Remember to remember...


Part I 

Tell me if this sounds familiar...

You're walking to work one bright and caffeinated morning, and you find yourself rather engaged in a shiny train of thought. It feels novel, and important, and relevant to what matters. One might even go so far as to say engrossing.

Maybe it's a pattern in yourself or your organisation you've just seen has been playing out over years. Maybe a fresh philosophical perspective causing a cascade of re-framings on some important ideas. Or maybe, just maybe, in these crowds, it's a train of thought on how everything could be better. For you, for those you love, for everyone.

You feel the urge to write it down.

But hold on, what's this?

Curious, there's already a note in your phone, with the exact title you were about to use... from a year ago! It seems you've boarded on this joyride before, but ultimately failed to seize control and direct it anywhere useful.

If you're not running late to work, or distracted by a notification maybe you think to yourself... Man, I really need to make sure this time I actually explore these ideas, they could have a big impact on how I want to spend my time. In fact, maybe I need some way to make sure I fully explore important thoughts I have in general.

And this thought, I should really make some space to come back to thoughts that felt important but I didn't have time to explore... feels like an important notion in its own right actually. You go to record that observation, that it's concerningly easy to forget to follow up even on thoughts that feel vitally important.

AND YOU FIND YOU WROTE THAT DOWN 2 YEARS AGO, AND YOU STILL HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

AND YOU THINK GOD, HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I CHANCED ON THOUGHTS I FELT COULD REALLY MATTER, AND DONE NOTHING WITH THEM?

And then, if you still haven't been interrupted, maybe you have the space to think:

OKAY.
CLEARLY, SOMETHING IS AMISS.
I'M GOING TO MAKE SPACE RIGHT NOW.
FOR THE NEXT HOUR I'M GOING TO LIST EVERYTHING I GOT EXCITED ABOUT BUT FORGOT TO EXPLORE.
AND WHILE I REMEMBER, I'M GOING TO MAKE A PLAN TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM IN GENERAL.
A PLAN TO STOP LOOPING, TO REMEMBER TO REMEMBER.

You tell work you'll be late, put your phone on aeroplane mode, and lock yourself in a closet. Aghast, you find it seems you've tried this before. Now that you're looking, you can see your life is strewn with past attempts. Weekly time set aside to journal you forgot to protect, digital reminders to take space for reflection slowly habituated to and ignored without you even noticing.

With the hour you have all you really manage to understand is... I'm going to need a lot more time.

Before the demands of life re-assert themselves, you go the requisite 6 months forward in your calendar to block out a month. You book the most isolated cabin you can find, and tell everyone you'll be taking a holiday.


This is the story of how I came to find myself a long way from home, frowning at my laptop in a cabin in Norway. Trying to remember why it was that I'd come here.

Coming up next: 🔅 Apollo

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6 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 10:15 AM

Emoji in titles generally make my frontpage experience worse, and this is no exception.

Strong subjective disagreement here, but I guess that's why I feel so strongly about it--I'm an outlier. :p

Noted, thank you for the feedback

It's always delightful when I read something that is intellectually stimulating and narratively exciting. I'm looking forward to 🔅 Apollo. 

I'm going to put "A plan to stop looping. To remember to remember" up on my fridge as inspiration for myself. 

I can clearly recognize myself in this. Im starting to wonder if this can be avoided. If I start on something similar to your project, will I look back on this in two years and think”that was just another one of those thoughts that seemed they would change everything, but didn’t”?

Ha, maybe! Seems like while we're here though we might as well be working out way down the list of "ideas that might change everything". People report trying a lot of things and then hitting on something that works (like https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/fFY2HeC9i2Tx8FEnK/my-resentful-story-of-becoming-a-medical-miracle)