In ‘Central Intelligence’, while flying in a plane, Bob pretends to run of gas and sends it into a dive. He then asks Calvin, ‘What’s the one thing you wish you’d done in your life?… What’s the one thing you regret not doing?‘ In the midst of panic, Calvin blurts out that it is ‘not having a kid, not being a father’. When he realised the impending crash that never happened was a ‘prank’, Bob explains – ‘I just thought, like, maybe a facing-your-own-death situation might help motivate you to clarify some of your goals in life.’
There is actually more truth and wisdom in that comedic scene than imagined by most… Just like the plane, we are running out of gas in terms of time left in this already short life, albeit, for many of us, not at a rate as fast as pretended. However, it is a troubling fact that we are unsure of how much ‘gas’ we have left in our individual tanks. This explains how some pilots do indeed crash from lack of gas, which they were probably ignorant of till the last minute. If so, it makes sense to quickly ask ourselves what Bob asked of Calvin too, and to live the answer.
While Calvin’s answer was understandable for a worldly family man, was it the best answer for all? Of course, we all have different biggest goals, but is there, like a kindest and wisest wish that we can fulfil, that will be the most satisfactory because it will have the greatest impact for the rest of the world, for generations to come? The truth is, there are many such wishes possible. So, what will be your legacy for the most number of beings, instead of just birthing another human being? The meaning of life is surely not merely to ‘replicate’ life. Clue word: Bodhicitta!