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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Isak Dinesen++

A great Isak Dinesen passage, found, of all places, in the C++ programming language textbook I must devour for work:
"...and you, Marcus, you have given me many things; now I shall give you this good advice. Be many people. Give up the game of being always Marcus Cocoza. You have worried too much about Marcus Cocoza, so that you have been really his slave and prisoner. You have not done anything without first considering how it would affect Marcus Cocoza's happiness and prestige. You were always much afraid that Marcus might do a stupid thing, or be bored. What would it really have mattered? All over the world people are doing stupid things..! I should like you to be easy, your heart to be light again. You must, from now, be more than one, be many people, as many as you can think of..."
-Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), "The Dreamers"
I feel a sparkling joy when I read old lit--whether it's ancient or just half a century old, like this passage--and recognize the timeless world of human drama as my own.

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Blogger Alice on Sun Jan 28, 05:00:00 PM:
But why was the passage in the C++ textbook?
 
Blogger Ben on Tue Feb 06, 12:02:00 AM:
I don't know. But now that you ask, I have a theory. The author, Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of C++, is acknowledging that his language is not of a piece, but is rather a notorious mishmash of incongruous programming language elements. He is indirectly addressing C, the predecessor of C++: You have worried too much about being C. You have been C's slave. You must, from now, be many languages, as many as your contributors can think of...