|photo of Castor & Pollux sourced from wikimedia|
A list of possible reasons why we seem driven to review the past and drum up predictions, spin omens, and stir the bubbling culdron of things to come:
- Perspective – this one’s self-explanatory. History is all about perspective and paying heed to or ignoring the lessons that come with such perspective.
- Hype – so is this one. Without hype, the actual unfolding of what can and could happen would be pretty boring. So the higher the level of speculation, the better (see #9).
- Nostalgia – a natural tendency to have an emotional association with impressionable moments/people/things etc. in the past allows us to appreciate its value and purpose in time. Sentiment without necessarily the analysis.
- Technology – the speed of technology’s evolution continually pushes the limits of our peripheral comprehension of what is, what can be and what will be. However, in some cases, we tend to go overboard, like declaring something like fax machines as obsolete. They may be used less and less these days but they’re not yet obsolete. The tendency to exaggerate comes with the need to immediately replace with the latest, brighter, shinier toy.
- Novelty – the end of a cycle must come with the promise of something new. For now, it is a ‘must’ because surely there must always be something new (good or bad) that is due on the horizon. Subconsciously, we cling to the notion of novelty each time we get out of bed.
- Authority – creating a list of trends and predictions somehow proposes that the one(s) who prepare and compile such a list has authority (ergo knowledge and expertise) on the items listed. Hence, issuing said list is much like a self-acknowledgment of authority.
- Memory – having a list helps us remember the things we need to pay attention to, much like grocery shopping lists. Now whether or not we are meant to actually pay attention to these things is another story.
- Permanence – it’s not so much the act of being permanent, as it is the suggestion of permanence that makes list and predictions appealing. “So-and-so’s authorative list of A, B, C trends that will radically change X, Y and Z” has a definitive sound to it. The more definitive it sounds, the more sure and secure we tend to feel.
- Excitement – this is the Pollux to hype’s Castor. Hype breeds excitement. Forecasts, foretelling and crystal ball style banter makes it more fun to look forward to the unknown (or dread what it may portend).
- Ease – and the lamest– i mean, most subtle of them all stems from sheer laziness– i mean, need to be efficient. Lists of this and that are like a series of symptoms that make up a larger prognosis. While we may have some sense of what the symptoms are and may be close to arriving at an accurate prognosis, the compilation of all symptoms do not necessarily depict what may in fact happen. But, somehow a list can easily act as a placebo. It’s easier for us to have a vague notion than be left completely in the dark.
So there. Musings from a pile of coin that’s been sitting in the corner. What drives YOU to go nuts over lists?
11 thoughts on “Top 10 Under ‘10”
How about it’s fun? And it’s a form of sharing.
In another life, when I wrote for numerous publications about jazz, I was asked, as part of my critic/contributor status, to compile a “Top 10 Jazz Albums Of The Year” list. This was quite a task because there were always lots of new albums issued during the course of an entire year. Trying to come up with that final list was a real project — how to recall what you thought about something that was issued 11 months ago? So during the year, when a particular album stood out, it would go in a “potential top 10” list. Then, come December, ’twas was time for winnowing — re-listening to whatever made the potential list and then creating the final tally. It was work, but it was fun, too.
Perhaps those who read my jazz writings and liked my tastes might have used the list to seek about albums they did not have or know about but might enjoy. I certainly use lists by movie critics whose opinions I share some affinity to add new titles to the ol’ Netflix queue.
fun never goes out of fashion eh, Deni? i don’t have a beef about lists per se, but i think their overabundance gets a tad ridiculous (almost comical) ironically, this post is also a list..so there’s a bit of tongue-in-cheek here..wow, jazz writer..who knew? thanks for sharing your thoughts and look forward to *your* upcoming list haha
The one observation I’ve made of “top” lists is that rarely do the authors ever get it right (or at least their audiences seem to remain unconvinced). I’ve even seen printed publications which were authored by well established people in their respective discipline, using mechanisms like voting systems and member participation by trusted networks of people to help in arriving at a determination of the most “important,” or “best” in a discipline only to get scorned for their choices. If getting people talking (good or bad) is one goal of any “top” list, then in this regard they usually more than live up to their potential.
Comical is right. This post is true Autom style. Always stepping way outside the box to examine what the frenzy’s about. With all due respect to your style and talent, I think few actually get what you’re trying to illustrate. But maybe that’s the point. And this one is quite light-hearted compared to what I’ve seen before.
I’ve also been observing the way you tweet your content: quietly, non-chalant, go with the flow and never reposting on the stream to “remind” others in case they missed among the wares being hawked earlier. Don’t ever change. Stay true to your voice and..keep churning out those bullet points LOL! Sean
thanks Joseph – “let’s give ’em something to talk about..” oy..ya sure that works but i suppose it would be even more useful if the discussion led to helpful insights or at least some form of grounding mechanism that keeps people’s expectations in line with realistic scenarios versus plausible implications that quickly lead to bad fortune telling..oh well, i was kind of being silly offering an explanation via a list 🙂
Sean! dudeness. you know me all too well. appreciate those thoughts and yes, i’m pretty chilled as you know.. no delusions of grand am– er..grandeur am quite humbled by your kind words much appreciated bud!
Eek! My instrumentality has been exposed (# 6). Gulp. In my defence of last week’s post, I think #1 & # 7 also rang true. But in truth it was kind of challenging to write one, to sift through the fragments of my awareness and synthesise what resonated most. I liked the challenge and it made me nervous to publish. As always, a gem to read – now off to write Ten Reasons why Autom should have a bigger audience….Happy New Year : )
Eek! Autom, you exposed my instrumentality with #6 with last week’s posts on the Top 5 trends in change comms for 2010! In defence it was probably a bit of #1 and #7. It certainly wasn’t #10, well not at this point of year – there’s a lot of fragments whizzing around needing synthesis. And it was a bit scary — easy to have egg cached on your face once you put it out there! As always enlightening and enjoyable, thank you. Happy Holidays!
Jen! too funny..thanks for the comments – i was gonna ask you to pick one for me to archive but both are equally delightful to read and i wouldn’t worry too too much about why autom needs a bigger audience, he’s happy to let serendipity be the influencer here – thanks again for stopping by – happy new year to you, too and of course: z-e-n… : )
I love this post for many many reasons! Thank you for once again restoring my faith in humanity. I feel empowered to write more as my fear of becoming a purveyor of the above has dissipated now I have a list to work against! 😉
Alasdair – glad you could drop by and share..much appreciated A