Subject: Re: some stuff about the 2002 International Lisp Conference in SF
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 10 Nov 2002 18:00:56 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Andre van Meulebrouck
| Oh I think I understood your second point quite well; I just disagree
| with it.

  I think I am a better judge of that than you are.  That you now wish to
  fight the author over having understood something where your reply has
  given the author ample evidence that you did not, does not bode well.

| Your first point I thought was incomprehensible; and apparently you
| didn't wish to elaborate on it.

  You said it yourself: Usenet and email can be time sinks.  You appear
  much too hasty and unwilling to listen for my taste.

| Ultimately however, I go by my logic and what my logic tells me.

  I believe you think you do, but you also think you understood my second
  point quite well, which you did not.

| In fact, I'm getting beaten up on this list lately because of my maverick
| positions within the LISP community!

  Um, this is also wrong.

| So don't lecture me about being different!  In fact I dare say the reason
| for your tone with me is precisely because I am so different from others
| in the LISP community and I don't tow any of the LISP community's party
| lines!!!

  If you ultimately go by your logic, what do you use penultimately?

| My comments on this thread are born of my analysis of marketing issues;
| it is marketing issues that the LISP community is worst at, IMO.

  Yes, we are, and that make just about any looney tune better than what we
  have today.  Which is why, sadly, those who think they risk nothing come
  to Lisp to risk it.

| Your comment above about "programming language issues" is revealing.

  Perhaps you are unaware of how emotional you appear to me, but let me
  tell you this: You are /not/ a man of logic.  Your emotions do cloud your
  reasoning and you only see yourself above the clouds while we mere mortals
  see you behind the clouds, and you probably do not see us very well, but
  think you do, such as in your first line to me.  In this case, you imagine
  your clear purpose is to judge other people, not reason with them.  Let
  me just say that I do not appreciate being judged by people who do not
  take the time to undersand what I am talking about.

| The issues LISP faces aren't programming language issues at this
| juncture.  They are marketing and survival issues!  That is what I think
| you need to get clear on.

  It never was unclear before you even started your talk.  (I was unable to
  attend this conference for health reasons, so this is only to establish a

| I'm tired of seeing employers dump LISP (and they are dumping it very
| fast, those that still have any LISP code left).  LISP is *extremely*
| marginalized; and I don't like being marginalized.

  This goes directly to my stating that you fear being different.  Your
  frantic shrieking about "stand out" and "prima dona" are not contradicted.

| I believe what you mean by that comment is you think my posture of
| wanting to get on board with conventional technologies and work with them
| (rather than working against them) is letting somebody else "take" (sic)
| all my important decisions.

  Thank you for pointing out the misuse of "take" over "make", a remnant of
  my native tongue which I now cannot imagine how slipped in there.  But if
  you had been a man of reason and sound purpose, you would simply have
  written "make" to correct it without making a point of it.  You chose to
  make a point of it.  That alone is revealing of so many things about you.
  (Since you are into "revealing" things.)

| Assuming that's what you mean; I disagree completely with your assessment
| of what I'm doing: I don't feel I'm abdicating and letting someone else
| make my decisions.

  Of course you do not /feel/ that way, but what was this about ultimately
  going by logic?  You want on the bandwagon/juggernaut and you do not want
  to be marginalized.  That is, ipso facto, letting others make your most
  important decisions.

| When I look out on the world, I only see this world; not some world I'd
| prefer it to be.  Given that; I choose to live in this world, the way it
| is, as best I can.  It's all about strategy.

  The speech quoted by Thomas Burdick appears to apply in abundance.

| This harkens back to age old debates about what it means to compromise
| versus selling out; I covered these issues very deeply and thoroughly in
| my paper.

  I may eventually read it.

| Frankly, after my experience of writing and presenting my paper; then
| listening to the feedback, I'm not as optimistic for the LISP community
| as I am for the conventional world.

  Of course you are not.  I could have told you that before you started.

| I'm at the point now where I think it's time to give up on trying to make
| LISP the language win; and it's time instead to start dismantling LISP
| and packaging up the pieces to export out into the conventional world.
| LISP In Small Pieces, indeed!  (Awesome book, BTW.)

  This is the foretold conclusion.

| In other words, the concepts of LISP can be applied to the conventional
| world and live on in the genes of other technologies; but I'm much less
| optimistic about LISP the language ever winning in its current form.

  As long as you contrast "win" with "lose", you have already lost.  There
  is only one winner of the mass market in software, and it is Microsoft.

| The reason why is because the LISP community truly seems to have
| absolutely no interest in winning in the market place and seems quite
| content to remain marginalized (something I cannot personally live with).

  Would second best be to your satisfaction or would that be marginalized,
  too?  How far down the ranking list do you have to go before you are
  "marginalized" in your estimate?  Or in other words, which is the least
  popular non-marginalized programming language?  I need this only to
  calibrate my judgment of your accuracy of judgment.  I fear that you may
  lack this quality entirely and only go by your fealings.  (That you seem
  to think this is /wrong/, is all the more reason to suspect that you do,
  and this self-flattering nonsense about ultimately going by logic is a
  very loud alarm signal to people who know much more psychology than you
  evidently do.)

| I now realize I have very different goals from anyone else I've met in
| the LISP community.

  You have only talked and listened for an affirmative nod, not for any of
  the serious objections or reasons of your listeners, nor to what their
  goals might be.  You did not get the nod, thus you assume your /goals/
  are different.  What if your /means/ were unpalatable to those who have
  the same goals?  What if your /goals/ are poorly understood by /you/, not
  by those who listen to you, who understand them much better than you, but
  may also disagree that they are the most important goals?  You have not
  even made an /attempt/ to listen to what the goals of people here are.

  You assume way too much, Andre van Meulebrouck.

| Do I bow down to the LISP community and take on their tastes?  Or should
| I dare to be different and plot my own course???  =:0)

  You are a man of much contradiction and too little seriousness despite
  your very judgmental attitudes.  I feel sorry for you.  Now go jump on
  the bandwagon.  I sincerely hope you do not miss it and get run over.

  If you should change your personality dramatically and start listening to
  individual people, let me know.  We have something to talk about, but as
  long as you want to be the only one talking, my only desire is to make
  you stop talking and defending yourself and /listen/ to other people.
  Remember what I said about fearing to be different?  You consistently
  treat people you talk with as members of some group, not as individuals.
  You make conclusions about the community after talking to /me/.  I am not
  now and never will be the community.  If something I say represents the
  views of any group of people, it is by accident.  I never have paid any
  attention to the views of groups of people except that which they have
  formally agreed to agree on, such as standards and laws.  /Individuals/
  matter to me.  The masses matter to you.  When an individual disagrees
  with me, my one and only goal is mutual understanding before I can agree:
  to understand that individual and have that individual understand me,
  what we agree or disagree with at the end of that process is impossible
  to tell.  When a group of people does not agree with you, you are willing
  to reject it, unless you perceive that group to be the juggernaut of the
  market, in which case you change your mind.  This, to me, is the textbook
  case of one who fears being different and who acts from that fear when he
  feels left out a group.  But you are /not/ outside any group here.  All of
  us here are individuals and there are no sides to take, no group consensus
  that you have to fight as a whole.  People are willing to listen to your
  arguments and some of them may change their views on some small point or
  other, or maybe their general outlook on things if you are good.  This is
  what it means to let others come to you, which you completely failed to
  understand, but do not even understand that you did because you think
  that if it looks like something you could agree with in words, it must be
  something you can agree with in meaning.  It actually very seldom is.

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.