So, I was wondering how old the idea of Pros & Cons is. You know, that process of listing the positive and negative attributes of a thing, or a set of things, whereby one might assess relative values on the way to making a decision?
The interwebs tell us that pros & cons is derived from the Latin pro et contra, a phrase that apparently first appeared in the 16th century. And then, 200+ years later, Ben Franklin developed what would be called the Ben Franklin Method, a balance sheet process involving columns of pros and cons.
Of course, we humans almost certainly performed this sort of thing informally before we called it pros & cons. But, I wonder when, not precisely but approximately, we reached the point in our evolution where an intuitive process became a kind of assessment exercise.
The Weighting Is The Hardest Part
I wonder, also, how many people have scribbled out the pros and cons of their lives in order to decide whether or not they wished to continue living, and how many people, then, have acted on the outcome.
Most days, these days, were I to make such a list of pros and cons, it feels like the cons would greatly outnumber the pros, but the Ben Franklin Method factors in quality along with quantity. Not all items on a given list hold the same value, and so each item is assigned a weight (hence the term balance sheet), perhaps a rating from 1 to 5, or 1 to 10.
In the matter of life vs. death, a matter as weighty as that, could the weighting be any more important?
That said, do I have any interest in investing the time and energy into actually conducting this exercise? With the stakes so significant, for such an important decision, to be or not to be and all that, it may seem a no-brainer, make the damned list!
But, I’ve already concluded that I do NOT want dying to be a project.
And, it’s not a brain thing, not entirely.
Does the heart need lists?
How about the gut?