We’ve arrived. It’s 2020 and we are literally all fucking our own burns (a common phrase burners use in snarky satire, though it’s generally more of a term of endearment.) But here we are, 2020, “The Multiverse” is here, and all of our burns are fucked. For a good reason, too. Everything extracurricular SHOULD be on hold while the world (achem, excuse me, AMERICA) get’s it’s act together. It’s embarrassing we’ve let it get on this far out of hand, this toxic hold that congress has held over it’s citizens. It’s the perfect storm of a revolution. Almost as if someone or something was behind it all?
It’s honestly everything we could have ever dreamed about as far as apocalyptic criteria goes. We are smack dab in the middle of a shit-show reality fan-fare fuck fest of egos. If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. And if you’re an artist, you’re trying to figure out how the fuck we are supposed to make any light of this all? Are we allowed to make light? Is light needed? Or maybe, we need to sit with the darkness for a while?
By now, we’ve probably all found our “safe spaces”… whatever “that” means for you. You’ve found your own weird coping mechanisms, what works & what doesn’t. You’ve learned what you can live with, and what’s a deal breaker (some are learning faster than others). Maybe it’s your mate, your best friend, or your mother that, has been your lifeline. Maybe it’s your theme camp of best friends group chat on Facebook that is keeping your chin up during the epic flood (I hear Elon is building an ark that doubles as a submarine). “Just keep treading water”
Or maybe, it’s good humor keeping you sane during this “what’s supposed to just be a phase” flu season of pandemic greatness. Maybe it’s your dog, or your job keeping you alive? Maybe it’s alcohol and Instagram that passes your time and offers you a sense of temporarily relief from the ratchet outside. Some of you are kayaking; nature is how you escape. Others are wallowing in shame and self-defeat, knowing better, but searching for a deeper rock bottom. It’s the “I really should recycle this jar, but I just can’t even give a fuck right now” general consensus that’s gnawing at our insides. Pick your poison; you’re not alone.
Usually, it’s some fantastic cocktail combo of heaven and hell that’s just tasty enough to continue to sip, nay, savor, to make it all palatable. Still the side effects cannot be ignored forever. The iceberg is dead ahead. We can’t keep eating bullshit for dinner any more. We are all thirsty for security, and at the same time justice; hungry for truth, or something remotely palatable to feel worthy of our own existence. We all want the truth, but at what expense?
So, are you leaning into your vices, or standing up to them?
I would bet that we all are leaning HARD into our coping mechanisms right about now. Whether that’s battling work, the deer in your garden, or depression. We are all out here trying to find something to live for, let alone something to die for. And to do this, we heave learned to turn to the gurus that have come before us, as we look for answers. What the FUCK are we supposed to be doing on this rock? “What can we do to help the world be a better place?” When I ask myself that question, I keep getting led back to the same thing. It starts with you. It all starts with you.
We are supposed to be doing?… The answer: ourselves. Ding Ding DING! Taking care of OURSELVES is our first priority, let alone governing our networks; it’s a full time job. If you take care of yourself properly, then the “governing of our neighborhoods” tends to shake out in the logistics, which you can observe with the study case of Black Rock City. A place where everyone takes care of themselves, while also having communal and civic responsibility to take care of others to fall back on.
Ahh, Burners, not only did we draw the map, get the permit, and bring the dance party; we also have a handbook. We have written the playbook: The Ten Principles – a brief but detailed guide to taking care of YOUR shit.
Let’s review the stuff.
1. Decomodification – No more cultural exploitation of stuff
2. Immediacy – Live in the NOW stuff
3. Participation – Take part in the stuff that interests you
4. Self Reliance – Take care of your own stuff
5. Self Expression – Strut your stuff
6. Leave No Trace – Leave no stuff behind
7. Civic Responsibility – Get involved with law and order stuff
8. Gifting – Give stuff away when you can
9. Communal Effort – Help out with stuff
10. Radical Inclusion – Anyone can participate in this stuff
11. Consent – ALWAYS with this stuff
12. Take it Outside – spread this stuff around – just DO SOMETHING!
Some principles are easier to learn and interpret and we can innately attribute value to it such as: Gifting – the art of giving freely with nothing in return. Who would have thought there was value in giving something away? That’s an easy one to start with if you’re looking for a way to bring a bit of the burner spirit into your life. What can you afford to give away? Challenge: Give something away that is unexpected, and see what happens. (Don’t forget to pay attention to the ripples, or not.)
Let’s take the principle of: Inclusion – we all know how it feels to notice someone on the outskirts and bring them into community. We know how it felt to be left out and lost; alone. Let’s challenge each there to look around and pay attention to what needs it. I invite you to consider: “When was the last time you did something inclusive, or forced yourself to participate in something that made you uncomfortable?” Here we are, feeling uncomfortable about being uncomfortable again. SIT WITH IT. Ask it questions. Work through it. When we continue to ignore what so obviously needs attention, it gets worse. That’s Karma.
Self-expression and self-reliance are obvious principles in concept, but not easy, and sometimes scary to embody. There is times to explore the inner soul workings of expression and of preparedness in life, which can take years to skim.
We may never master them completely, but the more I look at the principles and try to tackle them personally, the more I realize just how much work there is to do if you just look around your neighborhood. Before you look outside, start inside, and some of us, some of us need a program.
So, What step are you on? Let’s work ‘em. Together if you like?
So pick one… Have you mastered your leaving no trace habits (always a daily practice)? When I ask myself “am I truly acting upon my civic responsibility?” the answer is generally “well you can always do more”. And God forbid we look at immediacy these days it’s practically slapping us in the face constantly. I can’t look away. Do I have enough money and food to eat today? Do I have a roof over my head? “Yes”. Ok. That is more than sufficient and I should be grateful for another day. Coming from someone who has been a life-long habitual planner and slave to calendars and lists, it is foreign territory to not have a schedule to worry about as a crutch for my insatiable need to be productive. To do MORE. Communal effort calls… and while it’s sometimes difficult to interpret what it’s saying, and it’s calling your name right now to get out into the street and DO something that makes the world, ever-so-slightly a better place. Please. “We need all hands on deck for setting up camp. This means you.”
People are jumping in with unexpected skills. This is where creativity and out of the box thinking is a welcome sport. On the decomodification front, a phenomenon is happening in the most obscure ways all over the interwebs. Leave it to the alt TikTok kids to start creating accounts like “OfficialPurell” and “BurgerKingMerchandize” to fuck with the system and take the power back from advertisers trying to capitalize on the creativity of our youth. “Shame on you for thinking you can dupe us for so long” Commodification: the world we live in depends on it. But it doesn’t have to rule our every decision. If you are commodifying, because let’s face it, we’re all capitalists like it or not, then take a look at where you are spending your money. Are we investing in a better world? Trash is a serious matter in this reality, and you better be able to pack out your own.
“You vote with your wallet. Your dollar bill is your ballot ” – Wookie Foot
Thinking and acting local with intention and mindful environmental responsibility has never been more front and center. The time to take a stand for justice and equality has never been more available. It’s almost as if… as if the 2012 Mayan prophecies are all coming to fruition, slowly and painfully. Let that sink in as we switch gears into: The Multiverse and take everything we have learned from Black Rock City and apply it for real; as needed.
It couldn’t get any clearer. Burning Man’s Caveat put out a great article (Burning Man Culture in the Time of the Plague) about the Multi-verse that we have literally manifested for ourselves and that we are now currently building. REAL TIME. Taking the burn “out into the world” without a playa to even look forward to, kind of puts a whole new spin on the realities of this life that we spend so much energy building for ourselves. What if the default would could be different? What’s if there isn’t this make believe alternative reality, but instead, that world is the default?
Right now, I am so fortune that my life is literally turned into a theme camp. My car has become a stage. My clothes are my costumed representation of justice and freedom. The food I eat represents what I want to put into my body… and, yes, I really need to work on my civic responsibility, so that I can assure that everyone in my neighborhood and in this country has the right to a quality life, just as I have.
We owe it to all of those who have died in the face of privileged injustice. We owe it to our ancestors, to put this world back together again, properly.
“We are going to need a bigger temple”
Burning Man Podcast: https://burningman.org/live/
A friend of mine shared this graphic novel of the death rate of the highest causes of death since January, and it is truley alarming:
This is only another reminder of the seriousness of the state of the world it is that we live… this multiverse is complex, and there are many unknown territories to explore, channels to swim, and battlegrounds to cross before we can celebrate our pilgrimage again as burners. Until then, we must yes, bring our burner flare out into the world, but continue to do so with the love and tact and compassion and this revolution needs right now. Our attention to detail. Our humor. Our work ethic. Our kindness and generosity. Those qualities are needed now more than ever. We are all rangers, and we are all here to help. We are all comfortable with the uncomfortable, and it’s time to buckle our seatbelt.
We are not through the finish line with this Pandemic… no, we are crossing this dessert. All of us. It might take many generations, but we are not turning back to the old way of things “working” just fine. Fine is not fine at all any longer. We are not giving in to slavery and warfare and military state intimidation tactics anymore.
Maybe you’re a perfect human being body, who has already mastered all of these steps in a past life and now have one of those convenient holier-than-thou righteous badges proudly on your arm… I beg of you, to please, help teach the world these ways. We must take these principles, these concepts, and gift them freely to anyone and all who are ready leave this toxic relationship for good.
It’s a lot to pack in, and it’s the lightest I’ve ever packed for this burn, now that this burn it’s my LIFE. I never thought that I would miss the dust SO much.
I wonder, does the dust miss us when we are gone?