What possible use is hindsight when the past is behind us and unchangeable?
The failed relationships, the missed opportunities, the petty cruelties and jealousies. The things we could have done so much better 20 years down the road and the things we botched up so badly at the time.
Regret is a wholly useless emotion in many respects. As self destructive as any of our less attractive states of mind but perhaps less harmful to those around us. Anger, envy, spitefulness and cruelty can do real harm now to others whereas regret with hindsight can only affect our own selves.
And yet hindsight does have its uses. Taken to heart, considered, thought out and acted upon it can and should affect both the present and the future even if the past is forbidden to us.
It is pointless to wax maudlin but at least we can try to stop making the same mistakes time and time again. We can learn from the past; from our own personal past as well as that of our nation or world.
Was it the United Nations which was founded on the principal of “never again”? It may not have met with huge success since its formation in 1945 but at least the attempt was made.
At least humanity looked back on the terror on the terror of the Second World War and vowed to improve international relations. With hindsight could it have been prevented? Well as we know hindsight does not work like that. But at least with the benefit of hindsight we can do better today and again tomorrow.
So yes, we must look back. We must own up to our mistakes. We can not change our past but hopefully we can change our future.
At least, in the absence of strict determinism.