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, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries …Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco is an Italian novelist and semiotician (someone who analyzes systems of communication). And a fan of the humble list, as I am too.
This is an excerpt from an in-depth 2009 interview in which Umberto talks about lists in the history of culture and the pitfalls of Google searches.