emacs heaven

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i hope they have emacs in heaven

Thunderstorms appeal to me. It isn't just that I'm an introvert at heart, and a nature lover. It's something else, too. Ever since childhood, long before the turbulent adolescent years that gave me lifelong anxiety and simultaneously brought me fledgling UNIX, I've always loved the rain.

I share that as a calibration of sorts, to establish that I know when something fits without justification or psychological precedent. And I don't so much seek the rain as the atmosphere it carries, a sort of rarefied buffering of the noise and whirling madness of everyday life, a sort of something-sacred-this-way-comes vestment that drops over the daylight and matches the energy of the day to my baseline mood.

So when I say that emacs resonates in a similar way with me, you'll see that I've thought about this.

mind mapping and marval priorities

There was one other time that I discovered something in-phase for me. In the mid-nineties, when I lived in Atlanta, I got my hands on a shareware disc. I was ghosting a book for the retired CEO of a heavy equipment conglomerate, and part of the deal was a primo laptop. On that CD drive, I discovered a shareware CD, forgotten, with some cool programs.

The most interesting of the two were a program called "Above and Beyond," which automatically shifted tasks by juggling timeblocks, and a then-unknown tool from Tony Buzan called "MindManager." I set about using them both, and they were definitely on my wavelength, but both of them induced a standing wave ratio greater than 3.0 in my head. The ideas came furiously, and the tasks got blitzed at warp speed, but there was no navigator.

Unfocused creative activity is a like a drug: it feels amazing, but it leads you nowhere in particular without realizing that you've disconnected from reality.

enter emacs

Luckily, I discovered emacs before I was too far gone. It might have been the timing, it might have been the flexibility, it might have been the fact that I could do everything from one screen (while constantly changing the screen without actually losing anything). Something about it felt right to me, a perfect fit, like rain has always felt.

As emacs has grown over the years, and I have grown with it, I've found a way to meet all my screen needs with it. It is at once disciplined and flexible, spontaneous and ordered, frenetic and balanced. Actually, that's not quite true: I'm the one who's bringing all the contradictions; emacs just provides a flexible vessel that can handle them and blend them and support their contrapuntal coexistence in a sort of seamlessly cantankerous way. And that makes it a perfect fit for me.

I don't recommend it, per sei

My purpose here is not to promote emacs, but to encourage finding events and phenomena and tools and people that fit your way of being. When I hired into the MAAS team at Canonical, I knew I had found my people. I can be the class clown and the IRC troll and the mediator and the explainer all at the same time, and nobody doubts those roles, and nobody sees that as good or bad: it's just who I am, and I fit, and everybody leaves those jobs to me.

What I'm getting at is bigger than an extensible text editor, or an occupation, or a beloved season. I'm saying it's worth finding your resonant frequency, the node where everything's in phase and you can transmit in the clear without looking over your shoulder. I'm convinced everyone has a sweet spot, and once you find it, goals and competitive measures and key milestones dim down enough that you can enjoy life and handle it well, whatever's happening. It's a place where even silence is a source of pleasant sound for you, where the trunk noise is familiar music and the tone is 20dB down on the nose.

To indulge myself in the all-too-obvious, it's a place that's right as rain.

Author: stormrider

Created: 2020-08-11 Tue 20:44