On Appreciation

By Xah Lee. Date:

dear Dave n reader,

I'm tired of veracious rants, so i'll be straight forward. I will apologize not because it is my style, but to make myself clearer. Sorry about the mess i wrung in February, and i appreciate you lending me a ear for a moment of mutual understanding now.

I do not know lisp, really, thus i do not appreciate many deep discussions here. However, I think the word “appreciation” is under appreciated. If i were suddenly to converse with Einstein, his relativity would be nonsense to me. If i were to hark Beethoven in his time, his 9th would fall on deaf ears. If Shakespear were to travel in time, similarly, i'm sure he would not understand my talking of the Internet.

I remember watching a episode of The Simpsons cartoon, where a Jazz musician is playing a unusual piece in a bar. One audience grumbled “What was THAT?” and Lisa Simpson said helpfully: “you have to listen to the notes not played”, then the guy said “I can do that at home!”.

The point of “appreciation” — besides the “thankful” meaning — is that developed artifacts require conditioning and sometimes significant intellect to appreciate. Honestly, how many of you here can understand Chinese calligraphy? Count Bach's counterpoint? Perceive Dickinson's furor on paper? Visualize theories of polytope? Or, how many of you would smile when a pun in French is spoken? How many of you can get Perl poetry? How many of you can realize a Picasso?

An elegant Scheme would not sing in front of a industrious C droid; i'm sure many of you can appreciate that one!

There are “infinite” number of developed artifacts and one cannot develop appreciation for them all. It would be all right to not understand something, but it would be imbecilic to put judgements on things one don't understand. This is especially important in newsgroups, because almost every public posts are now archived. Anyone can in minutes discover all writings and thoughts of another on the net. If i don't understand lisp, it would be wise to not bray about how lisp is stupid or otherwise criticize, because my stupidity would be archived and open for all in the know to see. (By the by the way, i have committed no such stupidity. (i hope))

I had a fictitious dream yesterday, where i was nominated a Nobel Prize laureate in Literature and was going to give my reception speech to a thousand voracious lurkers in appreciation, then a voice in the crowd shouted:

btw, that Xah guy was the stupidest poster I've ever seen on any newsgroup, by far. He was a waste of resources.

Then i saw this guy loomed up and become quite _naked_. His belly, clear in sight, grew like the way a balloon bloats. It is growing so quick and huge that it is filling up the entire auditorium and is going to squash me like a meat patty. At that point, i awoke and found out that there is a post in comp.lang.lisp waiting for me to reply to.

Thank you Dave for your plebeian ear. I fully appreciate your raw candor. If everyone in the world are guile and cunning like me, appreciation would be faaked in the ass.

PS There was Planner, there was Conniver, and we have Guile and we have Scheme. Can we have Cunning? (i wanna be a cunnilingual programer.)