Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pythonic Means Pithy?

Some of the etymologists among you may be by crying "foul", as "pith" and "python" stem from different roots. However, pith relates to the spinal cord and backbone, and snakes are all about backbone, plus Python's __rib__ syntax provides ways for Python to stay pithy. Not that far fetched. Note also that "pithy" doesn't mean "so dense as to be obfuscatory" i.e. "pythonic" doesn't mean "cryptic".

We're seeing Athena's snake as the very same one Apollo supposedly slew when taking Delphi from the Pythians. She's alive and well in another part of the world, informing prophetic music (Thomas Paine: to prophesy is to sing). In dialing back to a more ancient wisdom, we're getting to the more medical meanings, the entwined snakes of Aesculapius.