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 retreated, at least into the background, we want 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.
The origin of the «Overton Window» theory
The Overton Window (aka window of discourse) is a theory or concept by which any idea can be planted in the minds of even a highly moral society. The boundaries of acceptance of such ideas are described by Overton’s theory and are reached by means of sequential actions consisting of quite clear steps. Below we will elaborate on each of them.
The Overton Window is named after the American sociologist Joseph Overton, who proposed the concept in the mid-1990s. With the help of this model, Overton proposed to evaluate the judgment of public opinion and the degree of its acceptability.
In essence, he simply described a technology that operates throughout human existence. It is just that in ancient times it was understood intuitively, subconsciously, but in the age of technology it has taken concrete forms and mathematical precision.
The Overton Window and Its Possibilities
Let’s look at the possibilities of the Overton Window. With the help of this theory any idea can be planted in the mind of the most orthodox society. This is done in several stages, which are spelled out in detail.
Take homosexuality, for example. If this phenomenon existed in previous centuries, it was at least considered something shameful. However, in the second half of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, society could really see how the Overton Window worked.
At first, the media began to publish numerous articles saying that homosexuality is, if anything, a deviation, it is natural. After all, we don’t condemn excessively tall people because their height is due to genetics. The same thing, journalists wrote, happens with homosexual attraction.
Then numerous so-called studies began to appear that proved the fact that homosexuality was a natural, though unconventional, aspect of human life. As the years passed, the Overton window of discourse continued to serve its purpose.
It soon became clear that many prominent members of human culture were supporters of same-sex relationships. After that, the media began to feature admissions by politicians, show stars and other prominent people of their homosexuality.
Eventually, Overton’s theory worked with stunning accuracy, and what was considered unthinkable 50 years ago is now the norm.
Men with beards and tight pantyhose and lace lingerie filled the entire media space. And now, in many developed countries, to be considered a homosexual is not only normal, but prestigious.
You can win a major world show just because your image fits perfectly into one of the steps of the Overton window, not because of your talent.