Subject: Re: Behold! The Square Wheel
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 12 Nov 2002 22:53:05 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Patrick W
| Seriously, has anybody ever presented a better case for going back to the
| history books?

  What this stunt really tells me is that people who think XML is a great
  idea do so because they have never seen any other ideas.  I came to that
  conclusion many years ago when I tried to educate people on SGML, and
  people went "Whoa!  Hierarchical structure!  Dude, that's /really/ cool!"
  That experience was not unlike one I had when I attended a meeting on
  Norway's membership in the European Union, after I had read some 3000
  pages of documents and reports and had followed the legislation carefully
  for about a year: The speaker was intelligent and had probably done more
  homework than I had, but the audience?  My goodness.  The only reason
  they could believe what they believed was that they were overwhelmed by
  the first idea they ever met and objected to any later idea because it was
  different from the first and their mental capacity was limited to one idea
  at a time, meaning that /understanding/ their opponent's point of view
  without agreeing to it, which is the most fundamental requirement of a
  debate, was unachievable to them.  It was not made any better by the fact
  that they were completely unable to illuminate their position to someone
  who did not already hold it.  This applied to both sides of this ludicrous
  waste of time.  So I became instant hero for managing to make /one/ issue
  clear to both sides so they could at least argue about the same thing and
  people flocked around me to hear what other genius ideas I had.  It was
  downright /sickening/, not the least because these people would eventually
  /vote/ on the issue and our politicians had promised to listen to them...

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.