My magic castle

My magic castle

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Magic of Being Flamboyant and Weird

I have to admit right off that flamboyance is hard for me. I have been strongly groomed all my life to be a good girl, to be proper, to be aware of what others think.  That is not my basic nature, however.  Truth trumps acceptability when it gets right down to it.  I must admit though,  that I have often been wimpy, and therefore guilt-ridden, about speaking out for truth.  I am getting better as I mature.  I am even becoming open to the kernel of truth that may exist in opposing viewpoints.  Sometimes, though, I have felt discouraged about important truths ever being accepted by the people they will most benefit.  But I came across a 'magic wand' or idea and a tool from political theory that wise magicians can use. I am heartened and want to pass this on. This concept goes under the name of  The Overton Window.  The tool is 'the door in the face' technique.  The Overton Window is named after Joseph P. Overton, who wrote about the way a politician's public will react to what he suggests if they think it is acceptable.  When a lot of attention is given to what may seem as very unacceptable ideas, they can seem to become more acceptable over time. At one time in American history it was unthinkable that women vote.  After a lot of agitation, a lot of flamboyant activities, like women chaining themselves to railings, enough people began to let the idea into their mind that women had to right to vote and today it is accepted and expected.  The way the 'door in the face' works is for someone to be asked to do something to which they are very resistant, and it is expected they will say no.  They are later asked to do something that is more acceptable and they are likely to agree. Somewhat like the teen who wants $10 from his dad and asks for $100. Father says no.  The boy then asks for $50.  The father offers less, but it isn't a complete no.  They settle with both feeling in agreement, usually for more than the $10 originally wanted.
When groups in society want to move the Overton Window, to sell ideas that would be rated more towards a certain point on the spectrum they put a lot of effort into saying and doing things that are more on the fringes, more extreme.  They may actually be working for the extreme position, but a more moderate one does become acceptable.  Say that in a culture it was only permissible to wear blue.  The change makers would agitate for red.  Eventually hues of blue that moved towards purple might become the norm. The flamboyance and weirdness of certain people does get attention.  Then that attention can be turned to the ideas those people are pushing.  I was talking about this with a friend and he said, "But the problem is that people who know the truth, the way things should be, are reasonable people.  Reasonable people don't do weird and flamboyant things."
That may be a problem.  But a wise magician is creative.  Perhaps change can come through wildly, beautiful, weird and flamboyant ways that will grip the hearts and minds of others.  It is the place of a wise magician to get the ideas out there.  I suggest you consider using the magic wands of weirdness and flamboyance, in your own special way of course.  May the spark be with you.

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