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I often confuse overton windows with inferential distance.

At some point concept of "unthinkable thoughts" is less about being taboo, and more that they are illegible given the structures of meaning that currently exist.

Conjecture: "overton window" inflates notion of attention management/acceptable discourse with the ability to form thoughts within a framework of meaning.

Operating Theory: most are blind to frameworks of meaning. I am blind to acceptable discourse?
Same same, yet diff.

This notion of illegibility is important when you want to engage meaningfully across divides.

The first pass of being able to talk meaningfully is to bridge inferential distances. It's a chasm between where you stand and where they stand, full of unknown words and sometimes hidden perspectives. It takes effort to stretch yourself, and can be painful.

Like fictional archaeologists using their knowledge to reach beyond themselves, often requiring a scary leap of faith.

Even if you bridge the chasm of inferential distance. (Maybe by finding a shared point of understanding you can build up meaning with?) This still leaves the trap of the overton window.

It's a trap you have to pass by knowing the right words. A community password.

The range acts as an implicit boundary for a community: What is acceptable for us to pay attention to? What do we ignore?

A joke, a riddle, a toll. An ever shifting costly signal.

But its more than that...

The overton window is something you have to learn too so you can interact safely with a culture.

But there isn't just one window. It is a collective sense of the communities you belong. A social gestalt with many different setpoints and ranges.

Even inside of a culture you are familiar with, your own setpoint may be quite different.

And so (Rude) is relative. Personal. A Chesterton's fence loosely depending on your station and your caste. Dynamics that a foreigner is often not able to see.

It a way, my blindness and belligerence to this window is a blessing and a curse. I punch well above my station when it comes to epistemic peers. And so I can play with ideas that are outside of most people's inferences and mostly pull them back to legible territory.

But I also don't see when I'm stepping on the toes of the powers that be. I'm unquestionably rude, acting as a foreigner in my own country not knowing implicit rules of how one should be. Talking outside of the window.

The overton window lives in the realm of signals. Right beside your personal quirks with language and shifting local norms of speech. The land of the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, and various Majority Illusions.

Familiar is comfortable, so it goes unnoticed.

But I'm weird. An ethereal ghost, I walk thru Chesterton's fences like they weren't even there. I crack the riddles of "speak friend and enter" but then when I finally am noticed, they're wondering why I am even there.

(original: )

Connected by Alex Singh
7 days ago

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