Textmind

Why plain text?

Plain text is special. The best version control system in the world is written for it: git. Git can ensure you never lose data and let you return to any saved state. The storage cost is minimal, and administration is easy with the right tools.

Most personal info management (PIM) tools can't actually handle a lifetime of mental output. They choke on the volume. However, the code that runs all computers is written in plain text. As a result, extremely powerful plain-text manipulation tools exist. These are much more powerful than PIM apps such as Evernote.

Emacs and git are power tools. They can handle enormous codebases. Your mental output is a light load in comparison.

Do you think the Linux codebase is bigger than your mind? What about just the plain text that your mind holds?

Isn't that amazing? People speculate that one day AI may catch up with the human mind. But Intelligence Augmentation already has.

Humans who wish to remain relevant during the Singularity should begin the upload process now! (I'm exaggerating… right?)

You don't have to believe the hype. But this is why Cyborganize uses Textmind to handle plain text separately from other data types. It's good for you in the long run.

Where'd Textmind come from?

I was used to being strong, fit and able to figure out anything I studied. Then I developed a chronic illness that caused severe brain fog. Suddenly I was helpless and stupider than those around me. I couldn't even focus to get work done.

I felt useless. I was useless. So I started studying productivity methods and software.

A weakness is also a competitive advantage. I had nothing to lose, so I tried everything. Guess what? Most of it failed shamefully. But I was already a shameful failure, so I kept going.

Through much trial and error, I eventually built a productivity prosthetic that could handle the worst my illness could throw at it.

It could smoothly resume from month-long gaps. It could wring every drop of value from miserable barely-awake 3AM sessions. It could remember everything I'd forget. It could hold my personality and identity together through tribulation.

I was useful again.

What does it do?

Textmind does everything you need to do with plain text, except coding and publishing.

It's easier to talk about what Textmind doesn't do.

Your Textmind is one git repo. You'll want separate git repos for code and publishing projects. For example, this website has a git repo separate from my Textmind.

Your Textmind is your main mind, and you split off repos from it whenever necessary. These are called Textminis, and are Textmind satellites.

Textmind is your journal, task manager, calendar, and knowledge manager.

Textmind is comparable in function to other all-in-one PIMs. However, its fluid text workflow is unprecedented.

By using the strengths of the computer to complement the weaknesses of your organic brain, Textmind increases your applied intelligence.

It transforms idle thought into adaptive action. It becomes your OODA loop.

That probably sounds exaggerated. It's not.

How does it work?

The rambling daylog

Well, back when I was a brainfogged idiot, I would just sit at the keyboard and ramble. Later I'd have to disentangle the mess to form something coherent.

It turns out everyone thinks that way. Thoughts jump around. One topic flows into another, twists and loops back again unpredictably. Tasks are the same way. And nobody can avoid interruptions.

The only way to keep an accurate record of the day is with a daylog – a chronological append-only record of everything that happens. But it can't just cover events. Thoughts are a huge part of the context of events. That includes what you've read. So really, this daylog needs to include everything you did and everything you thought, or at least close to it.

That's why the first piece of Textmind is the ramblog – a rambling daylog. This is the true record of your subjective internal experience.

The dashboard

Of course, you can't work very effectively in an append-only document. The dashboard provides an outline workspace to organize your thoughts until they're ready to be transferred to the ramblog. It also keeps track of the day's reminders and tasks.

It's very helpful to see the day at a glance in the dashboard.

Processing yesterday

Yesterday's ramblog is an unwieldy mess. So you must process it.

Delete the extraneous. Package the rest into separate atomic headings – one per thought. Title them appropriately, and file them in the Textmind directory tree.

Sometimes a heading is too complex to title neatly. There are two ways to deal with it.

  1. Save it for the end of normal processing. Then dive into disentangling it with the help of Emacs Treefactor.

  2. Publish it as a T3 post in Pubmind.

Decomposing a complex heading is a great way to get work done and make decisions. By deeply focusing on a single topic, you greatly increase your applied intelligence.

Pubmind relieves pressure on Textmind by handling large headings that don't obey the atomic rule.

A long thought train covers multiple topics in a way that is greater than the sum of its parts. Rather than lose that value by decomposing it, publish it as an essay instead. Or publish one copy and decompose the other!

The atomic rock tumbler

After processing the ramblog, you have tens or hundreds of atomic headings, each about one thought. Now you need to organize them.

You file them into the 10 Bins, which allow you to organize all your thoughts:

1-Outbox  
2-Codex  
3-Persinter  
4-Time  
5-Location  
6-Object  
7-Name  
8-Action  
9-Background

Emacs Treefactor lets you rapidly file atoms deep into this tree. You can create and maintain a structure that syncs with your mind.

This is possible only thanks to the incredible ergonomic speed of Treefactor. It is unprecedented.

Everyone thought mind-machine sync would happen via brain-computer interface. But actually it's possible with the most popular and advanced mind-machine interface in existence: keyboard + monitor.

These atoms will jumble against each other, as you think with your fingers. Refiling them unlocks creativity and reinforces your memory with spaced repetition.

The atomic thoughts will grow perfect and polished as they collide with each other, removing the false and the extraneous, like a rock tumbler making jewels of common river stones.

Your brain evolved to navigate paths while exploring as a hunter gatherer, so retrieving information from deep in the tree feels natural, like remembering the path to the berry bush.

But won't important stuff like tasks and appointments get buried? Don't worry, they're handled separately. Org-mode is the best tool there is for that kind of info!

What about links? Those work too. You can link by heading or path. Some paths are ephemeral, but many are permanent, and Textmind tries to maximize path permanency to facilitate symlinks.

Work in progress

This documentation isn't complete. That said, it's hard for me to tell what's missing, since I already know it.

Moreover, a significant part of Textmind's ergonomic configuration code is currently in my personal Spacemacs layer, which isn't a good medium to encourage adoption. [2020-01-27 Mon 11:59]

Join the Discord and complain about something specific to encourage me to fix it.

Links

Software

by others

by me

Personal info management

GTD

Textmind

Further reading