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The cult like aura...

by JanneVee (Friar)
on Jul 12, 2004 at 13:52 UTC ( [id://373603]=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I'm back with perl after a break, I have explored some few other languages, python, php, ruby and so on. I have not seen much about he following phenomenan I describe among perl developers.

Recently I had an epiphany of how some people get this cult like aura when they talk about their favourite language. This is just not only restricted languages but even applies to the latest technology or development model. This is kind of creepy they end up talk about their tools as they where the cure for cancer or atleast the problems that programmers/developers has batteled for the last half a century. You try to make a case for yourself that the tool is not going to solve all problems, but just alleviate some. The discussion ends up with "You just don't get it... tool/technology X is far superiour than tool/technology Y!" from the zealot.

I have yet to figure out the reason why some people resort to this line of argument... Do some of you monks have any insight to why?

UPDATE: This is not the question of why people support technology, but why people support things like they were salvation to every problem known to programmers. i.e. why some people resort to Zealotry in their support for something new, and ending up in somecases hurting their cause.

UPDATE2: This is not a troll about zealotry in the perl community. As I have stated on numerous replies to peoples post the number of zealots in the perl community is low in my personal experience.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: The cult like aura...
by Elian (Parson) on Jul 12, 2004 at 14:13 UTC
    Because that's the way people behave and, any personal obervations to the contrary, the perl community is made up of people. It's just a religious fight, the same way that the browser fights, editor fights, religious fights (real ones--there is life outside of computers), economic fights, philosophic fights, or sports team fights.

    It's just people, for better or worse.

      Yes, I know that it is part of human nature, but it is also a question of the discrepancy(did I spell the word right!). Look at If Perl was my first language... most perl hackers don't just answer "there is no need to look elsewhere you have to only skill you need, perl...".

      Because that's the way people behave...

      Not always. Vim really is better. ;)

Re: The cult like aura...
by arden (Curate) on Jul 12, 2004 at 14:21 UTC
    Basically, it is a matter of psychology. Humans are a social species, we like to be a part of something. Usually, we want to be towards the top of the hierarchy. In non-hierarchical groups, this translates into being one of the first to support a product/group. For proof of "wanting to be a part of something", just look at the sheer numbers of people who blindly sign petitions for such things as "Banning the Di-Hydrogen Oxide that's contaminating our drinking water" (gotta love Penn & Teller's new show on Showtime!) and others.

    Furthermore, by drumming up support for their "technology", they are making it more popular. This way, the product they use is less likely to dwindle off into oblivion, which would force them to learn a new "techonology". This carries over into every-day products too: make/model of car, brand of computer, model of DVD player (have you seen the Phillips DVP642?). The more people we convince to buy the same product we bought, the more the company sells (obviously). The more they sell, the longer they'll continue to sell and support it, and (in the case of computers & flash-upgradeable dvd players) the longer they'll produce upgrades/fixes for it.

    - - arden.

      Your first paragraph is right on, but I have a feeling your second may be attributing too much conscious decision to the average user. I think making a product popular is just a side effect of the quest for validation: getting someone else to buy what one bought helps one to validate one's own decision to buy. If everyone you tell of a new language adopts it right away, you'll feel pretty good about your choice, but if they resist and point out numerous flaws, you're likely to reconsider your own decision.

      I'd like to be able to assign to an luser

Re: The cult like aura...
by zentara (Archbishop) on Jul 12, 2004 at 14:31 UTC
    Ok, I'll bite.

    1. Self-interest? They are in a position to make money(or lose money) because of it?

    2.One of Perl's motto is "there is more than 1 way to do it". That is a very enlightened view. However, it is the nature of the human mind to try to "simplify problems" by reducing variables, and enforcing conformity. (Look at Windows).

    So technologists develop some new technology to solve some problem, and they proclaim it's "dominance" to encourage everyone to conform to using it, and thereby creating a "standard".

    Windows is a great example of this. Most knowledgable computer scientists, would not dispute the inferiority of the Window's OS. But Gates was smart enough to give it to the schools to use to teach kids, and the kids come out of school proclaiming that "Windows is the best, because why else would their esteemed and trusted teachers, have used it?).

    I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth. flash japh
      Yes but it still doesn't explain why, some people take the step accross to joining the "cult".
        When someone finds the real reason why they'll probably end up winning a Nobel Prize or being reviled as one of the worst villains in the history of neuroscience. Or both. (If the first then undoubtedly the second)

        Why is because people just join cults. Not all of them, by any means (people or cults, works both ways), but many, possibly most. They join because they almost can't not join. It's deeply ingrained in people, seemingly nearly as deep as the need for food, shelter, and children.

        Or, to put it more succinctly... "Just one of those things. Go figure."

        Human's have a problem with using "self-hypnosis" to justify their lives and's called being a "true believer". It makes it easy on the mind to become a "true believer", because you no longer have to consider all the "myriad consequences and responsibilities of your path".

        Look at the "cult of Jesus" or any "guru cult". They work by proclaiming that the followers are "absolved of all responsibility", which has been assumed by the guru.

        Also, alot of people just need to feel like they "belong", so they seek out and join movements.

        Do a google search for "true believer", and you will find alot of psychological research on why people do this.

        I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth. flash japh
Re: The cult like aura...
by jZed (Prior) on Jul 12, 2004 at 15:23 UTC
    Gosh, it's hard to believe that people would treat Perl like a *cult*, go on *crusades* to promote Perl, start *religious wars* about it, etc. After all, here in the *monastery*, the *monks*, *saints* and *gods* would never stoop to such metaphors.

    Here's the upside though - like any religion or philosophy, Perl provides a model of the world, a way of thinking about things, a non-tangible force whose use makes tangible changes in the material world. Levi-Strauss (the anthroplogist, not the pants maker) said that there are many myths about food because food is "good to think with" - the change in state from raw to cooked is a physical transformation that can serve as a metaphor for spiritual and social transformations. Well, Perl is also "good to think with" in that sense.

    The idea that Perl is only one of MWTDI, is a threat to some and a challenge to others. The Parrot project and Ingy's FreePAN (multi language CPAN) are some manifestations of the latter.

      The odd thing is that the Perl developers are much more pragmatic about these things, even though we join in a community that uses religious methaphors. At least what I have seen here.
Re: The cult like aura...
by injunjoel (Priest) on Jul 13, 2004 at 01:22 UTC
    Greetings all,
    They do it for some of the same reasons that people cheer on sport teams.
    Let us not forget the origins of the word "fan" (Fanatic for those wondering).
    Partly to belong to something.
    Partly to justify one's own decisions.
    For some its more about being right.
    For others its about being first.

    However, I think one of the main reason for the Zealotry is simply because its easy. If you have never used, seen or even heard about a particular new language, methodology or gadget that a Zealot is touting, then how well prepared are you to challenge it's validity? Most Zealots, that I have encountered, are of the type that gloss over the details, greps for buzz-words, then proselytize from the nearest mountain top, secure in their knowledge that they may not know everything, but they know more than you currently do.
    One way to prove yourself right is to prove everyone else wrong, this is generally when you get the "You just don't understand..." comments, a weak attempt to cut to the case and just declare you as WRONG!... save all the time arguing. human nature can be so silly some times.

    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." -Galileo
Re: The cult like aura...
by perldeveloper (Scribe) on Jul 12, 2004 at 22:07 UTC
    Update: Misunderstood the point, assuming the liberty to scrap mine.
      Actually I meant the opposite. The zealotry of the perl community is quite low as opposed to some other communities, what I have personally experienced.
Re: The cult like aura...
by artist (Parson) on Jul 12, 2004 at 18:30 UTC
    • They don't know good alternatives for their work.
    • They are constantly looking for all-purpose medicine.
      That is something along the lines I was looking for. The whole psychology thing playes a part but, that is probably the rationalisation to become a "true believer" of the new shiny toys that people find.

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