Communicator (communicator) wrote,

I like big lists

I like big lists 'cause I don't want to die
All you other semioticians can't deny

That's an excellent summary (on metafilter) of this article, where Umberto Eco speaks about why our knowledge of infiity and mortality leds us to like lists of things.
The list is the origin of culture. It's part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order -- not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists... The list doesn't destroy culture; it creates it. Wherever you look in cultural history, you will find lists.
I think lists are a way of imposing some order on infinity, for people who don't like order too much. Lists retain a certain provisionality, they invite amendment, and they don't formalise the relationship between elements very strongly. They are less oppressive than systems.

  • Phew what a scorcher

    I see Gove has backed down on climate change and it's back in the curriculum again.

  • GCSE Computer Science

    My book is now for sale

  • LJ Settings

    At the moment I have set up this journal so that only friends can comment. I hate doing this, but I was just getting too much Russian spam.

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