December 20, 2016

It is funny how I vainly try to escape devilish org-mode. I have several major concerns regarding it as a GTD system and a note taking system, but after all, whatever I try to replace it with, I always return to org-mode. Mostly because it’s simple (at least at the top level) and makes me feel more confident about my thoughts, tasks and the future. But on the other hand, it makes me really angry because it forces me to make some uncomfortable decisions.

Michael Hall has a nice blog post about org-mode being a GNU-shaped devil on his dot unplanned blog. It’s really an interesting read. My favourite part is about all the devilness of Emacs in general and org-mode in particular.

With Emacs, you don’t just go “la la la … I’m gonna add org mode back and call it a day!” You think to yourself, “I love org mode. I wish there was an easy way to turn an e-mail message into a todo …” and the next thing you know you’re dealing with how to configure GNUS.

Then you think “All my calendar stuff is in Google calendar … how can I get it into my org mode agenda?” and that means you’re off reading this guy’s page and just getting angrier and angrier.

Then you go in the kitchen and make a drink, and while you’re making it and calming down you think to yourself, if I’m doing all this stuff in Emacs anyhow, what would it hurt to follow Twitter in Emacs?

Now you’re not drinking because you’re angry … you’re drinking because you wonder what happened to you and it makes you sad. But you’re drunk, so it seems like a perfectly good idea to build an entire Web site using nothing but Emacs because then you can get a LaTeX version of it for if the asteroids hit and their radiation destroys all HTML. And having decided to do that, part of you thinks about how glad you are you have org mode, so you can organize the lengthy process of making sure you never have to leave Emacs again.

It’s knowing what’s in store for me as I sit here with MobileOrg on my iPhone and the necessary WebDAV share all set up that makes me read this and just want to spit nails:

At its core, Org-mode is a simple outliner for note-taking and list management. You can learn the basics for using it in five minutes. This may be all you need, and Org-mode will not impose more complex features on you.

That’s right … because org-mode is just a collection of lisp running in an editor. It cannot impose more complex features on you. The genius of org-mode is that you will eventually impose more complex features on yourself.

Indeed. The more time passes the more complex stuff I impose on myself. When I stop thinking about it, I am really happy. Because I know that I started to use Spacemacs on 16 April 2015. And that today I have two important meetings and a booked table in a Chinese restaurant. And most importantly - there is a clear list of PRs I am going to merge on my weekends. This is a true happiness, isn’t it? And addiction is a great thing.