There is a class of questions associated with desert islands.
What is it about packing for desert islands that captures imaginations so?
There is little I’m sure to recommend actual desert island stays.
What eight records would you bring?
Who would you take?
What 3 books would you bring?
There is an implication that things are somehow limited, somehow finite on this desert island and that you don’t have vast resources. That you have to choose.
I think that, the attraction is that things seem slightly simpler in our mind, in these desert island questions. That the restriction really lets you refine your thinking. Makes your prioritizing simpler.
Simpler than what? Who knows.
But here are some similar questions that I find at least as interesting and only slightly less simple.
- Which 150 people?
- Which 500 books?
- Which 71 years do I want?
(1) Dunbar’s number is a suggested limit to the amount of people one can maintain social relationships with. Different values have been given for it , but usually somewhere from 100 to 250, and most often 150.
Who have I let into my 150 and why? Should I keep them there?
(2) If I read one book a month for the rest of my life, maybe I have 500 books left. What have been my first 500 , what are my next 500 going to be? Why?
(3) Globally the average life expectancy of a man is 71. What have I done with them? Why? What am I doing with the rest of them? Why? Would I let these years I have already lived happen this way again? What would I change? What am I changing to make this year different from last? And next year better than this year?