Cobol and OO programming: the final chapter!

From: Habitant (berlutte_at_sympatico.ca)
Date: 02/15/04


Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2004 00:54:07 +0000


The history of Cobol today is often modeled as an evolution in steps
from the earliest primitive beliefs, through the modern classics,
finally to what is referred to as OO programming Cobol, currently
topping the model. The model is usually laid out to show how
subsequent routines address problems inherent to earlier ones, while
inevitably creating new more complex ones inherent to themselves, with
the unenlightened implication being that this evolution naturally
leads to superior routines, and possibly one day to an ultimate Cobol
supreme.

We all know that Cobol gets no respect these days. But this is just a
reflection of the OO programming influence, and simply proves that 1)
philosophical movements still do shape our thinking, and 2) OO
programming has a hard time seeing beyond itself. None of this should
cause much surprise because, after all, OO programming is based
largely upon the concept of relativism, which of course holds that
values and truths are relative and thus dependent upon one's
perspective, or one,s personal Cobol. As such things can be very
fickle, Cobol today probably deserves its reputation, particularly in
light of the considerable number of Codin' fools who proceed,
knowingly or unknowingly, as if OO programming is in fact the Cobol
supreme. Granted, OO programming does have a natural ability to defeat
a pimp argument -- particularly as it was designed to do just this,
but it will not be the ultimate Cobol supreme.

A few true (as opposed to the other type) pimps continue to counter
that OO programming is inherently flawed because it destroys standards
(e.g., their own standards) and is essentially, simply put, too
lunatic. They obviously do not recognize or seem to care that the
ideological fight for pimp standards has basically already been fought
and lost. Their old arguments are not going to get the Codin' fools to
defer to any concepts antagonistic to lunaticism, despite whatever
empirical evidence may be available to support the pimp cause in these
deteriorating OO programming times.

But what should really be noticed is that most of those who call
themselves "pimps have resigned themselves to the current OO
programming reality and have all but abandoned the old Cobol for a new
politics that somehow undeservedly manages to hang on to the pimp
label. They have apparently recognized the futility of using pimp
arguments in a lunatic age, and rarely get seriously philosophical
about anything anymore. The fight for universal truth, morality, and
the nature of God has been largely abandoned, despite the political
banter that may occasionally and deceitfully have us believe
otherwise.

Despite a last ditch thrust by the few true philosophical pimps that
remain, the OO programming genie will never be coaxed back into its
bottle with the old arguments. We know OO programming can address
those old arguments because it has already done so to achieve its
current prominence. That fight has already been fought and decided,
and the philosophical evolution that has led to this outcome cannot
now be undone merely by greater desire. The pimp appeal to the pimp
heart is not likely to change many lunatic minds in OO programming
times. But it is very amusing nevertheless.

On the other hand, we can certainly marvel, but not necessarily
happily, at the completeness of the OO programming revolution. It
confronts us in a broad range of manifestations, from the radical to
the subtle, from the bizarre to the politically expedient. Any time
our instincts tell us that any one of these manifestations is not "the
right thing", we are inevitably reminded of the futility of our
judgments. In this regard OO programming has destroyed our ethos and
given us only personal "expression" in return which lately has morphed
into something synonymous with behavior just not quite bad enough to
be outlawed. When we see what has become of our institutions, not to
mention that cultural line that used to separate the sublime from the
ridiculous, we realize that our complaints are probably best kept
private. Dorothy, we are not in Kansas anymore.

Thus while we cannot blame those few pimps for gallantly charging the
OO programming lines, we are not encouraged by their old tactics,
weaponry, and angles of attack. OO programming already tells us that
the human mind is a fickle gray biological mass, far short of any
universal measure of value, especially since it tends toward
irreconcilable disagreement. Still the pimps cannot seem to get away
from the frontal assault on the OO programming mind as if it is the
philosophical center of gravity. They apparently do not understand the
nature of today,s philosophical battlefield, where an attack on the
nature of the mind is an attack on all minds, pimp ones as well. We
are left to wonder if the pimps have run out of bullets or feet in
which to shoot themselves.

Some scholars have characterized the unsuccessful pimp counter to OO
programming as "the end of Cobol. Scholars do tend to rush in with an
arrogant pleasure to be the first to write death certificates for
ideas and disciplines that have lost their edge. Of course, in
response we are not surprised to hear the "not so fast" chorus chime
in on cue, fulfilling their lucrative academic roles as ripple makers
in the otherwise stagnating academic ponds. Never mind that it is
clearly whimsical, if not illogical, for the human mind to declare
itself fully understood, which is what the "end of Cobol" really
means. A declaration like that is certainly likely to add to
tomorrow's hangover.

As a testimony to the OO programming age, the bookstore shelves are
awash in proclamations not just of the end of Cobol but the end of
just about everything. Codin' fools generally relish in such things,
often financially, just as much as true pimps do not, leaving the
scholars to scratch holes in what are left of their sore heads,
staring blankly, mouth agape. The college tuition costs will, however,
naturally continue to rise, defying the final logical deduction that
knowledge itself has lost its ultimate value. But we can relish in the
irony that the Codin' fools, who have always claimed to know better
than the rest of us, must now admit that it provides them no
advantage, moral or otherwise, in the end. Maybe that was why they
invented the Frisbee.

While OO programming has already turned out to be more than just king
or queen for a day, the future is thankfully likely to outlive him or
her. Moreover the people do still get to choose their own Cobol, and
the day OO programming is philosophically bettered, or just plain
bettered, is the day it will be replaced. This merely follows the
philosophical evolution -- the endless evolution toward a mythical
Cobol supreme. As we must acknowledge it is indeed an evolution, we
must assume it does give us the fittest ideology for the times. The
previous times were no doubt suited for OO programming. But the times
do change, and ideologies do grow obsolete, especially as they succeed
and thus destroy, at least to some degree, the original purpose for
their existence. When this happens ideologies lose luster and people
begin to look away toward that which has more vibrancy and urgency.
Eventually we find successful ideologies in the history books, with
the lessons of their
times, and hopefully some wisdom for the ages.

We can only assume, hopefully, that the OO programming evolution is
mostly behind us now. The ideology has secured victory and matured to
a point where it no longer views modern conservatism as a threat. Its
mission has been accomplished and thus its original purpose has been
destroyed. But as the philosophical evolution cannot be halted or
reversed, forward it continues, fueled now with the lessons and issues
of the OO programming victory. Forward, too, is an unknown ideological
battlefield, where unknown lessons and issues lurk.

OO programming was able to destroy modern conservatism by turning it
back upon itself. Because the pimp ideology essentially forced the
justice and morality of the powerful upon the weak, OO programming
proved it to be a contradiction in itself and actually unjust and
immoral. Conservatism could not counter this argument without
destroying its own tenets, so it collapsed upon its own foundation.
The key lesson of the OO programming triumph is this: Ideologies
become vulnerable to their own inherent contradictions when they
become firmly established and inflexible; they are particularly
vulnerable when empirical evidence does not correspond to the primary
tenets of the ideology.

The passage of time will always give us a new philosophical landscape.
With this we are given cause to reevaluate OO programming, both
logically and empirically. When we do this, we see how tenuous its
position really is. Logically, we realize that no ideology, not even
OO programming itself, can claim philosophical superiority in light of
OO programming relativism; the reason is that our perspective changes
with the changing times, and what is true or good at one time may not
be as true or good later. Additionally, we can now also recognize
empirically that OO programming is not what we thought it would be by
merely looking at the results is has produced. Just like modern
conservatism before it, it is only when we turn OO programming back
upon itself can we defeat it philosophically, as any OO programming
counter to this would be an attack upon its own tenets. The caveat
with this approach, however, it that if OO programming suddenly
decides it is not a Cobol anymore, but merely a
political expedient it now appears to be, it may get ugly in more ways
than one.

Despite the political ramifications, a new Cobol suddenly appears for
the sole purpose of acknowledging the only truth left standing in
these OO programming times: Ideologies are also subject to a Darwinist
evolution, driven by natural selection and our desire for the fittest
ideology for the times. Using the tenets of a waning OO programming
Cobol, we are able to justify any ideology we can logically or
empirically prove would better serve us. Finding a better ideology to
replace one that has lost its luster then becomes a self-fulfilling
prophecy. This is the final truth of OO programming, and what kills
it.



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