Subject: Re: State machine representation
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 01 Feb 2004 21:53:15 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Dave Roberts
| Specifically, I was comparing CL's way of handling functions bound to
| symbols with that of Scheme, which honestly does seem cleaner, in my
| not so educated opinion.

  So the first language you learned is better than the next language you
  set out to learn?  That attitude is the reason people never learn to
  speak anything but their first language well.

  I just commented on this phenomenon over in misc.metric-system, in
  <>.  It certainly applies here, too.

| Anyway, I was not trying to offend.  If you believe there is a lot of
| advantage in CL's way of doing things, please share.  I want to
| understand if there is something I may have missed.

  What you have missed is that languages are the products of evolution.
  Just learn the language at hand.  Do not compare it to anything else,
  or you will continue to write and think in whatever you compare with.

  Have you ever tried to compare a potential girlfriend with your first?
  The urge to compare may be human, but if so, it ranks up there with
  errare humanum est -- you expend effort not to make mistakes precisely
  because it is so human.  There is no way to avoid offending people if
  you keep comparing them to other people all the time.  Languages are
  the products of people and all those who use them are people.  Imagine
  someone who compares you to some other bloke all the time if you have
  a hard time with the metaphors I have used, and you should be able to
  realize that the act of comparing is the fundamental insult.  Not only
  does comparing with something else prevent you from appreciating what
  something is on its own merits, you will naturally resist comparisons
  that make it evident that it is superior to what you compare it with.

  If you wish to speak Common Lisp with a strong Scheme accent, you are
  well on your way.  I cannot imagine why anyone would /want/ to speak
  with a strong accent, but then again, I have been known to be hostile
  to people who use their dialects outside of their home town and have
  this incredibly annoying urge to tell me where they grew up instead of
  anything worth hearing about.  While this bizarre ritual is somehow a
  human right in the eyes of those who do it, the computer will not be
  impressed with your heritage, will not consider you a honorary member
  of its tribe because you exhibit the same regionally accepted speech
  impediments, and will not congratulate you on how well you speak a
  foreign language despite the rather annoying and obvious flaws.  So my
  advice to you, and this is pretty strongly felt because I believe that
  the first thing you learn is an irrelevant accident of timing which
  must not prevent you from learning new things that accidentally arrive
  within your sensory experiences later, is that you completely forget
  everything you learned from Scheme and start afresh with Common Lisp
  in its own right, on its own merits.

  Otherwise, I may want to compare you to all the other people who have
  never learned Common Lisp because they were stuck in Compareville.

Erik Naggum | Oslo, Norway                                      2004-032

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