“She leaned down and looked at his lifeless face and Leisel kissed her best friend, Rudy Steiner, soft and true on his lips. He tasted dusty and sweet. He tasted like regret in the shadows of trees and in the glow of the anarchist's suit collection. She kissed him long and soft, and when she pulled herself away, she touched his mouth with her fingers...She did not say goodbye. She was incapable, and after a few more minutes at his side, she was able to tear herself from the ground. It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on...” (Markus Zusak, The Book Thief 527)
In the "Book Thief" by Markus Zusak, one of the most compelling and intriguing things that came out of the story, to me, was how Death explains that it is not the dead, but the heartbroken survivors of the dead that it cannot stand to look at. Which just goes to show how regret and even heartbreak, can lead to unprecedented amounts of pain towards one person. Therefore different characters treat such regret in decisive yet diverse ways. Other than the incident with Liesel and Rudy experiencing great amounts of regret/guilt can be seen through Michael Holtzapfel, who actually ends up surviving the Battle of Stalingrad, but is unable to stand his guilt over living when his brother Robert died and ultimately, and he greatly regrets not taking more drastic measures to help Robert,Michael eventually does get overwhelmed and unfortunately, commits suicide. Also for Ilsa Hermann, she becomes reserved and broken, after her only son is killed in 1918, yet Liesel brings her some forms of happiness, and she urges Liesel not to make the same mistake she did by suffering for the rest of her life.
Real world example:https://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz_don_t_regret_regret
Overall, this is a TED talks where Kathryn Schulz, basically discusses on how, if you wanted to be a fully functional person in today's society, it is essential to not live with the burden of regret. One of my favorite parts of her speech was when she discussed the following passage "Things without all remedy should be without regard; what's done is done." And it seems like kind of an admirable philosophy at first — something we might all agree to sign onto ... until I tell you who said it. Right, so this is Lady MacBeth basically telling her husband to stop being such a wuss for feeling bad about murdering people. And as it happens, Shakespeare was onto something here, as he generally was. Because the inability to experience regret is actually one of the diagnostic characteristics of sociopaths. It's also, by the way, a characteristic of certain kinds of brain damage. So people who have damage to their orbital frontal cortex seem to be unable to feel regret in the face of even obviously very poor decisions. So if, in fact, you want to live a life free of regret, there is an option open to you. It's called a lobotomy. But if you want to be fully functional and fully human and fully humane, I think you need to learn to live, not without regret, but with it. So let's start off by defining some terms. What is regret? Regret is the emotion we experience when we think that our present situation could be better or happier if we had done something different in the past. So in other words, regret requires two things. It requires, first of all, agency — we had to make a decision in the first place. And second of all, it requires imagination. We need to be able to imagine going back and making a different choice, and then we need to be able to kind of spool this imaginary record forward and imagine how things would be playing out in our present. And in fact, the more we have of either of these things — the more agency and the more imagination with respect to a given regret, the more acute that regret will be. So let's say for instance that you're on your way to your best friend's wedding and you're trying to get to the airport and you're stuck in terrible traffic, and you finally arrive at your gate and you've missed your flight. You're going to experience more regret in that situation if you missed your flight by three minutes than if you missed it by Why? Well because, if you miss your flight by three minutes, it is painfully easy to imagine that you could have made different decisions that would have led to a better outcome. "I should have taken the bridge and not the tunnel. I should have gone through that yellow light." These are the classic conditions that create regret. We feel regret when we think we are responsible for a decision that came out badly, but almost came out well." This was an excellent point made by Kathryn Schulz, where she basically explains what regret fundamentally is. The quote that stood out to me the most was where she said "Because the inability to experience, regret is actually one of the diagnostic characteristics of sociopaths. It's also, by the way, a characteristic of certain kinds of brain damage. So people who have damage to their orbital frontal cortex seem to be unable to feel regret in the face of even obviously very poor decisions."Which goes to show how strong regret can be towards a person, even in some cases it show just how uniquely mendacious people can be towards addressing their own regret.
One Pager: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mJIt9W5or34BtRJix4qQdyydD0Yv3AylQYPhco8IdhM/edit