The absence of a deep emotional connection between humans and the natural world is at the root of the environmental crisis.

Can you think of a place in nature that you know really well?

Close your eyes for a moment and see what comes up.

Can you visualise the place in exquisite detail? The sounds, the colours, the smells, the subtleties that only you know.

Do memories surface? Perhaps you have known this place for a long time. Maybe you spent golden moments from your childhood here? There might be happy memories tinged with sadness or regret?

How does it feel when you bring this place to mind now?

Please don’t rush. Take a moment to connect.

Now another question.

How would you feel if this same place was under imminent threat? Imagine someone is destroying it right now. What do you feel? Anger? Sadness? Shock? Resignation? Nothing at all?

Can you imagine that you might actually do something immediate and tangible to help protect this place?

Be honest with yourself.

If you really have a deep connection with this place, it is likely that you might feel moved to do something. That’s obvious, right? We naturally and instinctively act to protect that which we care very deeply about.

But what if that deep connection with a place is absent? How would that affect your response? It’s a beautiful place but it’s not your place. Are you still likely to do something about it? Is it your responsibility?

Let me paint two scenarios for you…

You are walking through town at night and you see your best friend looking dishevelled, sleeping rough on the street. You haven’t seen him for six months. There is probably an initial shock: “Oh my God, what happened?!!” You instinctively reach out for him. Before you know it your arm is on his shoulder: “Come home with me. Let me take care of you”.

Now another night. This time you see a random stranger looking dishevelled, sleeping rough on the street. Be honest. What do you do? Is it someone else’s problem? If your heart is big enough you might give him some money or buy him a sandwich but is he coming home to sleep on your couch? Perhaps you rationalise your inaction by reminding yourself that you donate to the local homeless charity. You might remind yourself to vote for a politician who appears committed to doing something. But most of the time most of us don’t do anything at all.

Why the difference? It’s obvious isn’t it… in the first scenario you don’t even think. You have a deep emotional connection with your best friend and you have to act. In the second scenario you might feel sad and you might recognise the tragedy of the situation but there is no emotional connection between the two of you, so more often than not you don’t act.

John Steinbeck put it very well when he wrote (at a time when there was famine in China): “It means very little to know that a million Chinese are starving unless you know one Chinese who is starving.” There needs to be an emotional connection for the thing to have any meaning.

There are several reasons to having a preferred language. However, our language might become drab at times. It is no longer maintained by the firm that makes it, or people quit using it for some unexplained reason.

Other languages, such as C, which continues to be the most popular programming language in many circumstances, have withstood the test of time.

The point is that programming languages appear to have a life cycle, and the end appears to have arrived for some.

Here are several languages whose future appears to be bleak:

1. Visual Basic .NET

There used to be Visual Basic 6, but Microsoft appears to have wished to do rid with it and instead launched the VisualBasic .NET program. However, migrating everything to this new version of Visual Basic appears to be an excruciatingly tough operation.

This is notable because, in 1991, Microsoft enhanced the BASIC language by purchasing a graphic designer from Alan Cooper to include it into the language.

Cooper used another language at first, but Gates instructed him to change it to BASIC, which the former Microsoft CEO believed was the easiest language to learn.

As a result, Visual Basic was formed, ultimately including objects and sophisticated programming techniques.

But then something happened: Anders Hejlsberg, the man in charge of Delphi (at Borland), left the business to join Microsoft, where he started the C# project.

This language is similar to Java in many aspects, and after some time, C# became Microsoft’s new language standard. Simultaneously with the birth of C#, Microsoft programmers invented VisualBasic .NET, which has the same syntax as BASIC but the code mimics that of C#.

Both languages made their presence known, but C# appears to have won the popularity contest. For this reason, it appears that Visual Basic is condemned to extinction.

2. Delphi

Delphi, which is just Pascal plus Objects, is most likely on its way out. Embarcadero has attempted to support it, and new versions are still being released. Perhaps what transpired was a series of strategic blunders on Borland’s part.

For starters, they changed their name to Imprise for whatever reason. However, this did not work. They reverted to the previous moniker and abruptly separated their database tools from their programming tools.

The latter was renamed CodeGear, but for some reason, people began to suspect that something was wrong: so many name changes, so many strategy changes began to drive away its supporters.

It remains to be seen whether Embarcadero’s ongoing efforts can keep Delphi afloat, but it is evident that Delphi is losing favor in the programming world. Perhaps it’s time to switch to a different platform.


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