Subject: Re: "Well, I want to switch over to replace EMACS LISP with Guile." (was Re: Lisp in Python) From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: 15 Oct 2002 19:03:56 +0000 Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * Greg Neumann | I've looked through my code to see what makes me feel uncomfortable with | Lisp. Do you have a zero position in your comfortable/uncomfortable system of evaluating things? I am curious because you are so ignorant, so arrogant in your belief that what you already know should carry you through what you do not know, and so willing to switch to negative terms when all you have the absence of some emotional quality like "comfort". I have seen a lot of people recently, or, rather, I have begun noticing them, who lack the ability to "return to neutral" once they have made up their mind to feel something. They are either for or against something, with no means to stop and think and conclude that they really should not be either. I have never quite understood such people. It is as if the only purpose of acquiring any knowledge at all is to be for or against something, and if they have a non-zero amount of knowledge, they get the right to be for or against something in the package deal. How curiously anti-intellectual. | Maybe superficial, but when you introduce to a beginner, these little | things are so huge. But you are not a beginner. You have some experience from a very, very bad environment. You are wounded, a victim of the assault on mind and spirit from bad programming languages. Scheme can be really, really bad for a great number of people, namely those who do not stop to think and evaluate what they hear. Brainwashing and menticide are words that come to mind when I watch the poor Scheme victims. It is not that Scheme is bad per se. Neither is falling from the sky, but if you are a fledgling who gets thrown out of your loving parent's nest 50 feet above the ground in the misguided notion that you will learn to fly before you hit the ground, there will be victims and there will be people who learn the wrong thing from the experience and their survival tactics really cripple them for the rest of their (programming) life. | And the scheme community is a bit more promiscuous, so there's always | someone porting Scheme to the craziest thing. Please realize that the /one/ thing that the Scheme community is known for is implementing Scheme. There is close to one Scheme implementation per Scheme programmer. The charm of the language is indeed that it is perceived to be so easy to implement. While there are few implementations of Common Lisp, they are actually /used/ to do useful work and produce significant values for their users. Note that none of the idiot exercises from your university course on programming languages about hacking up lists is ever going to help you. Handling complexity of thought is not taught -- it is an acquired skill after having been exposed to complex problems over a long time. Mankind has yet to find a better way to teach people to think than to drag a large number of people to the top of some vast tower of abstraction only to push them off and see how many go *splat* on the exam. If you did not walk away from this exercise with fully-fledged wings, it is really is nothing to boast about, but many an average student appears to think that having been thrown off enough such towers is a mark of endurance and give them bragging rights. It does not. The whole point with education is to force people who are smart enough to be much better than their peers to be forced to deal with people they are /not/ smarter than so long that they finally grasp that even though they were geniuses at some particular subject in high school and could whiz through without doing their homework and paying attention, life is work, and it takes much longer to make smart people realize they have to work hard than less smart people. By putting people in institutions of higher learning for a decade longer than those who went off to be plumbers and carpenters, they should hopefully have learned the value of hard work, but if you let them out before they have realized that nothing worth having really comes for free, such as happens with people who are smart enough to believe they have learned Scheme well in no time, they will be arrogant ignorants who display a great disdain for other people, who they still believe are as dumb as the peers they were smarter than in school. Life is not about finding things you are good at so you can only excel at things that are easy to you. Life is about finding the things you can be good at when the easy things are all done and out of the way. -- 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.