SPIEGEL: Why do we waste so much time trying to complete things that can’t be realistically completed?
ECO: We have a limit, a very discouraging, humiliating limit: death. That’s why we like all the things that we assume have no limits and, therefore, no end. It’s a way of escaping thoughts about death. We like lists because we don’t want to die.
–“SPIEGEL Interview with Umberto Eco,” Susanne Beyer and Lothar Gorris, Spiegel Online