Don’t Look Back… okay, maybe just a little peek

kurt vonnegut

At the moment I should be furious. The sort of justified fury which could lead to righteous blindness or spontaneous combustion. I could be furious…


This sort of fury is pointless and has a tendency to lead to stupid mistakes.

Mind you.

The reason for the opportunity to be furious is due to a mistake. The jury is still out regarding the IQ of the mistake.





This particular mistake isn’t one which I made.

Which in and of itself is unusual.

Add to that the fact that I had foreseen this mistake and made attempts to avoid it, to pre-empt it. I repeatedly warned those who were supposedly listening, but in mythological Cassandra style my predictions and warnings were disregarded. Not because I was cursed by a pissed off god whose advances I had spurned, but because others thought they knew better and in their knowing-betterness they decided that I did not know what I was talking about. I had hoped that their view was correct and that mine was not.


We all had to learn the hard way that I was spouting wisdom out of my mouth instead of inanity…

…but they don’t have to pay the price for their hard lesson, I do.

That’s why my fury is in theory justified.


If I indulge in fury and its consequences, I’ll end up with very skewed thinking and I’ll probably make the situation worse. It will lead to me making a mistake, maybe several… and the Furies will be unleashed. Not on others but upon me.

I’m far better at reasoning, understanding and excusing the mistakes which others make than I am at handling my own mistakes. I make an excellent lawyer for others, but when it comes to representing myself I usually just sign the confession and throw myself in jail.

I am more lenient these days with myself. I let myself off with a warning – learn from the mistake and try not to make the same one again. Make a different one instead.






Easier said and agreed to than done.


The problem with learning from your own mistakes is that you get quite good at spotting potential mistake-making scenarios. You use the data gathered from analysing the components of your previous mistakes and thus when you spot similar components in the present you can predict where things may be going. A warning light goes on. Which is fine if it’s just you that needs this information, but when others are involved this warning needs to be communicated to them too.

Therein lies the rub for me.

How do you get other people to listen to you when they are so busy listening to all the voices inside their head which drown out your voice.

The method I use most often is repetition. If I say it once, it’ll probably not reach their ears. If I say it twice, it may get inside the ear canal, but will it penetrate into the brain. Sometimes it does, but sometimes it bounces of the eardrum making a dull boing sound. They heard your voice but not what you said. I usually repeat things three times. This way they may actually hear what you said, but there is no guarantee that it has been understood and sunk in. After that I stop because then it becomes nagging and no one listens to that. If they do they tend to rebel against it, or react defensively. Which is not productive.


Susanna Kaysen


If I look back I could get furious and indulge my feelings of – I told you so. That particular temptation is spurred even more when those who didn’t listen inform you that they had actually heard you but chose to ignore you… yet it’s not their fault somehow.

However If I’m going to do that, look back in anger, then I have to go further back for the sake of thoroughness. Yes, I predicted this mistake and yes, I tried to prevent it… but I also knew that prevention of the predicted mistake relied on others, on teamwork, and I knew that these particular others saw themselves as being superior to me in knowledge and experience (this is tricky because – I was working with them because of their expertise). So they were never going to listen to me when their own voices dismissed what I said in favour of themselves. So basically what I really predicted was that one predicted mistake would happen because another predicted mistake would happen… and sometimes you just have to let the snowball roll.

It’s my fault for being optimistic. The solution is to continue being optimistic. Pessimism at this stage of things is… too late.

What I’m hoping for (false hope perhaps) is that they will learn from this mistake and that what they learn will be positive – as in it will give them the motivation to sort out the consequences of the mistakes, because now their ego is involved on this (my) side – rather than negative – they’ll be so focused on covering their asses, sweeping their errors under the rug so they don’t have to face them, their ego still involved on the other side (against me), that the consequences of the mistakes will simply pile up… but it doesn’t matter because they don’t have to pay for it, I do.

If they do the latter, I’ll understand. Every human, underneath all the layers, is motivated by a primal instinct for self-preservation. I am too. I’m just crossing my fingers that they’ll save my ass while saving theirs, rather than sacrifice mine to save theirs. Survival of the fittest and all… sometimes the fittest get thrown to the lions to save the less fit.

That was a rather arrogant thing to say… my fury leaking out where it can because I don’t want to let it drag me backwards. Not yet anyway.

Maybe I was stupid, maybe I’m being stupid now, maybe I was always stupid and will always be stupid…





Once the milk is spilled… don’t let it go to waste.

Or something like that.