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A recently learned, broadly applicable pattern:

For tasks that look like traversing a list, a durable form of memory is required to assure the entire list is touched.

Can you elaborate a bit on this? For an unchanging list, one only needs a current interior position, and only durable enough to complete the traversal.

I'll agree with that, and I'd add that you need to be sure the index won't change while you're not looking so you can know that each position has been visited. Think of a cop checking parking meters, for a relatively low-stakes example. If they get distracted - say, by some irate motorist a few meters away complaining about a ticket from long ago - it would be easy for them to forget if they had processed the closest meter. If they walk/ride toward the motorist to be heard better, they might easily lose their place entirely. In this example, the cop's physical location acts as an index, which is only good until the cop needs to move in an unexpected way. The distraction can lead to double-touching one or more meters. Worse, the cop might invisibly skip one or more meters unless they are maintaining some more durable kind of history like a checklist or other report.

Me to my 5yo: Art is a conversation, first between an artist and a medium, then between the work and a viewer.

5yo to me: And then between a viewer and another viewer!

What if we thought of the Almighty Org Chart of Bureaucracy as less of a pryamid (with Executive layers stacked on top) and more of a chandelier (with executives dangling uselessly below the functional bits)

Imagine a rope extending from the start of your life to its end through time. This part of the universe being dense with entities, your rope will inevitably meet others. Sometimes they will pass near one another; they may cross; they may crash together and both change direction; they might even twine together and form part of a cable; but eventually your rope and the other will diverge, or one or both will come to its inevitable frayed end. As you move inexorably along through time, you may find that you like having your rope near some other rope or cable, or dislike the same. You can push against other ropes, or grasp them tightly, but time will force you forward at the same pace regardless. The trick, then, is to learn to move through life without getting ropeburns.

Proposed heuristic: Any time you hear "don't talk about that", update toward the hypothesis "there is an oppressive regime here"

Especially true if you hear it in your head, rather than hearing it from someone else.  Of course, only update on surprising instances - if you expect it, you already know you're in an oppressive regime and shouldn't update further.

Note, with sufficiently expansive definition of "regime" to include social norms, and "oppressive" to include any restriction of your impulse to be a jerk on some topics, you're already at (100 - epsilon)%, so the only direction to update is downward, when you feel perfectly free to say something.

Possible storytelling device: Some timeline is established, the story plays out a certain way. As a result of the events of the story, a new character is introduced at the end of the timeline. Then the events of the story are then retold, but altered by the existence of the new character from the first telling, who is now present from the beginning of things. The process could repeat several times, each time with a single new character added (or possible an old character removed) as a result of the last iteration.

It's a riff on story cycles, but instead of all new characters doomed to follow in the fate of the earlier lot in each telling, we have (mostly) the exact same characters in situations that diverge further and further from the last cycle as the story evolves due to the change of cast.

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