Subject: Re: one small function
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2002 02:31:15 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Nils Goesche
| Hm; sad.  But, do you think this is the fault of the book?

  Ideas influence people in sundry ways.  Books that are written with the
  purpose of expanding on a particular idea is always responsible for the
  readers and their reactions.  The ultimate example is what religions call
  their holy scriptures -- they are credited with giving people a sense of
  meaning in their lives.  Various other books have had the same effect on
  people, such as Atlas Shrugged.  When something bad happens to people who
  "believe" in these books, a lot of people claim that the religion, book,
  etc, had nothing to do with it.

| Maybe some people just /are/ stupid, or maybe it is possible to pass the
| course without understanding the book, I don't know.

  Gee, I would to like visit your planet.  Here on earth, stupidity is the
  most common mental illness and it has no cure.  Intellectual laziness is
  the result of the dramatic absence of any need to think for the common
  citizen, so most people get by unexercised, just like they do with their
  physical well-being.  I think "fathead" is very descriptive.

| Sorry for insisting like this, but I really think it's a good book and
| keep recommending it to people, but I wouldn't want to create new Scheme
| fanatics that way, of course :-)

  The book is actually a very good read _after_ you understand much more
  than it tries to teach and have the background knowledge to keep it in
  context.  It puts things into a context of its own that differs greatly
  from other contexts that you cannot expect people to have.  Many books
  that have "influential" ideas work this way because they are somehow
  "detached" from the world people normally experience and live in, yet
  "explain" things to them with stunning clarity -- which is not hard if
  you do not have to be bothered by the real world.  In this way, it is far
  easier to tell a wonderfully elegant lie about something that is not than
  it is to find elegance in what is.  I mean, Hollywood would not _be_ if
  it had not always been easier to tell a wonderful story than to live a
  wonderful life, but believing that one lives in a Hollywood world does
  people a lot of harm.  Likewise, not understanding that SICP tells a
  wonderful story can seriously hurt the immature mind.
///                                                             2002-08-09
  In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none.
  In a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.