Immutability

I’ve been coding software using OOP principles for over 15+ years. To those outside of the computer science industry, OOP stands for Object-Oriented-Programming, which is a widely practiced programming principle from students to professionals.

One reason why OOP is very famous is because it is very intuitive (I practiced it as a child without me realizing), and another one is because it naturally simulates the behavior of the physical world.

But, this month, I’ve been introduced into a new and strange principle, one that seems to wage war against the standards that has been set by OOP.

Recently I’ve been introduced to Functional Programming (FP), and not just on a theoretical perspective but on a practical basis. Whereas mutability is a byproduct of OOP, immutability is favored by Functional Programming.

Immutability is the state of not changing, or being unable to change.

Immutability offers specific benefits to programmers. I’ll try to list some:

  1. It makes code more predictable, which may result into lesser code complexity, which may result into lesser bugs
  2. It leads to less code, which means less things to maintain and test
  3. Some specific complex functionality could become simpler

Aside from a computer science standpoint, I’ve been thinking about immutability on a different perspective, one that transcends beyond the barriers of computer science. Below are three immutable things which I’ve been pondering about:

God, firstly, is immutable. His nature does not change. His holiness does not change. His standard does not change. His justice does not change. His mercy does not change. His love does not change. His grace does not change. He is the same, He is the beginning, He is the end, He does not change. He is the same now as to the time when He created the Earth. Five years from now, you can can expect that He’ll still be the same. No deed of mine, no vision of mine, no ambition of mine, no character of mine, no friend of mine, no thought of mine, no good deed nor sin of mine could ever change the nature of God.

Another immutable thing that I can see is this: the nature of the world. Try to follow me: Look at the times where we are now. Do you agree that we are in a strange season? It apparently seems strange. Our experience is strange. But, when under the scrutiny of a deeper critical thinking, are we really in a new, strange season? On a different note, transitioning from the pandemic topic to a computer science one, innovations have been springing up from left to right, but again, are the nature — the deepest foundations — of innovations really new? Is the Teacher from Ecclesiastes wrong when he said, “Nothing is really new under the sun”?

The last immutable thing that I’ve been pondering about, is the purpose to live. Has the purpose of life now changed as compared to pre-pandemic times? Has our destination ever changed? Has our reason to live, changed?

I find it funny how I am drawn to these things — How I tend to find connections between seemingly unrelated things. But then, are things really unrelated?

I am glad that there are immutable things — Things that do not change, regardless of space and of time. I find that these are things that I can throw everything I have at, everything my life can offer, and still be confident that in the end, the immutable things will remain immutable, always.

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