Culture War Consultancy: Overton Window Dressing
Hey beautiful people,
I was on A.J. Bond’s wonderful podcast, Discomfortable, where we raided the philosophical closet of The Stoa. Our conversation can be listened to here. While I am not doing coaching for the month of March, A.J. and Tyson Wagner both are. You can book them here: www.thestoa.ca/coaches
Also, we have another pseudo-symposium thingy at The Stoa happening on March 16th called: Let Us Maybe Make the Meta-Crisis Our Superordinate Goal Symposium.
Sessions will include discussions on the rapidly complexifying x-risk threat environment, the history of contemplating human extinction, the doomsday curve, the bankruptcy of the environmental movement, and much more.
The Glass Bead Game w/ The Metabeaders. Every Saturday @ 4:00 PM ET. RSVP here.
Dialogical Meditations w/ Andrew Taggart. Saturdays @ 6:00 PM ET on March 6th, 13th, 20th. RSVP here. 75 mins.
Newly posted sessions:
The Quantified Self Movement w/ Gary Wolf. March 11th @ 2:00 PM ET. RSVP here.
The Chapel Perilous: The Dark Forest w/ Yancey Strickler. March 14th @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here.
X-Risk: How Humanity Discovered Its Own Extinction w/ Thomas Moynihan. March 16th @ 2:00 PM ET. RSVP here.
Bright Green Lies w/ Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, and Max Wilbert. March 16th @ 7:00 PM ET. RSVP here.
The Meaning of Being a Man w/ Ole Bjerg. March 17th @ 10:00 AM ET. RSVP here.
Lost Will: Reclaiming the Wild Voice of the Soul w/ Rebecca Altman. March 18th @ 5:00 PM ET. RSVP here.
The Chapel Perilous: Owe to Robert Anton Wilson w/ Douglas Rushkoff. March 21st @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here.
March 5th, 2021
I have been informally advising people about culture war stuff recently. I was joking with Camille and suggested I should become a culture war consultant. That joke gave me pause though, because I probably could make culture war consultancy a thing at this point, and I would probably make some good money doing it as well. Business normies are so hopelessly lost when it comes to this culture war stuff.
Perhaps I will write about different aspects of doing culture war consultancy in these journals, in order to develop the conceptual toolbox needed for my future super lucrative culture war consultancy firm to be a success. The Overton window is a good place to start, because it is a good thing to know when navigating the culture war. This is the range of the acceptable things that one can talk about.
When I was doing in-person meet-ups pre-COVID, the Overton window came up in one discussion, and something interesting happened: people who were reactionary, conservative, or centrist thought the Overton window was shrinking, while people who were progressive and woke thought it was expanding. Being the meta gangster that I am allowed me to see how both claims are true.
If you just look at legacy media, the Overton window is shrinking. The “nebulous woke egregore” has totally captured most legacy institutions, and the secret is we are all already cancelled, most of us just have not been pointed out yet. If you look at the wild west of the noosphere though, it seems like a window does not exist at all, as you will find all sorts of thought lurking. Things like the “Jewish question,” “white genocide,” and women's anti-suffrage are all being discussed.
Joshua Treviño, a political commentator, suggested that the Overton window has six degrees of thought: unthinkable, radical, acceptable, sensible, popular, and policy. You will need to stay in the acceptable-to-policy range in order to stay in “good opinion” and avoid becoming a persona non grata. It is wise to get a sense of “the room's” Overton window if you do not want to risk this.
All memetic tribes have their own Overton window, regardless of how much they blab about free speech. Every person has an Overton window actually. It is wise to think that there is a multitude of Overton windows existing at the same time, that are negotiated in the conversational wild. You’ll be seeing a lot of this negotiated on places like Clubhouse. If you want to “speak” in many different perspectives well, it is best to quickly gauge what you cannot talk about with that person or group, before talking.
The culture warriors on public platforms are memetically fighting in the unthinkable-to-acceptable range, and a lot of people, including ones that are friends of mine, are actively trying to influence the borders of the window. There is another skill though, and that is what I will call “Overton window dressing.”
Window dressing, according to a random dictionary definition I just looked up, is “the act or an instance of making something appear deceptively attractive or favorable.” It is one thing to openly (or secretly) try to influence the borders of the Overton window, and it is another thing to obfuscate where the borders of the window are, and make the window appear beautiful.
If one is trying to influence a culture, or sell things within a culture, then getting a sense of the multitude of Overton windows that currently exist in the noosphere will be important, but also having the capacity to hide the borders of your own window, while making it beautiful, will be just as important.
I would love to tell you how to do this, but that will cost you the big bucks.
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