A well-designed computer language, such as Lisp, strives to give its users “the illusion of infinite memory”: the programmer can allocate as many objects as he or she wants, and the language implementation is responsible for cleaning them up. As long as an object can be reached by the code that is running—as long as it is still useful, still capable of affecting the state of the world—then it remains “live”, and the garbage collector will pass it by.
Not so, alas, for human beings.
Rest in peace, Eric Naggum. You, who were passionate about denouncing the falsehoods that are commonplace in the geek world, are now in the World of Truth.