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Thursday, November 29, 2018

religion of text editors

My colleague has recently been encouraging me to learn vi.  Vi has long been on my list of things to master that I just never quite got around to.

I think this topic also interests me because some people can be so passionate about it that they end up giving bad advice to others. There's a kind of religious component to it which is something I keep coming back to in my life.

hy should choice of text editor have a religious component? (But then why should normal form theory in non-linear dynamics in particle accelerators have a religious component?) I think it has something to do with certain people that have dedicated years of their lives, if not the majority of their lives to technical development within a very limited domain. In order to live in such a limited domain, one must make every detail extremely significant.

There is something about life under constraint that pushes the development of religious perspective. But then someone who doesn't live under the same constraint interacts with these people, or the tools they have developed, and the person who lived under constraint assumes that others will have the same constraints. This might be out of ignorance, or perhaps subconscious malice, the kind of psychological process by which trauma recreates itself. Something along these lines is going on in the VI vs. Emacs religious wars. But in the end, these are powerful tools which ought to be learned. Can't we find ways to teach these powerful tools without recreating the old traumas of those forced to work in such constrained circumstance?