[Arcana] yank-pop navigation

Karl Fogel kfogel at red-bean.com
Fri Dec 19 01:17:26 CST 2008

You'll never, ever know whether I actually read that.

But, are you saying that even if yank-match is rewritten to set
kill-ring-yank-pointer instead of modifying kill-ring itself, it will
still not be right?

Roland McGrath <roland at frob.com> writes:
>> I could just respond with "Patches welcome."  That would be classic, and
>> well-understood by all :-).
> But that would be ducking my obvious baiting to get you to instead
> respond with ...
>> But I'm curious: what is the tao of M-y beyond, you know, just using
>> M-y, which I do all the time?  Give me some concrete examples -- maybe I
>> can grok what yank-match is doing wrong and fix it.
> But do you really use it?  Or do you just hit M-y without understanding
> the meaning of your actions?
> It's that M-y works by changing the value of kill-ring-yank-pointer.
> (That's what makes the kill ring a ring, really.  The average person
> only ever comes round the other side by enough successive steps of M-y,
> after all.)
> The actual order of the kill-ring is the true record of the sequence of
> kills, and is inviolate.  yank-match-modify-kill-ring is fundamentally
> wrong because it's so accurately named.
> By hitting C-y, you enter the yanking state of mind, an ancient and holy
> discipline inherited from our forebears.  This is similar to the more
> modern minibuffer history state of mind, achieved in various ways such
> as hitting M-x M-p.
> The yanking state of mind is a bit like the weak nuclear force in
> comparison to kill ring sensation being like the strong nuclear force.
> (Even noninitiates are familiar with kill ring sensation, though they
> may have been involved in one of those sad cults where it's known as
> "clipboard anxiety".  As we all know, this is the physical sensation
> produced by the inner knowledge that part of one's brain is momentarily
> absent from any buffer that auto-saves, and present only on the kill
> ring.  Healthy fingers have an autonomous reaction to kill ring
> sensation that moves toward C-y in the absence of firm direction from
> the higher nervous system.)  But I digress.
> In the yanking state of mind, one becomes preternaturally aware of one's
> position along another axis of which we are often unconscious, and able
> to move to and fro along this axis at will.  It's like when you suddenly
> transcend normal space and are able to wiggle to the left hand side
> through the fourth dimension.  But in Emacs it's easier explain to others.
> As our ancestors lived, one could move along this axis but not see down it.
> So M-y, M-y, M-- M-5 M-y, M-2 M-y, guessing how to hop about and seeing
> where you wind up.  (It's a habit that gels in the motor nerves much
> like C-u C-u C-n, C-u C-n C-u C-n, C-n C-n dances between the fingers
> and eyes to get to what you had no idea to start with was 26 lines down.)
> When I was still young yet already well-reared in the old ways and those
> nerve pathways laid down, there came browse-kill-ring (b-k-ring.el).
> This is like getting a full snapshot map on a large sheaf of paper,
> showing every point along this axis and the local conditions in detail.
> It has everything there is to know, but it's wholly unstructured and you
> must plot your positions on the map from first principles.  It jars you
> completely out of your innate sense of your own position, pretty much
> killing the yanking state of mind until you actually go plodding through
> the pop-up buffer and pull the rip cord.
> yank-match is just, well, naive.  Though entirely well-meaning, it
> tramples on our ancient traditions through sheer ignorance.
> Then comes kill-ring-search.  It is sort of isearchy, which is the kind
> of hot hot miscegenation whose offspring eventually winds up amazingly
> sexy.  It almost feels like it knows what I want in my deepest secret
> heart.  But it makes me nervous, and my traditionalist tendencies just
> can't quite get used to its new dance steps.  It could possibly make me
> forget about the still place in my soul that can feel my way along the
> kill ring in the yanking state of mind, and so I'd only revel in its
> wild new fashions and bright colors.  But that would be the death of the
> sacred ways we learned and were entrusted with when we were young.  I
> yearn to believe that I can honor the ancient and true in respect of my
> own history, and also drink lustily of the luscious bounty of youth.
> As I alluded to earlier, modern science has taught us to see into
> infinite new dimensions in the minibuffer history state of mind.
> This is of course an advance of immeasurable value, but it does lack
> a certain subtlety and romance.  We enter this state always with a
> material aid (the minibuffer) that we can see and operate with our
> pedestrian physiology in the common spatial dimesions.  One can
> experience one's location and travel along a minibuffer history axis
> only momentarily while using this device, and upon resuming normal
> corporeal experience, one has snapped back to the common plane.  The
> yanking state of mind, by contrast, stays with us with a deep echo
> that affect our lives directly as we go about mundane activities
> after shifting our position along the yanking axis.  This resonance
> fills us and surrounds us, it directs our destiny, and it's killed
> only by--a kill.
> All I ask is that your science should open my eyes but not sully my soul.
> Is that concrete enough for you to grok, young master?
> Thanks,
> Roland

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