TDB&TB Question #6 - More on Mithra

by Jean-Dominique Bauby

Moderator: Liz

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

TDB&TB Question #6 - More on Mithra

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 10, 2008 11:44 am

Pg. 94: “Frankly, I had forgotten Mithra-Grandchamp. The memory of that event has only just come back to me, now doubly painful: regret for a vanished past and, above all, remorse for lost opportunities. Mithra-Grandchamp is the women we were unable to love, the chances we failed to seize, the moments of happiness we allowed to drift away. Today it seems to me that my whole life was nothing but a string of those small near misses: a race whose result we know beforehand but in which we fail to bet on the winner. By the way, we managed to pay back all our colleagues.”

Do you really think that he felt he had missed opportunities? Do you think he was disappointed with the life he had lived so far? Do you think that is just natural, no matter what one has done with one’s life? But it’s still not enough or not satisfying enough? Are there always regrets?
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 28311
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Offline

Unread postby nebraska » Sat May 10, 2008 12:39 pm

I think it is natural for anyone to have regrets, to wish that somehow there had been more or better of whatever we have done. 20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Most of us think we have plenty of time to do things, we put off dreams because of daily work and responsibility, we settle for less than we might want and make bargains and tradeoffs because for the most part, it is necessary to get along in life. But in the back of our minds I think there is hope that "someday......"

There were specific things that Jean-Do mentions he wishes he had done different, but I am sure there was a general sense of regret, too. He could have reasonably expected to have many more years to live a "normal" life. He thought he had plenty of time. How could he have known he would be locked in at such a young age?

User avatar
fansmom
Posts: 2059
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 4:50 pm
Location: Olney, Maryland

Status: Offline

Unread postby fansmom » Sat May 10, 2008 12:50 pm

Well, being French, Jean-Do had to know this: http://www.frmusique.ru/texts/p/piaf_edith/noregrets.htm
So, is Piaf's defiance (or anyone's) sheer denial? There will always be regrets? As fallible humans, there should be regrets? ("Oprah made me jump on her couch!")

I find his "women we were unable to love" comment interesting, too, considering what we know about his girlfriend, the mother of his children, Josephine-of-Lourdes, etc. Did he feel that he didn't love them? That he didn't love them enough? That he didn't love them as they loved him?

And what about those "moments of happiness we allowed to drift away"? If we dissect those moments on the spot ("Ooh, I'm happy now!") aren't we acknowledging that in the future we will be less happy? Doesn't that immediately negate our happiness? (Gustave Flaubert wrote, "To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.")

Sorry, the whole book left me with more questions than answers.

User avatar
Parlez
Posts: 2503
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:30 am
Location: Colorado

Status: Offline

Unread postby Parlez » Sat May 10, 2008 2:25 pm

fansmom wrote:

And what about those "moments of happiness we allowed to drift away"? If we dissect those moments on the spot ("Ooh, I'm happy now!") aren't we acknowledging that in the future we will be less happy? Doesn't that immediately negate our happiness? (Gustave Flaubert wrote, "To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.")

Sorry, the whole book left me with more questions than answers.


This reminds me of an interview with Bob Dylan back in the 60's when he was asked if he was happy...he looked directly at the interviewer, with those piercing blue eyes, and said, 'Happy? Why would I want to be happy?' :rotflmao:

I suppose if there was ever a guy who was into negating his own happiness it was/is Dylan, but the point is well taken. The amount of time and effort we put into the pursuit of happiness, and the fleeting quality of it when we do manage to assess it properly and feel it, makes the whole thing seem ultimately doomed to failure.

Ergo, the question arises: if happiness feels so ethereal, how come feelings like sorrow and despair and regret feel so permanent? As feelings go, are they not as fleeting as happiness? For some reason we tend to grab and hold onto the negative stuff and let those feelings take us over/down, and yet we easily let go of the good stuff as if it doesn't merit more than a whisper of our attention. People claim they have to 'deal with' depression, like it's a permanent state of being; but nobody says the same about happiness.

Okay, now I'm beginning to sound like Tom Cruise!!! :fear:
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa
savvy avi by mamabear

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 10, 2008 4:03 pm

Parlez wrote:
fansmom wrote:

And what about those "moments of happiness we allowed to drift away"? If we dissect those moments on the spot ("Ooh, I'm happy now!") aren't we acknowledging that in the future we will be less happy? Doesn't that immediately negate our happiness? (Gustave Flaubert wrote, "To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.")

Sorry, the whole book left me with more questions than answers.


This reminds me of an interview with Bob Dylan back in the 60's when he was asked if he was happy...he looked directly at the interviewer, with those piercing blue eyes, and said, 'Happy? Why would I want to be happy?' :rotflmao:

I suppose if there was ever a guy who was into negating his own happiness it was/is Dylan, but the point is well taken. The amount of time and effort we put into the pursuit of happiness, and the fleeting quality of it when we do manage to assess it properly and feel it, makes the whole thing seem ultimately doomed to failure.

Ergo, the question arises: if happiness feels so ethereal, how come feelings like sorrow and despair and regret feel so permanent? As feelings go, are they not as fleeting as happiness? For some reason we tend to grab and hold onto the negative stuff and let those feelings take us over/down, and yet we easily let go of the good stuff as if it doesn't merit more than a whisper of our attention. People claim they have to 'deal with' depression, like it's a permanent state of being; but nobody says the same about happiness.

Okay, now I'm beginning to sound like Tom Cruise!!! :fear:

Could it be that we are never happy?.....that we are never satisfied?.....that we always want more?......or different? Maybe it is just human nature. Or is it that there will never be as many happy moments as unhappy or neutral ones because that is the human condition? Or is that just our attitude towards it?

I, as Fansmom, have ended up with more questions than answers.

Fansmom, do you know at what point in Edith Piaf's life she wrote that song? I wonder if that was prior to the death of the love of her life.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat May 10, 2008 5:25 pm

Does this go back to the glass half full or half empty philosophy? Who said, "You will be just about as happy as you make up your mind to be"? I would think it impossible to live a life without regrets and it wouldn't be human not to wonder what if? Has anyone seen the movie Sliding Doors? I think for every missed opportunity there is another one taken. Maybe all choices don't turn out the way we had hoped but who is to say it didn't turn out the way it was supposed to? I would think though in a situation where you are facing the end of your life, or the end of your life as you knew it, those regrets and missed opportunities might seem more overwhelming. Still...being the Pollyanna that I am...I would hope I would be able to look back and remember more good and happiness than regrets and misfortune. I'm not ready to find out though!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

User avatar
gemini
Posts: 3907
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Status: Offline

Unread postby gemini » Sat May 10, 2008 6:09 pm

Today it seems to me that my whole life was nothing but a string of those small near misses.

I think he certainly felt he had regrets. He was in the middle of some major life changes, leaving one love for another and probably at the stage in his life where his career was paying off. He found that his life would include none of the changes he was planning. Certainly regrettable. There would certainly be regret in not being there to be with his kids (not counting limited visits) Yes, I think everyone has regrets and he had more reason than most because he lost so many years. The regrets can be more for what you didn't get to than what you have already done.
Last edited by gemini on Sat May 10, 2008 6:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

User avatar
Betty Sue
Posts: 1430
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:37 pm

Status: Offline

Unread postby Betty Sue » Sat May 10, 2008 6:26 pm

He sounds to me like he's just in the throes of self-pity (certainly understandable under the circumstances! :-O ) triggered by thinking of the horse race debacle. He packed a lot of great living and accomplishments into his years on earth, and I think he would be willing to concede this at a time he was thinking more rationally, more positively. I agree that most people would have a few regrets, possibly very minor, and Jean-Do would be no different, but I can't imagine him really believing he was disappointed with the life he had lived so far. It seems people very often say they have no regrets, even when their lives have been rough or they've made terrible mistakes, because they feel the problems brought them to where they are now, a good place. However, where Jean-Do's life had brought him was pretty painful. I think what he most regretted was that his life was "a race whose result" he knew "beforehand." :-/ He had plenty of regrets about his future!
"I never wanted to be remembered for being a star."

User avatar
fansmom
Posts: 2059
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 4:50 pm
Location: Olney, Maryland

Status: Offline

Unread postby fansmom » Sat May 10, 2008 6:55 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote: Has anyone seen the movie Sliding Doors?
Yes, and I liked it very much. Good comparison, too, DITHOT!

User avatar
Parlez
Posts: 2503
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:30 am
Location: Colorado

Status: Offline

Unread postby Parlez » Sat May 10, 2008 7:22 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Does this go back to the glass half full or half empty philosophy?

I've always had a problem with the cup-half-empty-cup-half-full analogy. It always makes me just want a new cup. I mean, if everything is looked at by half measures there's no possibililty for said cup ever being completely empty, but there's no possibility for it ever being completely full either. Instead there's only the possibility for working the margins, in which case it really doesn't matter how the cup is viewed; it's not going to be slake our thirst.

If I woke up in Jean-Do's shoes I would definitely see the cup as being completely empty. Bottoming out like that would be horrible, unthinkable, inexpressibly tragic and sad. And it would also offer the possibility of rising all the way to the top, as it were, which is what I think Jean-Do eventually did.
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa

savvy avi by mamabear

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 10, 2008 7:41 pm

Betty Sue wrote:He sounds to me like he's just in the throes of self-pity (certainly understandable under the circumstances! :-O ) triggered by thinking of the horse race debacle. He packed a lot of great living and accomplishments into his years on earth, and I think he would be willing to concede this at a time he was thinking more rationally, more positively. I agree that most people would have a few regrets, possibly very minor, and Jean-Do would be no different, but I can't imagine him really believing he was disappointed with the life he had lived so far. It seems people very often say they have no regrets, even when their lives have been rough or they've made terrible mistakes, because they feel the problems brought them to where they are now, a good place. However, where Jean-Do's life had brought him was pretty painful. I think what he most regretted was that his life was "a race whose result" he knew "beforehand." :-/ He had plenty of regrets about his future!


Self pity for sure. I would be in the throes of it too, if I were him. I think you and Gemini are right about him regretting what he had not done. I know that is how I would look at it. We don’t know for sure what his regrets might have been. He chose not to clue us in to them, which was probably appropriate. So we are left to speculate. Maybe the woman he was unable to love was the new woman in his life. He may have had lots of hope for a wonderful future for the two of them. And his vision of their life together was cut short.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 10, 2008 7:48 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote: Maybe all choices don't turn out the way we had hoped but who is to say it didn't turn out the way it was supposed to?

I'm always a sucker for that explanation. Of course, that is always in retrospect, when life is happy again. And I've never been faced with anything as tragic as Jean-Do's predicament.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 10, 2008 7:50 pm

Parlez wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Does this go back to the glass half full or half empty philosophy?

I've always had a problem with the cup-half-empty-cup-half-full analogy. It always makes me just want a new cup. I mean, if everything is looked at by half measures there's no possibililty for said cup ever being completely empty, but there's no possibility for it ever being completely full either. Instead there's only the possibility for working the margins, in which case it really doesn't matter how the cup is viewed; it's not going to be slake our thirst.

Well there is some food for thought for the rest of my day. :-)
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat May 10, 2008 8:40 pm

Liz wrote:
Parlez wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Does this go back to the glass half full or half empty philosophy?

I've always had a problem with the cup-half-empty-cup-half-full analogy. It always makes me just want a new cup. I mean, if everything is looked at by half measures there's no possibililty for said cup ever being completely empty, but there's no possibility for it ever being completely full either. Instead there's only the possibility for working the margins, in which case it really doesn't matter how the cup is viewed; it's not going to be slake our thirst.

Well there is some food for thought for the rest of my day. :-)


Interesting, Parlez. I have always had a different take on it. I've always seen the cup as filling all the way or emptying all the way not staying half full or empty, that just being a snapshot in time, waiting for you to finish the process. In other words I guess I've seen it as potential for either depending on your point of view of said cup.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 28311
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Offline

Unread postby nebraska » Sat May 10, 2008 8:44 pm

What kind of life would it be if a person was to say "I am completely happy now; I have all I ever wanted. My life is absolutely complete." .......but not over.....years go by with nothing left to strive for because you already have perfect happiness. No more goals, no more hopes, just endless waiting for death. I think it would be a sad life that didn't have a few regrets.


Return to “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest