Self Wright

Tag: creativity

Lisp is dead ? No, just lispers.

Came across this quote from the “Naggum-mine”:

An uncomfortable answer is that the Common Lisp community is hostile to creativity. People argue that Lisp is dead, but it is the Lispers who are dead. With a few exceptions, people who use Lisp have given up, and they only require, they do not provide.

Many Lisp programmers demand that sockets and multiprocessing should be standardized before they want to use it, which penalizes creativity like nothing else. Many Lisp programmers think it sucks to interface with other (inferior) languages, some in general, some because it isn’t standardized, some because they fail to understand how software is organized and want a perfect world.

But what about creative composition? In order to be creative one must first gain control of the medium. One can not even begin to think about organizing a great photograph without having the skills to make it happen.

In engineering, as in other creative arts, we must learn to do analysis to support our efforts in synthesis.

One cannot build a beautiful and functional bridge without a knowledge of steel and dirt and considerable mathematical technique for using this knowledge to compute the properties of structures.

Similarly, one cannot build a beautiful computer system without a deep understanding of how to “previsualize” the process generated by the procedures one writes.

Gerald Sussman, Foreword to “The Little Lisper”

Neither programmers nor users are able to purchase a modern computer which behaves sanely – at any price. We have allowed what could have once become the most unbridled creative endeavor known to man short of pure mathematics to become a largely janitorial trade; what could have been the greatest amplification of human intellect in all of history – comparable only to the advent of written language – is now confined to imitating and trivially improving on the major technological breakthroughs of the 19th century – the telegraph, telephone, phonograph, and typewriter.

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