[Python-ideas] Retire or reword the "Beautiful is better than ugly" Zen clause

Tim Peters tim.peters at gmail.com
Thu Sep 13 11:52:21 EDT 2018

[Jonathan Fine <jfine2358 at gmail.com>]

> The first line from "import this" is
>         The Zen of Python, by Tim Peters
> I suggest we put this discussion on hold, until Tim Peters (copied)
> has had a chance to respond.
Don't look at me - I was merely channeling Guido ;-)

That said, "beautiful v. ugly" in this context has nothing to do with human
appearance.  It's in the same general sense as in other technical fields:
there's beautiful & ugly physics, beautiful & ugly mathematics, beautiful &
ugly computer code.

And not all people agree on which is which, and that's fine.  Whatever
_your_ aesthetic standards, you almost certainly prefer what you perceive
to be beautiful than what you perceive to be ugly.  It's as neutral, to me,
as "good is better than evil".

So I oppose changing it.

If I were to change anything, I'd drop the reference to "Zen".  That wasn't
part of the original, and was added by someone else.  If, e.g., a Zen
Buddhist objected that this use trivializes their beliefs, I'd have real
sympathy with _that_.  But I'd be greatly surprised if a Zen Buddhist
exists who objected to wordplay ;-)
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