Subject: Re: Bohr's way
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 10 Oct 2002 18:21:49 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Charlton Wilbur <>
| I think there may be a better phrasing than short-term versus long-term
| self-esteem, but I can't think of it.  No doubt someone will post it, and
| it will be obvious in retrospect.

  Perhaps pleasure/pain in the short term and happiness/unhappiness in the
  long term.  These seem to cover what I think you mean.  Self-esteem being
  a result of either, in different capacities.  It may feel good to win a
  battle, but if you see that you will lose the war, it may or may not help.

| The jobs I do worst at are the ones where the struggle is entirely
| political, or where the technical matters are problems I've already
| solved, or where I'm the sole person who is working at a particular
| level.

  I have come to believe that politics is usually conducted by stupid and
  incompetent people and therefore do not attract smart and competent
  people, but if you are a smart and competent person who wants to get
  something done, it is a actually game worth knowing well, and you can get
  a lot more done with lots of people backing you than you can alone.  If
  you do not do well in a job where you are the only person at a particular
  level, the solution seems to work to get more people up to your level.
  (This is partly my motivation for using Usenet, and it works both ways.)

| Also, the end result needs to be something I care about, or the technical
| issues involved need to be interesting, or there's little reward in it
| for me.  Money is a tremendously poor motivator for me.

  Money seems to be a good motivator only up to a certain level.  However,
  the news story written by Alfie Kohn and run by Boston Globe 1987-01-19
  gives an important perspective.  (In Emacs, hit <help> N to get the NEWS
  file, then C-x C-f MOTIVATION to get this article.  If you do not use
  Emacs, your very best option is to start using it now, the second best to
  visit <>.

| If I don't pay attention, I go for small immediate gratification over
| long-term reward every time.

  But at least you are aware of it and presumably pay attention when it
  matters, which makes it a choice.  My cat has a funny way of getting
  between immediate gratification and long-term goals.  For some reason,
  she insists that if the only thing in my line of sight is a newspaper or
  a book or even a print-out, that should be rectified immediately with a
  purring furball.  Her long-term goal is contant immediate gratification,
  or so it seems.

Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.