Subject: Re: Difference between LISP and C++
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 30 Oct 2002 09:19:39 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Erik Naggum
| Ah!  This yielded some valuable understanding.  Clearly, those who enter
| the world of Common Lisp do not have to "face any facts".  Amazing.

* Pascal Costanza
| Of course they have to, but this is trivial.

  The fact that people do not get it strongly suggests otherwise.

| I haven't said that I see it this way. Please read again: "When _they_
| see people who ...".

  But they do not see people who /do/ this!  Damnit, are you so unable to
  see reality because of your emotional attachment to a parallel universe
  that you cannot even grasp that you are factually wrong about something?

* Pascal Costanza
| You still haven't understood what I want to encourage. I don't think that
| you even have any clue.

* Erik Naggum
| Yes, Pascal, I understand /perfectly/ well what you want to encourage.

* Pascal Costanza
| No, you don't. Your posting proves this impressively. Would you please just
| stop spreading misinformation about me and/or my motivations?

  How utterly predictable a response.  Your basic problem is that you do
  not know how to listen to people who are not just like you, that is, just
  like /everybody/.  You lack something quite profound, but I am not sure
  what.  You clearly lack general empathy and need to make a choice about
  with whom to share your feelings and the rest you openly favor attacking.
  You clearly express such a strong dislike of other /people/ that you must
  have failed to realize your own role in how you perceive them.  It is not
  possible to fail to realize this unless you are functionally braindead.

  You clearly believe that your understanding is sufficient and thus refuse
  to listen to anything more from the outside world.  You believe that when
  you find some evidence to confirm your already clearly prejudicial view
  of another person, it constitutes proof that they do not understand you.
  You would clearly not recognize an accurate description of yourself from
  another point of view, but this tremendously consistent with your basic
  attitude and your complete and utter failure to /think/.

  You tell me that /you/ do not think I grasp what you are after.  But look
  at this: you claim that your view and your needs represent the majority
  of people.  You are right about that.  Now, /please think/.  If you /are/
  the majority and I am in the minority, how could you possibly believe
  that I have not already and many years ago figured out exactly how you
  guys work?  If you had the brain to do it, this would be a grave insult,
  but you do not think ahead.  You do in fact not think at all, because the
  things you say can only be uttered by a mind closed shut long ago.

  How can I detect that you do not think, you may wonder?  It is very, very
  easy: Do you exhibit an /understanding/ of ideas or positions you do not
  agree with?  Now, the first reaction you come up with to this point is
  "and vice versa" -- which is a very strong clue that you do not understand
  before you attack your opponent.  To a thinking person, it does not matter
  that the other guy suffers from the same problem.  It does not influence
  the argument one bit.  But to the non-thinking person, this is all there
  is to it: Hurling accusations back and forth to cause bad feelings.  This
  is how I can tell that you are completely /unthinking/: The whole point is
  that you are a feeling person who does not believe in thinking.  The
  first, and if your behavior here is indicative, the /only/ thing you do is
  check how you feel about something.  If and only if you feel sufficiently
  well, can you dare to open your eyes and look at the actual contents.

  Now, this is precisely how the majority of people react.  There is nothing
  special about you at all.  There is nothing whatsoever that could prevent
  anyone from understanding how these people work.  Everywhere, and I really
  mean /everywhere/ people are like you, Pascal.  Now, in my view, there can
  be nothing as insulting towards another person as a claim that he has made
  no distinct and personal impression, but some people have to make up the
  masses, too. and if they can think of themselves a something because they
  are non-descript, replaceable members of the masses, so be it.  Pascal has
  given voice to the rebellion of the masses, where /not/ knowing anything
  means others should listen to them, where being /newbie/ and unwilling to
  learn is a virtue.  The people that the world would benefit the most from
  attracting is, in the views of Pascal Costanza, those who have nothing to
  offer anyone.  The calls for a more popular Common Lisp is precisely this:
  that the more nondescript nonspecific entities we can count, the better.
  But how do we attract the masses?  Pascal thinks that I do not understand
  this because I retch and puke whenever I think of attracting the masses.
  To this unthinking member of the masses, anyone who considers the masses
  to be the root cause of human misery, does not understand him, and proves
  it impressively.  The sheer inability of members of the masses to grasp
  that someone could /not/ value the masses higher than the individual make
  them believe that others have not /understood/ them, because, clearly,
  anyone who /understands/ the masses has to agree with their value.

  I watch politicians and marketing departments, I watch commercials on TV
  and hear them on the radio, I see ads in the newspaper and on the Net, and
  I read the deceptive and manipulative nonsense of large companies like
  Microsoft and I /know/ how it all works.  Propaganda and marketing are not
  hard to understand.  It is not hard to predict what will make people buy
  some piece of shit.  All it takes is the total abdication of respect for
  the human being as a thinking being.  /This/ is the hard part, for even
  the terminally comatose retain some inkling of the value of their brain.
  But to succeed in mass marketing, you have to dispell every notion of
  respect for the human being as anything other than a programmable cash
  machine.  And it can be programmed very easily.  The main problem with
  today's mass marketing is not that not all of it works, it is that /all/
  of it works, so in order to be heard in the deafening cacophony of mass
  market advertising, you /really/ have to go overboard.  Again, this would
  not be possible if you thought people had a working brain.  In order to
  attract the masses, you have to stop thinking.  The only way you can keep
  the masses around is if you do not demand that they think, because the
  moment someone thinks, that is the moment they cease to be the masses.
  The masses are stupid by /definition/.  The masses is defined by absence.
  Be /anything/ and you are not a member of the masses.  Hell, even /yearn/
  for anything and you are not a member of the masses.

  The problem is not in understanding Pascal Costanza and his masses, it is
  in making them realize that they have been understood.  Nobody likes to
  hear that they are stupid, but the masses are the only ones to /fight/ it.
  Anyone who is /not/ a member of the masses can point to something they
  have accomplished in their lives and say "I'm not stupid, so what made
  this other guy think I am?".  The members of the masses rebel against the
  very notion that the masse are stupid with intense feelings of rejection
  and hatred towards those who dare speak the truth, but by doing so, they
  have proved the very thing they challenge.  The only way to successfully
  challenge a criticism against your mental capacity is to put it to shame
  by showing what you got.  Stupid people do not grasp this, while every
  smart person I have ever seen have figured this out long before they
  talked to me about it.  Therefore, the whole point with denying the masses
  the opportunity and right to be stupid is to drag those individuals out of
  the masses who find that they can do better than being a member of the
  masses.  Again, the stupid masses do not grasp this, but every individual
  worth his salt does.  Against this process, we then have Pascal Costanza,
  the premier proponent of hedonistic feel-goodism where only one's own
  feelings matter and attacking others is perfectly legitimate if it makes
  you feel better.  (This is also how these dysfunctional idiots see other
  people and every form of "attack".)  Instead of encouraging people to take
  the step out of the masses, Pascal Costanza actively encourages people to
  remain members of the masses while he, another member of the masses, tries
  to pretend that he is nothing special, /everybody/ has problems with Lisp
  syntax and so on and so forth,  It is precisely the /everybody/ aspect
  that makes Pascal Costanza a member and proponent of the masses.

  So, Pascal, I have not spread any misinformation about you at all.  What
  on earth (or substitute any other place as appropriate) made you think
  that I would try to say something I do not actually mean about you or your
  cause?  You are the kind of person who spreads willful misinformation and
  tries to make people believe in falsehoods.  The people you defend and go
  to great lengths to encourage are the kind of people who revel in making
  up things that they think would hurt others.  Every facet of your behavior
  here confirms that your goal is to reduce Common Lisp to a mass market
  language, which means: to chase away every independent thinker, every
  person who has a different opinion, evere nonconformist, every single
  person who does not agree with everybody else -- which is to say: every
  single person who is not "nice" to everybody else.  The only way you can
  have people together for an extended period of time and have them all be
  nice to eachother is if you lobotomize the lot.

  Your task here is to destroy every single shred of individuality and real
  personality and replace them with your bland niceness and unthinking
  masses.  The only way you can /actually/ achieve "be nice" for a large
  group of people is to get rid of those who think the first and foremost
  requirement for a newsgroup posting should be "have an interesting
  opinion or point of view".  For people who want to think, the worst that
  can possibly happen is that they first and foremost need to cater to
  every sulking child's "feelings" and "be nice" to every aggressive idiot.
  Pascal Costanze has shown us that he is foreign to neither of these.

  There is no misrepresentation of motives or desires here.  The "be nice"
  crap is crap precisely because this is a diverse forum for people who are
  not in a parent-child or teacher-student relationship.  The "be nice"
  line is good and works very well when the "nice" person has an actual
  responsibility for the person they are nice to.  If the primary purpose
  of a group of people is to care for eachother as real human beings. this
  is a good line.  Such cannot be the primary purpose, nor even a purpose
  at all, of an electronic world-wide forum.  I do not want to ask this
  forum for sympathy when my cat gets ill or when I get ill, nor do I want
  to read hundreds of messages that ask for such sympathy.  There is no
  doubt that it is "nice" to have people who care about you, but a forum
  for the programming language Common Lisp is not suitable for it.

  I /really/ wish people like Pascal Costanza could undestand that there
  are more ways to interact with other people than to become personal
  friends with everybody -- and especially that being personal friends with
  somebody requires something of you that you cannot spread too thin among
  too many people.  Something very valuable in the very concept of a friend
  breaks down and loses all meaning when you have hundreds of "friends".
  Wearing your heart on your sleave is /idiotic/ in the world at large, but
  is may work well in a small group of people who have an actual interest
  in helping each other.  Contrary to what the feel-good people believe,
  actually caring about another person requires time and effort that has to
  be prioritized over something else.  A very good friend of mine battles
  some pretty nasty psychological after-effects of ecstacy use and I have
  carried him for months at a time over the past two years, but there are
  times when I have to take care of myself first.  To someone like Pascal
  Costanza, who wants me to invest in such a lowlife as "Mel" and spend
  time to "help" her (it would not /actually/ be help), and who wants to
  waste his life on "helping" such people, I can only say that he has never
  been a /real/ friend of anyone, nor had any of his own.  It is impossible
  for someone to ask people to "be nice" and care for somebody's feelings
  if they had ever really taken care of another human being.  It is so easy
  to fake feelings of deep care over the Net -- children fall for predatory
  adults who abuse and kill all the time -- but it is essentially impossible
  to /actually/ care deeply about another person you have only met through
  their choice of words.  For most people, more than 90% of communication
  with other people is non-verbal.  On the net, 100% is verbal, meaning
  that not only is the non-verbal dimension /absent/, the force of their
  verbal communication skills completely swamp every other aspect of their
  personality.  How many have not been infatuated with a person they have
  met online only to be shocked by how much that other person differed from
  what they had believed they were like?  How many times does a person have
  to repeat this experience before they learn that people are not what you
  believe they "have to" be just because you extrapolate from yourself or
  your personal experiences.  The incredible injustice you do to another
  person by believing you "know" them because of what they have said is
  evidently not within the grasp of these feel-good people, who probably
  never even bother to check whether other people actually conform to their
  mental models or not, but if you /think/ about how /little/ of yourself
  you reveal in your words in a public forum, it should be so obvious that
  it is impossible to base anything on that information with respect to
  what someone might do in the future.  Since the most useful feature we
  have with our ability to construct a predictable person out of encounters
  with real people in real life is that with the continuous flow of further
  information and correctives, our predictions are /fluid/ and our ability
  to deal with another person is based on the continuity of signals.  On
  the Net, the signals are /discrete/, in response to particular situations
  in a context we do not know and cannot predict.  There are people on the
  Net who are so devoid of capacity to reason that they say somebody else
  is "predictable" if they react hostilely to certain obnoxious behavior --
  and yet do not understand that what they tell others about their need to
  taunt others is extremely predictive for their future behavior.

  "Be nice" is great advice to give to people when the information flow
  about them is continuous and you deal with real people, because it
  amounts to predictable behavior on your part, as well.  However, on the
  Net, we have discrete interactions, full messages at a time, with no way
  to determine what is coming before it has all been read.  What I think is
  the real problem here is that the Pascal Costanzas of the world are unfit
  for electronic communication -- they re-create their usual continuous
  person-to-person interaction electronically and wonder why it does not
  work.  Because they are also tremendously unthinking and stupid, they do
  not consider their failures to be indicative of something wrong in them
  -- it is always somebody else who is at fault when those others are not
  "nice" to them.  So instead of creating a "warmer" environment, the
  Pascal Costanzas of the world create an environment of /faked/ care for
  eachother, where the /appearance/ of their pretend personal interaction
  is vastly more important than discovering the uniqueness of the medium
  they are actually using.  I am quite certain that the Pascal Costanzas of
  the world are harmless beings in their natural habitats, but on the Net,
  they are the very anathema of intelligent discussion and debates, because
  people are no longer complete people with a continuous information flow
  about their entire person.  To require people to "be nice" in such a
  setting is to tell them to maintain the /illusion/ of continuity between
  each message such that the feeble-minded feel-good people are not
  subjected to surprises they do not have the capacity to deal with.  To
  demand this is to kill every /real/ aspect of anyone's personality, as
  one has to enter a newsgroup "role" that resumes unchanged from the last
  message posted.  Instead of achieving a "warm" atmosphere, what they get
  is a bunch of role-playing actors who pretend to care for eachother.  The
  language they use may well bear an uncanny similiarity to the /actual/
  warm language of real people in a real social setting, but the only way
  this immature and unevolved approach to online interaction can take place
  is if the /only/ purpose to the interaction is to be social.

  Those who have studied "online addiction" have categorized people's
  persona on the Net in three stages: In the first stage, they adopt one or
  more "roles" and play various games with respect to other people who are
  also expected to play roles.  People usually pretend to be their fantasy
  self, just like children at play.  Most people leave this stage quickly
  and quit playing roles.  In this stage, the purpose of the interaction is
  to have other people approve of their "character".  People regularly use
  assumed names and work hard to hide their real identity in this stage.
  This is the "fantasy stage".  The second stage occurs when people switch
  to be themselves and make an informed choice about what they are willing
  to tell people or not.  In this stage, the purpose of the interaction is
  to let people in on a restricted part of their life, just as they would
  real friends, pen-pals and the like.  This is the "realistic stage" where
  the online world is a natural part of their real lives.  The third stage
  occurs when the entire self takes place online.  People share an enomrous
  amount of personal information with others and seek out others who are
  willing share just as much, but they still mainly talk about themselves.
  The volume of personal details is often two orders of magnitude more
  detailed than the typical secret diary, and some people create web pages
  which detail to an incredible degree what they did and how they felt
  during each day.  This is the "absorbed stage" where the Net has taken
  over their lives and they display every symptom of being addicted,
  meaning that they would feel intense withdrawal symptoms and feel that
  they had ceased to function normally if they could not be online, when in
  fact they have ceased to function normally sometime /before/ they entered
  the third stage.  Now, the real kicker is that some people skip the
  second stage and go directly from the fantasy to a self-absorbed stage,
  and these are the people that need the most attention and care if they
  are to regain normalcy.  There is some indication that people who have
  never actually grown up in real life also fail to enter the second stage.

  What I see with these incredibly immature feel-good people who want the
  Net to be "nice" is that they, too, have skipped the realistic stage of
  their electronic interaction with people and either relate to others as
  fantasy figures mainly of their own creation or attempt to deal with
  "real people" by filling in all the blansk.  So they live in a fantasy
  where both they and other people play roles, like this new JPL lunatic
  with his eerie "dance" mantra, or they want a world where other people
  are much more personal than they would be in real life, like "Mel" and
  Pascal Costanzas.

  Unfortunately, people who truly believe that all human interaction should
  be exactly like face-to-face interaction can never be expected manage
  more complex human relations and processes.  To them, everything is about
  /people/ and the continous flow of information that people present to
  eachother in real life.  Interaction through memoranda fails.  Interaction
  through debate articles in newspapers fails.  Interaction through articles
  in professional journals fails.  Interaction over time by reading books
  or articles that are one hundred years old fails completely because these
  people need the full /personal/ context of another human being in order
  to deal with anything they say at all.  The concept of dealing with the
  expression of an idea cannot possibly arise with these feel-good people
  because they cannot "feel" /anything/ about, say, Thucydides, who founded
  the science of history with his history of the Peloponnesian war.  The
  need to /feel/ before one /understands/ is therefore the very antithesis
  of the distinctly /human/ communication over vast spans of time and
  geography and with people one does not know personally.  First and
  foremost to cater to the feelings of other people denies everyone the
  opportunity to take part in the distinctly /modern/ tradition of /not/
  having to know the person in order to trust his words.  When facts can
  offend before they illuminate, when ideas can hurt before their meaning
  is grasped, when the expression of a thought has to be crushed because
  someone becomes ill at ease, we abandon the concept of civilization and
  of learning from the experience of others.

  What we need to become more civilized is not residents who cater to the
  unknowable feelings of "newbies", but newbies who are mature enough not
  to take offense at facts and advice offered in good faith.  If someone is
  likely to feel bad for having received appropriate advice or answers to
  his questions, that person should grow up in the confines of people who
  care about his development before being let out in public.  To attack, or
  to defend such attack, someone because one has personal sensitivities
  that are deemed to be "offended" on purpose when they are not explicitly
  catered to by others is the kind of immaturity that loving parents should
  take care of, not other people in a forum where the exchange of ideas and
  experiences should be unfettered by the emotional problems of people who
  do not have the decency to curb their expression of same.  If it is the
  ability to learn from the experiences of others we want, we cannot suffer
  the debilitating lack of development found in people who think only of
  their own feelings and nothing of others.  It is precisely /because/ we
  all have "sensitivities" that would stifle all communication if all of us
  were to rise to demand respect for them that /none/ of us must abuse the
  public forum for personal emotional needs.  To demand that a public forum
  be turned into a /private/ forum where only a few people are allowed to
  field their emotoinal needs -- and it will always have to be only a few
  -- is to make a demand on some people to suffier in solitude while others
  are allowed to demand the attention of everybody to cater to their needs.
  The injustice of this scheme is reason enough for its indecency.

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.