have made it a rule of my life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy, and no one who intends to become a writer can afford to indulge in it. You can’t get it into shape; you can’t build on it; it’s only good for wallowing in.

• Men, be kind to your fellow-men; this is your first duty, kind to every age and station, kind to all that is not foreign to humanity. What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? Love childhood, indulge its sports, its pleasures, its delightful instincts. Who has not sometimes regretted that age when laughter was ever on the lips, and when the heart was ever at peace? Why rob these innocents of the joys which pass so quickly, of that precious gift which they cannot abuse? Why fill with bitterness the fleeting days of early childhood, days which will no more return for them than for you? Fathers, can you tell when death will call your children to him? Do not lay up sorrow for yourselves by robbing them of the short span which nature has allotted to them. As soon as they are aware of the joy of life, let them rejoice in it, go that whenever God calls them they may not die without having tasted the joy of life.

• What is the price-current of an honest man and patriot to-day? They hesitate, and they regret, and sometimes they petition; but they do nothing in earnest and with effect. They will wait, well disposed, for others to remedy the evil, that they may no longer have it to regret. At most, they give only a cheap vote, and a feeble countenance and Godspeed, to the right, as it goes by them.

• It occurred to him that what had appeared perfectly impossible before, namely that he had not spent his life as he should have done, might after all be true. It occurred to him that his scarcely perceptible attempts to struggle against what was considered good by the most highly placed people, those scarcely noticeable impulses which he had immediately suppressed, might have been the real thing, and all the rest false. And his professional duties and the whole arrangement of his life and of his family, and all his social and official interests, might all have been false. He tried to defend all those things to himself and suddenly felt the weakness of what he was defending.