Retroactive conceptualization

by Suspended Reason

[12:33 PM] suspended reason: idea I had on the dock today: retroactive reconceptualization

[12:39 PM] suspended reason: It comes out of two things:

  1. The realization that many things I’ve historically wanted to call retconning” were not really attempts at retroactively continuity, so much as just any attempt to produce new speech/text/narrative that retroactively altered the original text.
  2. A conversation about strategies when you accidentally send the wrong person a text (e.g. that’s about them, or inappropriate for your relationship)—mine was they don’t know when you realized you were texting the wrong person; immediately send a second text that alters the meaning of the first, while still appearing to be an accidental message to the wrong recipient,” so e.g. if you send your employee something about lingerie, you can chase it with an obvious spam link (“buy real ray-bans at tinyurl”), or if you shit-talk one friend to another friend (but send it to the first) you can chase it with something very complimentary, or that leverages ambiguities in your first text to put a different implied spin” on it

[12:39 PM] suspended reason: I think people do this with text a lot

[12:40 PM] suspended reason: Maybe they make a commitment, or express a belief, or make a claim, and then a little later in conversation they may try to advance an alternative spin on that earlier text/speech by adding more speech to the first speech

[12:41 PM] suspended reason: Clumsy players do this explicitly—“Earlier, when I said X, I meant Y”—but skilled players do it implicitly, by adding information that a (clever listener) will pick up and use to retroactively update the meaning of a previous ambiguous utterance

[12:42 PM] suspended reason: To shift the majority” interpretation (is there a word for this in like, probability/stats/Bayesian stuff? the event testified to most strongly by the evidence) of that previous text

[12:43 PM] suspended reason: Politicians do this constantly

[12:43 PM] suspended reason: People are forced to do this when old tweets come up that contradict present stances, or that are unflattering in a new political/cultural/moral landscape

[12:44 PM] suspended reason: And I think you even get it in television, or other serialized art—they want new affordances, and they can tell what possibilities have been ruled out” by previous information, and which possibilities are still live/possible in the half-determinate structure of physics/reality/“rules of the game” they’ve constructed so far