I am working on Spacemacs which gives you the ability toggle between Emacs "holy-mode" and Vim "evil-mode". However the evil-escape minor mode is still enabled. I am trying to find some way to disable evil-escape in the holy-mode setup function and then restore its previous state (enabled/disabled) in holy-mode's teardown function. I tried this but it didn't work.

  ;; setup
  (setq evil-escape-mode-set (symbol-value 'evil-escape-mode))
  (evil-escape-mode -1)

  ;; teardown
  (when (evil-escape-mode-set)

but the teardown doesn't seem to work. How can I accomplish this?

  • No need to use symbol-value or even define a variable. Every properly defined mode defined a variable with the same name you can use for this.
    – wasamasa
    May 18, 2017 at 21:01
  • But when I have to save that variable evil-escape-mode in order to restore it correct? May 18, 2017 at 21:02
  • No, it's set to nil or t by the mode.
    – wasamasa
    May 19, 2017 at 6:12

1 Answer 1


It's unclear to me just what you are trying to do.

But it looks like you are setting a variable and then expecting it to be used as a function.

Emacs Lisp is a "Lisp 2", which means that you can have a variable and a function with the same name, and they are totally unrelated, by default. It also means that if you want to invoke a function-valued variable you need to use something like funcall or apply, not just have that symbol as the car of a list that is evaluated.

I think all you really want to do is this:

(when evil-escape-mode-set ...

instead of this:

(when (evil-escape-mode-set) ...

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