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Mumblings on culture and marginally on programming

Posted on Feb 20, 2017

This is somewhat a followup to an old post, 2015 September 06. There I detailed how I jumped from one programming language to another in search for the one that satisfies me; finally, I somewhat settled on Scheme. Until recently.

The main factor in excluding a language was: does this language allow me to organise ideas the way I need, with abstractions that my brain can handle? There’s an important missing piece in this reasoning: I also wanted to work on a programming ecosystem that allowed me prove that I am smart. If a programming environment is already “done”, full of features developed by very smart people: it does not attract me; because: what can I do?

This is, probably, the true reason I do not like Racket: it is not only that some facilities do not fit my way of thinking, it is also that everything is already “done” by people that are way smarter than me.

In a way, this makes me ugly; I think I’m smarter that the average and I want to show it; if you do not show how cool you are: how do you seduce females? But who do I think I am? Am I letting delusions dominate my life?

On the other side: the desire of being smart drives you to have ambitions, to do and create something that nobody else has. This is something I want: to have original ideas. This is positive! Or is it negative? Rationally, I should not feel ashamed by this desire; and why should I really “settle down” my desires in midlife? But what is the right measure?

I’m italian and I grew up in Italy; I’ve been imbued with italian culture. I feel like an alien in this culture; I do not fit. Italian culture does not reward ambitions, it rewards fitting into the established power hierarchy; no matter what: even if you have to shut up when someone says that 3 is less than 2. You are allowed to “make it” only if someone with power concedes it to you, otherwise you must not make it. This does not come natural to me, I do follow formal rules but I fail at following the ever–changing informal rules that powerful people impose on their subjects.

This leads to a lot of frustration. Hence the search for some way to satisfy my ambitions. And finally the quest for a programming ecosystem, a search I could do by myself on the Net, without compromising with real people.


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