From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/10/29
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Janos Blazi
| To say that something is esoteric means that it only those who are
| initiated understand it.  To say that LISP is esoteric is not a
| complaint; it describes tha language as it is.

  this is not the normal usage of the word, and needs constant explaining.
  the usual meaning of "esoteric" means "inaccessible".

| LISP is for those who in some way like abstract thinking and this is a
| very small group of people.  A COBOL programmer on the other hand can
| write thousands of lines of code a day.

  I fail to see the relevance of this comparison, which belittles fast
  coders and good programmers alike and seems to claim that abstract
  thinkers who can do practical work don't exist.  none of this is news,
  however, since you have made a number of sweeping generalizations that
  make very little sense.  I wish you'd stop to think about what you're
  saying.  the broader issues you bring up with these generalization have
  mostly been seriously misguided, but just stating the generalization
  makes it very hard to respond to them intelligently.

  Lisp is probably more attractive to people who introspect and value
  precision in their dealings with the world, while those who do neither
  will find many of its decisions needlessly cumbersome to understand.
  it's like being in need of cash and not deciding to rob someone because
  you're capable of considering the ethical and psychological implications
  of living on stolen money, compared to deciding not to rob someone
  because you believe you might get caught (the static typing crowd).

  for what it's worth, my experience indicates that people who care about
  what they do and put serious emotional investment into doing a good job,
  will be incompatible with the practices involved in programming certain
  languages.  I could not stomach the C++ paradigm that it not be possible
  to _understand_ what the precise semantics of a language construct -- you
  just have to humor the compilers and development systems and visually
  inspect how constructs and features pan out in practice.  this paradigm
  is so different from what I have come to expect in the Common Lisp world
  that it is all but impossible to revert to Unix and C programming where
  you have to spend hours fiddling with half-documented, half-witted junk
  to get something right so you can trust it.

  C/C++/Java/Perl/etc are for people who want to make things that work.
  Common Lisp is for peple who want to make things that don't break.