|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?