Saturday, November 1, 2008

Five good reasons why I dislike lists

1. Whenever I see somebody's list, say, of 5 good reasons why McCain should be elected president, I can be almost certain that it'll be followed shortly after by a list of 5 good reasons, maybe formulated by the same person, why Obama should be elected.

2. It's a fact that, in our computer-oriented society, we're accustomed to numbered lists of items. [I myself am a culprit at times concerning the use of lists in my writing.] We should realize however that, while this linear style of expression might appear to be clear, it is not necessarily valid or convincing. The basic problem with a list of alleged good reasons is that it should ideally be read at the same time as a list of bad reasons, or opposite reasons.

3. A list of N reasons why something or other should be done, or believed, smacks of smugness, as if everything has been summed up nicely and completely in an itemized fashion. Reality is a far more fuzzy affair, in which almost every alleged "reason", if pushed to its limits, is of a borderline nature.

4. If God has intended us to think in terms of lists of reasons, He would have been far more explicit concerning this style of expression. Among other things, He would have provided us with a list of reasons why we should adhere to His list of 10 commandments. Furthermore, He would have told us how many items there should be in a typical list before we can get around to considering the case closed. For example, I can think of one good reason why I don't believe in God, namely: He doesn't exist! But this list is surely too short.

5. The final reason for my disliking lists is the existence of further reasons, not included in the present list. Etc...

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