Small thought on Carpe Diem, regrets, suicide and happiness

Another small thought from my conversation with a friend… This time on carpe diem, regrets, suicide and unhappiness after I heard about a recent wave of suicides among students in Hong Kong.

Carpe diem is a great concept, because at its core lies the love of fate. Loving fate makes us fearless, lets us accept our situations, happiness, sadness and therefore gives us the power to see every circumstance as an opportunity to seize. Only by loving fate, we can truly seize the days.

Nietzsche spoke very well when he said:

“I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati (the love of fate): let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.”

There is one more thing that we haven’t mentioned, but that is necessary to seize our days, I think. That is ‘regret’. We have to use regret as a source of motivation and we have to use sadness as a compass that directs us into the direction of greatness and happiness. I hope that those students who are going through much hardship will eventually realize that regrets are positive influences in their lives and that they should motivate them to choose a better life over suicide.

I may be wrong, but I think that suicide is fundamentally an action that is derived from our fears. It is not because people dislike life that they commit suicide, it is because they fear judgments or failures. So if we would like to help them, we shouldn’t instill in them an appreciation for life more than an appreciation for fearlessness. That is something I see all around me: people who are fearful of judgments. They cannot deal with expectations, which are oftentimes dogmatic like the expectations to have good grades, to marry, to earn a living etc. School is an awful place where such expectations are instilled into the minds of the young. When you are put together in class with others that have the same age, that study the same things, that are expected to get good grades for the same tests you are taking, you are naturally comparing yourself to your peers. Of course there are always people that are better than you, and therefore always more reasons to be unsatisfied. If there is one thing we as a society should do if we truly care about the well-being of our children, we should carefully look at our education system and take it apart.

Talking about suicide, regrets, unhappiness, carpe diem… there’s this song I really like which is quite meaningful:

And the lyrics: “Time shows fair weather, friends abandon you, Remember and I will be reborn, Love grows above what fate has handed you, It’s darkest right before the dawn.”

I also realize that most people say that we should live without regrets and that this is carpe diem. This seems to be a false notion to me. True carpe diem would be to live WITH our regrets as they are the sources of our motivations, and they are signs of our awareness of a multitude of potentialities or possibilities in life. Carpe diem, in the sense of the modern YOLO attitude, is too stringently preoccupied with actuality which in consequence becomes blind for possibilities in life.

Without regrets, without motivations, without the awareness of our mortality, without the attitude to assess possibilities in life we would be nothing more than powerless wild beasts whose fates are entirely determined by circumstances and emotional contingencies. Our future would be truly dark.


One thought on “Small thought on Carpe Diem, regrets, suicide and happiness

  1. What do you mean you want to ‘help suicidal people’? Do you also mean you want to help people in abusive relationship to see the good side of their abuser?

    Suicide is a choice. It is when someone decides life isn’t good. The idea we should help see the good is absurd. Life isn’t always good or always bad. It’s whatever the person decides it is. If we don’t have the freedom to die, we don’t have the freedom to live.

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