Subject: Re: Lisp advocacy misadventures
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 26 Oct 2002 19:47:31 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Kaz Kylheku
| By far the biggest reason people write things in C is because they are
| idiots who hold on to thirty year old misconceptions (and many of them
| are not even that old, but they gladly inherit their misconceptions from
| others before them).

  In other words, they express a deep-rooted desire /not/ to be different
  from anybody else, a deep-rooted desire to be /just like/ everybody else.
  People whose only distinguishing mark is that they are not different are
  fundamentally inconsequential.  They will change when people around them
  change, insofar as they do not believe that they have a /right/ not to
  change because they think being just like everybody else is a /virtue/.
  In a world where almost everything except human nature has changed so
  much that an 80-year-old must have been /really/ mentally active all his
  life to be indistinguishable from an Alzheimer's patient, the kind of
  people who have a strong desire /not/ to think become not just a liability
  on their immediate surroundings, they force a change in how civilization
  can sustain itself when these people think they should have some power,
  and indeed /have/ some power qua mass consumers, where everybody is in
  fact just like everybody else and were being a minority costs real money
  if not convenience.  So why do I not want Common Lisp to be a mass market
  language?  Because this kind of people will want to exert influence over
  something that is good because it has been restricted to the "elite" that
  has made a conscious choice to be different from /something/, indeed to
  /be/ something.  The very word "exist" derives from "to step forth, to
  stand out".  To be just like everyone else is tantamount to not exist, to
  leave not a single mark upon this world that says "I made this".  Likewise
  the people who form the mass do not want those exceptions, the minority
  that has decided to stand out, to /exist/.  All the brutality of the mass
  hysteria against that which threatens the meaningless lives of those who
  do not wish to have any meaning to their lives illustrate with which
  vengeance meaningless people will fight the requirement to think, to form
  an opinion, an idea, a thought of their own, different from what everybody
  else have already said they would approve of.  People who program in the
  main-stream languages because they are main-stream languages have yet to
  form the prerequisite concepts to say "I want to program in C".  They
  have not yet developed an "I" who can actually want anything on its own.

  That said, there are things that I really miss from C.  The ability to
  make full use of the one resource that is the most scarce in modern
  processors, the registers is sorely missing from the way Common Lisp has
  been implemented.  If I had the time, I would seriously investigate other
  options for representing fixnums and pointers instead of just dabbling in
  an area where I once considered myself knowledgeable, but failed to keep
  up and it appears to be a full-time job just to catch up.  *sigh*

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.