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Sunday Morning Meditation

by liz (Monsignor)
on Oct 26, 2003 at 08:23 UTC ( #302178=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

This may be caused by general depression because of the weather, and/or slight desorientation because of the end of daylight saving time and/or having again received too much spam again, but when I read "Give a man a fish; you have fed him for a day. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime." in The Q&A section: Teach a man to fish., I was thinking that maybe it should be changed to:

Give a man a fish and you have fed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you have created an ecological timebomb.

I guess I came to this wondering how many of those spam emails have been sent using Perl.

Anyway, that would be way too negative. And it would go against the principle of minimal diff. So maybe it should be changed to:

Give a man a fish and you have fed him for a day. Teach a man to fish responsibly and you have fed him and his descendants forever.

Thank you for listening to this early Sunday morning meditation.


Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Sunday Morning Meditation
by Courage (Parson) on Oct 26, 2003 at 08:44 UTC
    I don't know whether this will make you feel better, but first mailbomb virus with most damages was written using "Visial Basic" to drive MS-Outlook.
    I mean "I love you" virus.

    Courage, the Cowardly Dog

Re: Sunday Morning Meditation
by valdez (Monsignor) on Oct 26, 2003 at 10:08 UTC

    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use the Net and he won't bother you for weeks :) I'm joking or not? Look at this: Jhai Foundation.

    Ciao, Valerio

Re: Sunday Morning Meditation
by kutsu (Priest) on Oct 26, 2003 at 16:15 UTC

    We can only use our finite judgement to decide the possible and infinite implications of are actions and words. The monks here try to not to answer homework questions, with anything but a "look here for information on that" answer, or any question related to spam and that is all we can do.

    The fact that monks here feel guilty about contributing to spam, in any form, is a good thing - it means they will be that much more careful when answering question and actually care about the larger community, ++ to them.

    "Pain is weakness leaving the body, I find myself in pain everyday" -me

Re: Sunday Morning Meditation
by Anonymous Monk on Oct 26, 2003 at 15:11 UTC
    Give a man a fire and he's warm for a night. Light a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
      To give credit where credit is due, this is a quote from the novel Jingo by Terry Pratchett. "Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life."

      -- Mike

      XML::Simpler does not require XML::Parser or a SAX parser. It does require File::Slurp.
      -- grantm, perldoc XML::Simpler

      This comment is too "violent". I am sure you don't mean to physically light a man on fire, but to enlighten a man's spirit...

Re: Sunday Morning Meditation
by calin (Deacon) on Oct 26, 2003 at 16:49 UTC
    How can one teach somebody to do something responsibly?

    Wrongdoers (and people in general if there are no taboos or inhibitions) tend to get the max out of their acquired skills. You could maybe implant some inhibitor mantra into their psyche: I send SPAM, the police knocks on my door. Repeat after me! :). I don't believe you can make responsible by teaching a grown up that is not responsible in the first place.

    Some other related thoughts: Persuasion doesn't work (TM). Manipulation is 1000 times more effective. Lie, lie, mislead, pull the strings! Maybe this is all about responsible teaching.

    Ah, maybe your meditation involves the m-word. IMHO, that concept should be avoided altogether when dealing with the unwashed crowds of the Innurnet, esp. spammers. You're only wasting neurons.

    Another (unrelated to the topic) variation of the quote that I found on the 'net: Give a man a fish, he owes you a fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries!

      How can one teach somebody to do something responsibly?

      By telling them what you think are reasons for doing or not doing something. And why you yourself will or won't do that thing. And hoping that when the time comes and they have to make a decision, they will make what you think is the right one.

      How have you been taught responsibility? ;-)


        I don't know how children acquire responsibility. My knowledge of psychology is at layman's level. I guess something happens during adolescence. AFAIK, this is the period when moral traits develop. I don't want to elaborate because, given my ignorance in the field, I'm afraid of saying something stupid ;)

        On the other hand, from my experience I can say that trying to "teach" morals to an inveterate immoral adult is hopeless. At most you can make them behave by instilling fear. Re-read my original post, keywords: grown ups, persuasion.

Re: Sunday Morning Meditation
by TVSET (Chaplain) on Oct 26, 2003 at 17:00 UTC
Re: Sunday Morning Meditation
by zentara (Archbishop) on Oct 26, 2003 at 16:30 UTC
    Humans have been lamenting the "evil use" of technology since the "beginning". You can't put Pandora back in the box, even though we all want to. Don't worry about Perl, worry about things like genetic engineering.
Re: Sunday Morning Meditation
by etcshadow (Priest) on Oct 26, 2003 at 19:58 UTC
    Or here's my take:
    Give a man a fish and you have fed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll be back the next day asking you how to clean and gut the fish.
    I think that the world would be a better place if more people tried to teach their fellow man* to think and how to learn. You have truly equipped your brother for the world if you have taught him how to teach himself to fish.

    Anyway, I think that is something we should all bear in mind, espescially in a forum like this (myself including).

    "man" in the all-inclusive gender-non-specific sense of "mankind".

    Not an editor command: Wq
Re: Sunday Morning Meditation
by Anonymous Monk on Oct 26, 2003 at 18:15 UTC
    Humankind's "taming" of fire has resulted in untold deaths and vast damage to buildings and land. It's also enabled us to warm and feed ourselves more effectively.

    The telephone system means it's now possible to be annoyed by telemarketers almost any hour of the day. It also means you can stay in touch with friends and family at a distance and conduct business with far-flung associates.

    The internal combustion engine has led to thousands upon thousands of fatalities annually, to say nothing of the impact it's had on the environment and on the geopolitical scene. It's also given individual citizens unprecedented mobility and been a powerful engine (quite literally) of trade.

    Vaccines have side effects that can cripple and kill people. They also protect the vast majority of the population from contracting dreadful diseases.

    Calculus and physics make it easier to build and target devastating bombs. They also enable us to (begin to) understand the universe and to build incredibly useful tools.

    (Controversial:) DDT has profoundly negative effects on the environment. It is also a phenomenally effecive way of killing mosquitos and controlling malaria in poor tropical climes.

    We all know that any technology can be applied to both positive and negative ends. In the case of Perl, I would certainly argue that the aggregate good to the world is vastly greater than the bad perpetrated by a few miscreants who use it to spam, hack, etc.

    And by the way, while I don't want to get all political here, I think it's worth pointing out that the overfishing problem is a classic example of the tragedy of the commons...

Re: Sunday Morning Meditation
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on Oct 26, 2003 at 20:21 UTC
    Give a man a fish; you have fed him for a day. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.
    I thought that saying was:

    Give a man a fish; you have fed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he and five other will complain you haven't fed him.

    At least when it comes to Usenet, perlmonks and similar forum.


      And that reminds me of the quote from the Brick Top Polford character in the movie Snatch:

      If I throw a dog a bone, I don't wanna know if it tastes good or not.


      "If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber." -- Albert Einstein
Re: Sunday Morning Meditation
by sauoq (Abbot) on Oct 26, 2003 at 20:38 UTC

    Give a man a fish and you've fed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you've created a market for nightcrawlers.

    "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";
Re: Sunday Morning Meditation
by pg (Canon) on Oct 26, 2003 at 21:24 UTC

    Every time someone asks a question about how to send email to a group of people etc., how to hide email address, etc. A bell rings.

    My fax machine at home does not have paper installed, as that only feeds those people who sends garbage faxes. I only install paper when I know a fax is coming for a good reason.

Re: Sunday Morning Meditation
by bradcathey (Prior) on Oct 27, 2003 at 02:55 UTC
    Perl may be used for untoward purposes, from spam to porn sites. But it is also used to benefit altruistic endeavors as well--probably more so. But you can't blame the tool. Any tool can be used for good or bad. A gun can be used to commit a crime or stop one. And it can't be legislated--just like morality can't be legislated. The only thing that will change the use from bad to good is a change of heart.

    This is in keeping with your last "Give a man...". Responsibility, virtues, character, are the attributes we need to impart to those we have influence over. On a lighter note:
    Teach a man to write Perl and fed him for a day. Teach a man to use strict, and feed him for a lifetime.

      Er... this is only some boring rambling, but I think a gun is a *very* poor example, as using it probably leads to a (probably unwanted by the victim) death, which is always a bad thing, as deaths are not undoable. IMHO human life is more valuable than some things this thief might have stolen.

      Chemistry is a better example, as it has helped mankind, but also developed poisons etc.

      Most humbly yours,

        It was just an example.... I don't own a gun and I'm a true advocate of human life. And besides, it ties in better with my comment about legislating morality.

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[erix]: /hehehe
[marto]: LanX yesterday I found out about Gish gallop tactic
[marto]: "Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, dubbed this approach the Gish gallop, describing it as "where the creationist is allowed to run on for 45 minutes or an hour, spewing forth torrents of error that the
[marto]: evolutionist hasn't a prayer of refuting in the format of a debate." She also criticized Gish for failing to answer objections raised by his opponents"
[erix]: one would hope evolutionists haven't any prayers anyway

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