No, not the bucket lists we build out of things we’d like to experience before we expire. They are temporary and transient and change as we do. Something that seemed so important in our 20’s might hold no significance for the 30 year old you. The bucket we speak of is the bucket of presumptions and category limitations.

We all have them in one way or another and the primary focus of any higher education or scientific training should be to teach you how to see beyond our private bucket, even if only peeking outside for a moment and entertaining the though that what you see is not what you get. What you see you’re already interpreting based on the bucket that the narrowing of growing up and losing the childlike opened potential caused. Kids are magical because they are still not bucket designated and are still unaware of the bucket like nature of adult life. Some broad categorization is necessary and unavoidable. It helps us think and systematize, it helps us remember and make connections across board, it helps us hold together a structure, a more or less workable model of the reality we find ourselves in. But as in all things, “Pros” have a sister – “cons”.

Buckets are rigid, hard and unmalleable, they can make us overlook things simply because our bucket doesn’t believe they exist or are worth exploring and every single phenomena has multiple explanations depending on the bucket you’re operating in. A certain behavior can for example be explained based on philosophical buckets such as solipsism, in the hands of someone inclined towards evolutionary behaviorism it might have a completely different explanation, in the nurture camp nature had nothing to do with it, for an endocrinologist it’s all chemical interplay… Misunderstandings, for most part, are therefore not a matter of someone being right while the other side is wrong, faulty or missing some crucial information. More times than not, if not pertaining to raw fact data, it’s a thing of viewing one event or topic from different buckets where both opinions and solutions are valid, just dealing with a different aspect of a situation. You’re not always right because no bucket ever showed the full picture. You need the brains, stances and input of others to make your bucket roomier and to be able to see more.

Not all prisons have bars on them. Most prisons are not body confining but they rob you of your freedom in much more subtle and sophisticated ways and you’ve been incarcerated by your culture and/or your complacency. Buckets were never supposed to be permanent homes, just something holding you together for a while until you spill all over this Earth and become part of its soil. Make conscious effort to see beyond your own prejudice and passed down notions of things. Reality is far weirder than what in-bucket staff taught you. Communicate, explore, look for new points of view, you’re never choicless.