Subject: Re: To Paul Graham: Please put your books online.
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Thu, 07 Jun 2001 02:40:47 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* "Biep @" <>
> While PAIP is a great book, and can be used as an introduction to Common
> Lisp, it wasn't meant as such, and in fact the code in the book is
> inetntionally fairly basic, with a few exceptions, such as the stuff on
> macros (which, by the way, is mainly complex because writing a serious
> macro in CL involves a lot of "fighting the system").

  Thsoe who do not know or do not like the rules are always fighting the
  system regardless of what "the system" is, while those who know and like
  the system cannot generally fathom what it is that people _want_ to fight.

  The same goes with laws and regulations, codes of conduct, cultures, etc.
  Programming languages are social constructs.  Some people enjoy rebelling
  more than they enjoy living in a society.  Some are able to appreciate
  the societies they live in higher than what rebelling against it and its
  people would entail, regardless of whether they think everybody would
  appreciate whatever is on the other side of rebellion more than the
  present.  I, for instance, think it is far better to fight incompetence
  than to live peacefully with incompetent people.  Some people feel this
  way about drugs, abortion, communism, etc.  That macros in Common Lisp
  should be such an issue should come as a surprise to no one.  However,
  there is much, much less _force_ involved in having to accept macros than
  any of the other issues that cause similar reactions, so I have a really
  hard time understanding the underlying desires of the people who go nuts
  about "unhygienic" macros and the like.  Matter of fact, I think they are
  insane and fanatical because there is absolutel no _point_ in rebelling
  against macros.  Just understand them.  This is how it works.  Deal with
  it.  If you want to change the way they work, you definitely have to
  understand how they work today and all the discarded alternatives.

  If you want _any_ system to change, exploit it, do not fight it.
  Exploitation causes people who see undesirable consequences of their
  goals to review their means of achieving them, perhaps even changing
  their goals.  Fighting them causes people who are under attack to shut
  down all critical processes in self-preservation and defend themselves,
  regardless of the cost to their real goals.  (Exploitation of (massive)
  incompetence, however, is so unethical only Bill Gates and his like could
  do it for a long period of time.a)

  Now, how to exploit the system-fighters so they themselves implode?  I
  think Guile is an excellent way to exploit the dislike of Common Lisp and
  the adherence to "simpler" ways to do things.  With any luck, it turns
  into a _complete_ disaster before it has a chance of getting better.

  Travel is a meat thing.