In our information age, when technological progress has become the essence and core of human civilization, and moral norms and high concepts of eternal values have receded, at least, into the background, I would like to talk about such a scientific fact as the Overton Window. We will try to describe in detail the whole essence of this phenomenon and its terrifying, destructive potential.
Origins of the Overton Window Theory
The Overton window (aka the discourse window) is a theory or concept by which any idea can be implanted into the consciousness of even a highly moral society. The boundaries for accepting such ideas are described by Overton’s theory and are achieved through sequential actions consisting of quite clear steps. Below we will dwell on each of them in detail.
The Overton Window got its name in honor of the American sociologist Joseph Overton, who proposed this concept in the mid-1990s. Using this model, Overton proposed to evaluate the judgments of public opinion and the degree of its acceptability.
In fact, he simply described the technology that operates throughout the existence of man. It’s just that in ancient times it was understood intuitively, subconsciously, and in the age of technology it acquired specific forms and mathematical accuracy.
Overton window and its possibilities
Let’s explore the possibilities of the Overton Window. With the help of this theory, in principle, absolutely any idea can be implanted into the consciousness of the most orthodox society. This is done in several stages, which are spelled out in detail.
Take, for example, homosexuality. If this phenomenon existed in previous centuries, then it was at least considered something shameful. However, in the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries, society could actually observe how the Overton Window operates.
First, numerous publications began to appear in the media stating that homosexuality is, if it is a deviation, then it is natural. After all, we do not condemn excessively tall people, since their growth is due to genetics. The same, journalists wrote, happens with homosexual attraction.
Then numerous so-called studies began to appear, which proved the fact that homosexuality is a natural, albeit unusual side of human life. Years passed, and Overton’s window of discourse continued to fulfill its purpose.
It soon became clear that many prominent representatives of human culture were supporters of same-sex relationships. After that, confessions of politicians, show stars and other prominent people in their homosexuality began to appear in the media.
Ultimately, Overton’s theory worked with amazing accuracy, and what was considered unthinkable 50 years ago is now the norm.
Effeminate men with beards in tight tights and lace lingerie filled literally the entire media space. And now, in many developed countries, being considered a homosexual is not only normal, but also prestigious.
You can win a major world show just because your image fits perfectly into one of the steps of the Overton window, and not because of your talent.