I really love Emacs. It provides a great outlet for my creative energy while still being really useful every day.
It also provides a safehouse from the frustrations of the computing world. Programming is now the art of stringing together other APIs. And, if the APIs that in question are really nice and easy to use, this is a wonderful experience. More often than not, though, APIs are not nice. Legacy systems mean the state of the world yesterday creeps eternally forward, and the lack of shared ideas between systems means an extreme lack of commonality.
Emacs is just as subject to these forces. Indeed, in some ways bad abstraction and accumulated cruft is more of a problem in Emacs than in other systems. Emacs is thirty years old, after all. But, each component is extremely hackable. And, since they are all unified by the restrictions and assumptions of Emacs Lisp, Emacs’ components tend to work together really well.
Emacs lets me explore all kinds of things. I use it to explore how to improve my concentration and filter distractions. I’m able to explore combining different components, and how this works for me.
Org mode makes a really good wiki. With it, I can organize knowledge whenever I need to think about things in a logical, connected sort of way. This is great for some of the topics I study personally.
Emacs lets me explore the space of possible hacks, too. Quick and dirty solutions are really easy to implement. Thus, I can explore what is possible and what is useful.
Ultimately, it gets out of my way and lets me think about things. I know that it I have some large problem with it, a solution is only a hack or two away. As I search for a good solution to a problem I am facing, I know I can scale the solution up to the problem, regardless of basically how hard the problem is, or how strong the constraints end up being.
Emacs is really a pleasure to use. I hope that you embrace it, and it brings you as much joy as it has brought me.