Subject: Re: one small function From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2002 04:42:21 GMT Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * Nils Goesche | Sorry, I forgot to ask something: What about this book? I found it at | Amazon but have never heard of it. Should I read it? Yes, you should read it. It adds an important perspective on many things that are difficult to understand in our complex society, but do not mistake the perspective for the whole story, which is the advice common to SICP. It is especially important it if you are inclined to think that only the "working masses" are worth fighting for and believe that the owners exploit them -- since there are billions of words written on how bad business people are, it is quite interesting to see things more from their "side". It is wisely written as a novel, in which you can immerse yourself and suspend disbelief and really enjoy it, but some people never unsuspended their disbelief and have become rather "nutty" as a result, arguing and living as if the world described therein _is_ the real world. (The author once said the proof that the world she described was real was that she could write the book. Whichever way you try to understand this, it is a warning sign.) From a philosophical perspective, it provides an opportunity to understand a view that implicitly underlies much of modern society but which is fought and misrepresented by those who would rather return to the tribal societies of, e.g., the Taliban, or the socialist hell that the author barely escaped (but which never escaped her, like many very traumatizing events in people's life, and which must be kept in mind to understand what she is actually rebelling against). My signature is my summary of a lot of hardship both witnessed and experienced when I found to my surprise that it was actually hard to let go of the desire to fight against the Norwegian tax authorities when they finally released their death grip after 15 years of hell and I felt more empty than happy. (I think Ayn Rand would have been a very different person had she been able to pick herself up and go on, rather than delve on the evils she had endured and latched into a "live to tell" mode that some victims of evil have a tendency never to get out of.) From a literary perspective, she has really mastered the "romantic" school of description of people and landscapes alike, but it is not naturalistic, and therefore appear to _be_ only what she describes. This is another commonality with SICP that it takes some literary exposure to be comfortable with. Naturalism is the school that argues that you should tell the whole story, while the romantic school argues that you should say only what is important to understand something, discarding the inessential. I suspect that you will have no problem with this since you could absorb the good ideas from SICP without believing that what was omitted does not exist. I think further discussion should go in mail; this is way off-topic. /// -- 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.