Cure Anxiety Through Telepathic Control Of Text

by Mike Levin

Monday, May 02, 2022

Too many things in life lean towards aspirational in nature. That sucks. In one of my favorite book series, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Elohim are a race of infinitely powerful beings who endlessly create without limit, but with to no real effect on the world. It’s the other extreme personified where nothing is aspirational because everything is easy and instant. They become island-gods within their own minds. That sucks too. We live somewhere in-between, starting ineffectual at birth unable to even lift our heads and backsliding to ineffectual as the rigors of age seize us, until at last we cannot lift our heads again.

Life is lived in the vibrating edge. We are only here because of highly improbable and only temporarily stable orbits. Forces existing at all inevitably cause such effects as oscillation, rotation, heartbeats and such. Around such temporary but still quite long-term oscillations forms life. The life that arises is in just the same state of temporary orbit and oscillation, until it isn’t anymore. Any fool can put a fatalistic twist on this saying “than nothing matters”. This is patently untrue. We have no idea how deep the rabbit hole goes during the time we’re here during “our turn”. It’s a greater epidemic of our time than the pandemic that children are not taught better ways to think.

I’ve got the cure. Information has something to do with it. Labels are stupid, but the grab-bag of things the label “information” encompasses includes such things as meaning and purpose in life, as well as the framework for some plans by which someone can achieve that state you might call “effective” or “satisfied” or what have you. Again, labels fail. But it’s a combination of things going on in your head, how it manifests or becomes realized in what we call the objective or real-world, and how the results of that interaction absorb back into you through your senses. So many people get stuck here falling into the trap of what’s called solipsism (so only I exist) and nihilism (then nothing really matters).

The only thing objectively real in this picture is information. Everything else can be explained away as potentially an illusion or a trick of our senses. This is called the problem of induction. Since everything you know comes to you through your senses, and senses can be tricked, there’s no way to know that anything is 100% real. Certainly the fact that we dream alone tells us this. And we live on the same basis as the legal system in that only because of a preponderance of evidence and compelling consistency makes us accept that we are interacting with others in some sort of common objective reality. To not believe this is to die sooner. I’ll take my turn to play, thank you very much. Accepting that there others much like us yet entirely different also in the game is a critical step. That leads to the “correct” golden rule of “Do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you” among other game-theory equilibriums.

Play? Game? But life is suffering and on the whole not worth it, right? Wrong! Many aspects of life are indeed that way but because so much of what’s important is what’s going on in your head, you can decide to live well. Make the best of a horrid situation. Change your mind enough to subdue the horridness into the new normal but plug your course to a better place. Endure but forge on with purpose and vision. Don’t regress to being a more basic pre-meta-cognition animal whose only choice is to go into shock and die, or live in sad paranoid fear of every shadow around the corner until you die from a slower, more heartbreaking form of shock: giving up.

Your brain re-wires based on the neuro-chemicals it’s awash in. If you’re negative all the time, your brain molds negative. If you’re up-and-at-‘em all the time, your brain molds resilient. We make ourselves who we are once our brain passed through the uncanny divide of being able to understand spoken language. We become meta-creatures more so than our more base-animal brethren, though they too have some bits of rudimentary meta-cognition. If you drop into fight or flight at every snapped twig, you’ll be addicted to norepinephrine, always anxious and die at sixty. From the moment you think therefore you are, you can start thinking yourself into being who you are. Before that, it seems greatly luck-of-the-draw chance.

So what’s this cure I propose? How can you take control of your mind, then your immediate situation, then your life? How can you move further from the reactive base-animal side of the spectrum more towards the Elohim? Honestly the only difference between the Elohim with god-like powers constantly materializing things into this world fully-formed only to evaporate and swirl into the next thing is that their stuff actually manifests momentarily into this world. Otherwise, it’s all thought. The only difference is that I guess they could manifest some food, clothing and shelter if they really needed to to get their basic needs met, and you and I have to work-for or inherit the goods.

These Elohim have what appears to be telepathic and instant control over energy and matter. They are endlessly inventive and Every Little Thing becomes real, no matter how momentarily. What I propose for you is a similar process. Ever want to write and not be sure how? What to write in, a paper journal or something electronic. If paper, what about your privacy, handwriting and writing speed? If electronic, what about your privacy and typing speed? And what about all that uncertainly of whether you’re ever going to re-read it and do anything with it? It can all be crippling and on the whole I suspect is a show stopper for most people.

Well what I’m telling you is that this is a skill like anything else, but for a few nuances and subtleties that make all the difference, which you really must get down if you are to start improving your life. The first few subtleties are in your mind, and the last few subtleties are about the writing tools. So first you must realize that you never really need to re-read anything. Just the act of writing has manifested the idea into a form of reality. That form of reality is interoperable idea-encoding. You have encoded your thoughts into manifest reality. Language is imperfect and full of lies. Gödel’s incompleteness theorems prove that no language is perfect. Live with it. This does not invalidate the tool. No tool is perfect. Just accommodate. Wrap the imperfections of the tools you choose into your “new normal” and if it really bothers you, draw a little too. Study the language’s blind-spots. Whatever. Just don’t give up on the idea of language and writing because there’s issues.

Okay, so those are the things in your head you must get over if you want to let idea-manifesting become an everyday skill and no big deal. That’s a cornerstone of every-little-thing-gets-done or ELTgd as I’m now accronymizing it. But what about the tool things you must know. Every piece of word-processing software you ever encounter will will let you down, but vim, emacs and their clones. There is no lifetime commitment by anything other than vi(m) and emacs to be with you for life. They are tied to companies, profits and the idiosyncratic user interfaces and platforms of the times they were born. Not with vi(m) and not with emacs. They are both the pee-in-the-pool of tech. They’re in and they’re not coming out. You can rely on them to never let you down.

What I’m telling you is that with vi(m) or emacs, you can always type and write as if you were born with the skill if your writing-tool is either vi(m) or emacs. First you lift your head. Then you crawl. Then you walk. Then you talk and ride a bike. Then you drive a car. Then you type in vim. That non-thinkingness that makes walking, talking and driving so second-hand applies to to typing and manifesting ideas. It’s not so right now in this world for most people because of the tyranny of tools, the profit-incentive of companies, the constantly shifting and changing shape of technology devices and their software we collectively call “platforms”. It’s all moving targets that works against your mastering writing, and thus your own mind and life.

That’s a fact. I could go into the reasons, but that will be for another time. You’re going to have to trust me on this, that nearly telepathic control over text that will last a lifetime and be possible on any computer is yours for the taking. The only hitch is mobile that doesn’t accommodate a full-size typing keyboard quite necessary for the sort of fluidity and going into the zone in vim and emacs that we seek. We deal with the mobile problem by copy/pasting from the mobile writing app of your choice into vim or emacs at your first convenient moment. Okay, so 2-devices in your life: one in your pocket (without the magic editors) and one on your keyboard-equipped device such as a laptop that does have a magic editor.

The sooner you can have nearly telepathic control over text the better. That’s just the modern world. Pushing text around and transforming it in various ways for various purposes, is power in today’s world. And barring anything but Armageddon where hunting and looting skills are the only thing that will displace it, it’s going to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Why does nearly telepathic control of text cure anxiety? Because it gives you something do to when the fight-or-flight reaction kicks in. Instead of scanning, scanning, scanning for the danger and the next thing to be angry at and blame for your problems, you can fire up vim and start typing and face your fears. Start peeling away the layers of what’s really going on. Always have a psychologist on-hand in the form of your own self. You are your best sounding-wall. You are your best therapist. You can listen to yourself forever while you type, tapping many of the same resources you would paying for a therapist to listen, but you won’t run out of time or have the additional anxiety about whether to be 100% truthful with another human being over shame or whatnot.

Tools, tools, tools. It’ll take you a long time to get there. But it gives you a solid, concrete thing to work on. As you master vim through journaling, you can start to do other things like blogging (publishing the bits you want to share), coding (using vim but with language-syntax rules), writing your resume or whatever. Being able to type well and write well is an eternal timeless skill. It is an asset inside of you that can’t be taken away. And so long as your editor is vim or emacs, even the software can’t be taken away through user-interface evolution, upgrades, platform-shift, expiring licenses, and all the other reasons no other text-editor or word processor will be with you for your entire life. Only vim and emacs “internalize” into your body as forever-skills. One day you can write their source code and binaries into your DNA because their licensing allows it. Try doing that with Microsoft Word or Google Docs!

Get Linux. You don’t have to run a Linux desktop or even make Linux the main operating system you boot into. If you’re on a Mac, it’s based on Unix which is close enough. It’ll run emacs or vim. If you’re on Windows, get Linux (probably Ubuntu) from the Microsoft Store. It’ll install. There’s some tricks to it still today, and you don’t necessarily want a Linux desktop running side-by-side with a Windows desktop. That’s just confusing. Avoid ziggurats of this-contains-that-contains-that. Just get text-base Linux and run it in a terminal. Oh, also get Windows Terminal. That is how you will access Linux.

Once you have Linux, run it through Windows Terminal. vim is already installed. That’s one of the things about vim. It’s ubiquitous. And unlike emacs which requires lots of customization to “settle in” and make it familiar and usable, pretty much every copy of vi, vim, neovim or all the other clones out there are the same. You can be functional right away wherever and whenever (100 years in the future for sure) you sit down. At most you need to drop 1 configuration file in location (your .vimrc) to make it even more comfortable and familiar. But anyone adept at vim doesn’t really need their personal .vimrc configurations to be in business right away. They can’t take that away from you!

Now type vim in the terminal. To quit vim, type:


There, now you’re initiated into vim. To learn what the heck is going on and to start down that path of nearly telepathic control over text that I’m promising you, type in the command-line of Windows Terminal from the command-prompt (after you quit vim):


Follow the tutorial. Learn how to move the cursor around with h, j, k & l. Learn that even arrow-keys are unnecessary. Absolute key-press commands that do things ROCKS! Your muscle-memory will sing for joy, and the same strange mechanism about human beings that makes the complexity of driving second-nature and not even something you think about will start to happen with text and typing. You’ll learn to do such things as choose your text-width, allow “hard returns” to wrap your text, and to reformat it with a magical [Esc]vipgq[Enter] command. You’ll curse the [Esc] key but understand that no tool is perfect, and that’s the price of vim. You can rebind the Esc key to something more convenient and understand that you’re coding a .vimrc configuration file dependency, but that might be okay because you can recreate it from scratch in moments on a new machine on which you’re using vim.

Start out with just a personal journal. You won’t have that much pressure on yourself to code or whatever. In the process of journaling to cure your anxiety you will be mastering a skill that will serve you for life, and I promise you, put you in another class than other people. I don’t mean to be classist or anything, but honestly vim (vi, neovim, whatever) will put you in a class above all other information workers in the high tech economy. And emacs will put you in a class above vi* users, but that’ll be the subject of another article. Even if you use vim and want to move onto emacs, one of the most popular emacs tricks is to emulate vim.

No project should be your one big project. Too much emotional investment in any one material product or undertaking sets yoy up for excessive disappointment. Failure happens. There will be failure over and over. Honestly, this is one of the big tenants of what life is about. I’ve got 99 failures but giving up isn’t one. That being said, try to make one text-file (journal.txt perhaps) that will be your one personal journal for life. You can edit other files, but this one is special. You can start it today. Make it safe by signing up for Github and use a private repo to keep your journal there. Sure, there’s risks, but use good “digital hygiene”. Use a good password and 2-factor authentication. Microsoft owns Github and they don’t want your private stuff leaking any more than you do, so it’s a pretty good solution for a place to keep a private journal these days.

As far as privacy on your own machine, keep your journal on the Linux side of your Windows machine. Let’s see a snooper find it there where only the command-line provides easy-access to the file-locations, hahaha! Yeah, there’s lots of ways to go about addressing the privacy and security when journaling, but learning vim and keeping it in Linux is best, I assure you. There’s further measures you can take, but that just causes artificial inertial resistance. You need to do everything you can to build motivation and momentum at this point.

And so that’s it. Once you can control text nearly telepathically, and thus exercise your mind, administer self-therapy and develop self-discipline (journaling daily), you will have in-roads into countless other things. Put “proficient in vim” on your resume. I assure you it’ll be a conversation-starter ‘cause it really does differentiate people. Learn how to code-up a FizzBuzz example and you’ll be more qualified for entry-level programming jobs than most people coming out of school who haven’t mastered vim. Honestly, vim is an professional and personal self-journey and education that may be more valuable than college. It’ll certainly be the one practical skill that will be with you for life no matter what else happens, short of Armageddon. And vim’ll probably help you during Armageddon too.

Don’t give up. You will be discouraged getting started. There is a deep learning curve. To give up is to hand over the reins of your life to some other person or agency. So often it’s moving back in with your parents rewarding some narcissistic need in them, ironically for them failing at their job to get you ready for life on your own. Come back home little bird because I never taught you to fly right. Now go fetch me some worms so I can go full-circle and turn child into parent-like provider. I’m helping you learn vim so that your dependency on other people for lack of skills just won’t happen.

There’s something to be said for interdependence and “it takes a village”. The thing to be said is that if you want that but you find yourself not in that situation, you’ve got to start finding your village or tribe, petition for membership, and lacking any clear valuable contributions you can start making immediately, start at the bottom-rung clique or cast-wise. Yup, there’s cliques and casts in tribes and villages. Everyone knows everyone and are all up in each other’s business. It’s what drive adventurous males out of those cesspools to make it on their own and perchance return in a better position.

Every idea has been had so no idea you have matters, right? Wrong! No idea has been expressed in precisely the way you do. Your interpretation, nuances, delivery, timing and indeed audience will be different. You can see that in how I wrote this article. It’s all been said many times before by many other people. Likely someone working in emacs has said it far more beautifully with far less keystrokes in an operating environment of their invention. But that’s a story for another time. There are may sort of wizards in this world and at the top of the wizard hierarchy are emacs users. I’m teaching you simple carpentry here with vim. Hammer and nail stuff. Learn vim and everything looks like a nail.

Nailed it.