The Neuroscience of HappYness - Part 7
“The Bucket List” - is it really useful?
(Saturday, 25th May 2019)
Reading time: approximately 4 minutes (644 words)
Many people keep referring to a "bucket list" and many take pride in crossing items off from it. I never thought much of it initially. As is the norm lately though, I started thinking a little more about it. And asked, "Is it really useful? What does it really do to people?" And it led to my obtaining a different perspective totally.
First, I looked up the etymology of the term. Turns out, that it's a list of things that one wants to do before they "kick the bucket!" - and most of these are totally focused on one's own self. And kicking the bucket is used "humourously" - and its origins are in the act of one killing oneself - standing on a bucket, putting a noose on one's neck, and then kicking the bucket away - to kill themselves by suffocation!
The bucket list normally consists of a few common wants and desires - Places they want to visit, activities that they want to participate in, the food they want to eat, possessions or experiences they want to have and so on. Superficially, it seems all good - that it motivates people to achieve, be focused and so on.
And once one delves deeper a completely different perspective might be obtained. And what's the reason for this? The main theme of a bucket list comes from fear - of things that one WANTS do before they die.
That's a very negative approach. Let's be clear, fear is useful, as long as it's kept within limits. Stress that comes from fear is also useful, again, as long as it is kept within limits. Fear is what made human beings the predominant species on the planet (as far s we are aware until now). However, in the long term, fear isn't useful. Desire also isn't useful when it goes beyond a certain limit. Desires when uncontrolled become "addictions!" We are seeing the ravages of such desire all over the planet - Where almost everyone wants the most of everything. Leading to bizarre circumstances that prevail. Ravaging the planet and other beings no end. Maybe all of this greed emanates from multiple such bucket lists?
And these wants and desires from the bucket list end up being exactly what happens when someone aims to "kick the bucket" - strangling them and keeping them from doing things that might truly be useful for them. And all the time keeping them focused on the superficial things that they consider to be important to be happy. And as is well known, happiness lies within, not in the fulfilment of all these desires or wants.
I'd much rather that people go within and find out what it is that they will get from the items they have on the list. And inquire WHY they want it. And keep asking WHY until they get to the core of why they really want the item on the list. And then to truly ask themselves if that's relevant and appropriate. And whether expending energy, resources, time and money on the item is the best use they can put all that energy, resource, time and money! Maybe there are other things to achieve that are infinitely more useful, not just to themselves and to a great number of beings.
True happiness probably does not exist in scoring things off a bucket or any other list - it comes from being at peace - from knowing that one's life mattered not just to themselves, and to make the lives of others' better and of making a contribution to the general betterment of all in creation - those that are considered to be with life, and those that are considered without.