Is Emacs hard to learn?

For years, even decades, there's an idea floating around that Emacs is hard to learn. I've always been a bit puzzled by this, because the basics don't really seem that different from most other text editors. The commands and keys to use are a little different, but they're not any more arbitrary than any other editor. The focus on keyboard commands is different from what one sees today, but special keys like arrows all work. So why does it seem hard?

I suspect there are two main reasons for this. First, there's never any end of learning in sight. There is always something more to learn about what Emacs (or an add-on package) can do, and so you never feel like you have learned it all. Second, there's always someone who will tell you, probably in an unfortunately condescending way, that there's some magic keystroke or M-x command that will do something fancy for you.

Which is a shame, because being able to do more with text, quickly and efficiently, is real power. It's not that Emacs has a steep learning curve. Emacs has a practically infinite curve with no asymptotic limit. And that's something we should value in software.

(Of course, XKCD has weighed in on this.)