Geekery: Objects vs. Closures

I’ve deliberately avoided a lot of geeky posting here, since I’ve been trying to keep this more of a traditional journal. But this mailing list excerpt excerpt is just too good not to post:

The venerable master Qc Na was walking with his student, Anton. Hoping to prompt the master into a discussion, Anton said “Master, I have heard that objects are a very good thing – is this true?” Qc Na looked pityingly at his student and replied, “Foolish pupil – objects are merely a poor man’s closures.”

Chastised, Anton took his leave from his master and returned to his cell, intent on studying closures. He carefully read the entire “Lambda: The Ultimate…” series of papers and its cousins, and implemented a small Scheme interpreter with a closure-based object system. He learned much, and looked forward to informing his master of his progress.

On his next walk with Qc Na, Anton attempted to impress his master by saying “Master, I have diligently studied the matter, and now understand that objects are truly a poor man’s closures.” Qc Na responded by hitting Anton with his stick, saying “When will you learn? Closures are a poor man’s object.” At that moment, Anton became enlightened.

I realize this probably went over the heads of 100% of my readership – heck, I can’t even claim to fully grok it. Don’t worry, I’ll get back to posting bulletins about my boring life soon enough.

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  1. Which just goes to prove that a “master” is someone who likes to say obscure things and looks for excuses to wack people.

    1. LOL

      The funny thing is, these computer science koans (any koans, really) usually piss me off, but this one contains real wisdom. This is one of those situations where something really is two sides of the same coin, but the coin itself has no unique identity. Something that eastern philosophy, perhaps, comes to terms with better than western.

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