Subject: Re: Difference between LISP and C++
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 16 Oct 2002 14:54:19 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* arien <spammers_suck@getlost.invalid>
| I've been told that Lisp IS an interpreted language!
| Now I'm even more confused.

  This may be a turning point in your life.  In some ways you have been
  lucky, but you have mostly been unlucky.  Your first brush with a lie can
  be a riveting experience.  When you first notice that somebody was less
  than truthful, outright misleading, or even told you something that was
  hurtful to you, many questions arise in your mind.  Why would anyone lie?
  The sad answer is that people have no reason to lie.  People get a reason
  to tell the truth and to spend time and effort to find things out when
  they discover that doing so has even greater benefits in society than to
  lie and cheat, but the history of mankind has generally been about not
  telling the truth.  Why would anyone pass on a myth that they could not
  back up by fact?  Sadly, again, they have no reason to do this: it is the
  prevailing default behavior.  People do not generally think unless they
  have been shown the great benefits of thinking.  It has actually happened
  that people have become the president of very large countries without
  realizing the benefits of thinking.  Thinking is hard work.  Sorting true
  from false is hard work.  If this is your first experience of a lie, of
  people who only parrot what they have heard unthinkingly, of people who
  have not yet experienced the great benefits of telling the truth and of
  thinking about what they say, I almost envy you, but only /after/ I spent
  so much time agonizing over /why/ people would lie and only /after/ I saw
  that people lie all the time and they do not have any reason to do so.
  Lying is the default human action.  Telling things how you want them to
  be (without being particularly conscious of it) is much /easier/ than
  getting up every morning to spend the whole day making enemies with
  others because you want to know the truth and they want to tell lies.

  So be not confused.  Many things you have been told have been lies.  In
  fact, most of what you have been told should really have turned out to be
  wrong if you acted on what you had been told and checked to see if things
  developed as they would have if what you were told had been true.  This
  takes time and effort, but so many more interesting things happen when
  you make that effort.

  If you want to know what is true about Lisp, just watch this newsgroup.
  People who tell lies and spread misinformation are quickly corrected, and
  if you hang around long enough, almost all the lies will be debunked and
  what you have left is a pretty good approximation to the truth.  But just
  as in life in general, even most people here will not have thought very
  carefully about everything they say and will repeat myths and confusions
  in the service of maintaining a consensus of views, which is very useful,
  even when the consensus thus built is based on misrepresentations.  The
  only result of wanting to debunk all the myths is that people think you
  are out to start trouble and will invent all sorts of stupid lies to tell
  about you, instead, so the price one pays for wanting the most correct
  technical environment is one where a lot of people who do not care about
  the truth when it does not serve their immediate needs will tell lies
  about something non-technical.  Note how many discussions in this
  newsgroup are all about people telling stories about me.  This is a
  pretty good indication that I have exposed them as liars and frauds and
  careless people who tell stories instead of thinking and caring about the
  truth.  But at the very least they won't be telling lies about Lisp while
  they tell lies about me.  This means that the remainder of this newsgroup
  is mostly true, and if it is technical, very likely the best answers you
  can get.  Still, do not /believe/ what you are told, think about it and
  spend the time and effort to sort out the true from the false.  We'll be
  here to help debunk myth after myth and falsehood after falsehood.

  So in a way, you are very lucky to have found us and it is good of you to
  notice that what you have been told is wrong.  Welcome to Common Lisp.

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.