There has been a bit of chat on Twitter over the past few days on the subject of listing. As a lapsed lister I have been able to sit back and chortle at the correspondence, safe in the knowledge that, having seen the light, I can enjoy the angst and pain of those who still find themselves with ‘listing fever’.
The lister will never - NEVER - be happy, and will never feel content. A mad two-day excursion to successfully see a Steller’s Eider on the Western Isles will, no doubt, produce a moment or two of joy, but will be short-lived, as the lister’s attention is drawn to the next target. This is summed up beautifully by writer Eckhart Tolle:
'The ego identifies with having, but its identification in having is a relatively shallow and short-lived one. Concealed within it remains a deep-seated sense of dissatisfaction, of incompleteness, of "not enough". "I don't have enough yet", by which the ego really means, "I am not enough yet". As we have seen, having - the concept of ownership - is a fiction created by the ego to give itself solidity and permanency and make itself stand out, make itself special. Since you cannot find yourself through having, however, there is another more powerful drive underneath it that pertains to the structure of the ego: the need for more, which we could also call "wanting". No ego can last for long without the need for more. Therefore, wanting keeps the ego alive much more than having. The ego wants to want more than it wants to have. And so the shallow satisfaction of having is always replaced by more wanting. This is the psychological need for more, that is to say, more things to identify with. It is an addictive need, not an authentic one."
So there we have it. Listing is a downward spiral, a journey with no happy ending, a quest that cannot give you a sense of fulfilment. You have been warned...