Radical Inclusion, Plug-And-Play, & P.Diddy

[This post is part of the 10 Principles blog series, an ongoing exploration of the history, philosophy and dynamics of Burning Man’s 10 Principles in Black Rock City and around the world. We welcome your voice in the conversation.]

I spent some time today reflecting on Radical Inclusion in a Post-P.Diddy-Playa. If you’d rather read these ideas than watch a video, just skip below. (Video begins with 2:16 of mindfulness that you can skip if you are “sparkle-averse.”)

“How many veteran Burners found this year to be like Disneyland? Waiting in line to see the man then once in seeing it filled with tourists, ravers and MOOP.
I think this may be the last year I’m going…”

“I’m so sick of those elitist jerks with their Plug-and-play camps…”

Let’s all take a breath together.

As we breath out, let’s say, “Radical Inclusion.”

This is one of the 10 Principles, and it is important.

It is tempting to feel like we know what is the right way to do things.

But all we can ever know is what is best for us. Actually, it is a lifelong journey to figure out what is best for us.
Socialization covers us with layers and layers of shoulds. Eventually we live a life of patterns that may have no relationship to the true desires of our heart.

One of the transformative gifts of Burning Man is that it pushes us to question our patterns. The challenges and discomfort make us act in ways outside our patterns. In that space of questioning & floating, we sometimes hear our heartsongs. We sometimes feel desires, inspiration, and direction coming from INSIDE us. For many of us, this is a direction we have never experienced. After a lifetime of aiming towards goals given to us by well meaning parents & teachers (and less-benign marketers and politicians) – we may have lost the connection with the inner voice that that says, “This is my bliss. Follow this.” We had it in the crib. We had it on the playground. When did we lose it?

(Not actually my dad)
(Not actually my dad)

The gift of rediscovering that connection can be so profound. It can also turn us into zealots and make us overly-defensive of the circumstances that broke us free. It can be tempting to feel like the way WE got to that rediscovery is the right way.

There is nothing in the Principles about the size of your tent, the absence of air conditioning, or what tasks you must do yourself in order to qualify as “self reliant.” Must you mine the metal used in your bike? Must you weld it yourself? How about attach it to your bike rack or decorate it?
Or is it self-reliant enough to make the arrangements so that your needs are met?

I much prefer the attitude of a wealthy participant who makes arrangements than a “The Playa Will Provide” drifter who confuses “trusting the Universe” with “Being a burden on others.”

There is a tone of anger sometimes against “plug-and-play” camps. And I understand the fear. The real danger is a separation from participation. But who are any of us to define what the right way to participate is?

Do DPW participate better than Temple Builders? Who participate better than small sculpture artists? Who participate better than art car creators? Who participate better than theme camp organizers? Who participate better than costume artists?

The beauty of Burning Man is that we all find the best ways for us to gift. We all figure out the best way to play our role. The system works because we all answer the question differently. We are all unique cells within a massive organism. Our job is not to define how others should act – our role is to get clear & healthy and help the whole organism thrive.

It may be massage, sculpture, cooking, mechanical advice, attentive listening, carpentry, or philosophy. Whatever it is, it is important to find a way to participate and share your gifts.

Pink Heart
Our camp gifted iced cucumber water & love

In my camp, we demand a high level of participation from every member. This is not because we need lots of labor for the camp to function. While this *is* true, the reason we demand participation is because we know better. After 16 years I can say with a rare confidence, “The more you participate, the more you will get out of the experience.”

Showing up to the party of the year may give you a head full of great memories. But feeling like you are co-hosting this event changes something inside you. Being of service tunes you in to a level of purpose that changes you – or recharges you – in truly profound ways.

Do I worry about the Plug-And-Play camps? Only to the degree that some people may not be pushed hard enough outside their bubble to recieve the gifts available to them in this magical place. They may not get far enough outside of what is normally expected of them to recognize the dormant gifts aching to be shared.

But even then, I do not worry. Because even having a slight brush with this place can change you.

I know because it happened to me.

My first burn was in 1998. I showed up Thursday afternoon, late in the week. I avoided most responsibilities and did very little to help with the camp breakdown. I took much more than I gave. I bet a veteran would have considered me a tourist.

Thank You
Feeling deeply grateful

But it changed me. I started to learn more about the event. I started to learn more about myself.

I learned what my gifts were.
I learned to start listening for, and listening to that voice that steered me towards my Joy.

It changed my life. It changed my world. It changed my burn.

So when I hear that Zuckerburg helicoptered in, or that P. Diddy was seen at Robot Heart, do I worry that “Burning Man is over?”

The opposite, actually.

Burning Man changes people. When it changes people who have control over significant resources, that bodes well for the planet. I want every CEO and Prince to experience the Playa. I want them to dance on an art car, be gifted pancakes and say what P. Diddy said upon returning from the dust: “#BurningMan Words cannot explain! I’ll never be the same”

This is not a silly idea. More and more I have been asked to speak to business people about the value of Burning Man ideals. They may not even know that they are BM ideals, but they know that being in alignment with integrity and purpose is important. After long careers where the bottom line was everything, they know, deep down, that it isn’t enough.

When I was recruited for my current job, it was based on videos I did about Burning man. The CEO told me, “We are are group of people who have had successful careers. We have built our empires…but now we want to build our legacy.”

So bring on the ravers, frat-boys, tourists & elitists. As each one of us gets in tune with who we truly are, it benefits us all. As each cell gets healthy, it advances the health of the entire body.

We’ve built an empire of dust…now we build our legacy.

***
Additional Links:
Dustin Moskovitz’s recent reflections on Radical Inclusion inspired this post.

My Decompression Tips from last Year.

About the author: John "Halcyon" Styn

Halcyon is a 15-year Burning Man participant and founder of Pink Heart camp. He is author of "Love more. Fear less." and producer of the Burning Man short film, "The Pink Path." He's won Webby awards for his over-the-top personal site CockyBastard.com & his "Love On Demand" video podcast HugNation.com. He hosted the defunct NBC.com web series "Fears. Regrats. Desires." and frequently speaks about Gratitude & Gifting. In 2010, Halcyon co-founded the San Diego based "1st Saturdays" homeless outreach program based on Burning Man Principles and the idea of "Service Without Sacrafice." You can find his digital home at www.JohnStyn.com.

80 thoughts on “Radical Inclusion, Plug-And-Play, & P.Diddy

  • Radical Inclusion simply means having patients on your part. You can’t expect a CEO or 19 year old, fresh out of high school to be pulled out deep freeze thrust into the enviroment of BM and then to completely ‘get it’. The ones who don’t ‘get it’ are the ones who need )'( most. If someone needs medicine, give it to ‘em. Read about it all you want though, but yes, experience is the teacher. You gotta go to get changed. You gotta be given a chance. And another. And another. With the consistant larger attendance each year, maybe we need to catch up a bit, at best. Everything is working in its perfect order. Some take a jump to light speed the first couple of days of ever being here. Others a couple of burns. Those not ready will surely… well, the glitch will just work itself out and they’ll be onto something else. I’m happy for this to be the ‘now’. It’s great to have such a ‘thing’ to go do in the desert. Everyone needs/should get the opportunity to be changed. Everyone needs/should have the opportunity (if only for a week) to be fully welcomed with open arms and loved & hugged around every corner. Even if you are challenged for change. Everyone needs/should have a chance at the magic. @Simba: You nailed it. The playa will provide. Time and time again. We all will get what we need. Some just need more dust than others.

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  • I agree with Pete Lee.

    BM Org policy helps shape the character of BM. It’s the reason you don’t (yet) see open commerce on the playa. It’s the reason you don’t see regular cars on the playa. And the reason why you can’t buy weekend-only tickets for a big “one-night-only-big-bash”.

    BM Org sets policy about what behaviour to exclude so that the BM experience can stand in contrast to everyday life. How sad would it be if McDonalds, Disneyland, and all your everyday trappings were to exist at BM too. Larry & co moved to the desert to leave some of the ‘default world’ behind…. imagine if everyone and everything were to follow him to the desert during the festival. Sure, you’d still have fun if you know the right people and carve out your particular niche, but the critical mass of creativity would be well dissipated and BM would be a whole different animal (e.g. why not move it closer to San Francisco, put on some big bands and make the music more accessible? it would be a whole lot more inclusive than BM is today, maybe a bit more like Coachella?).

    As for plug-and-plays, allow me a Gedankenexperiment:

    Imagine if a 100,000-person camp of plug and play one-night-partiers were to descend on the playa next year (BLM approval aside), I’d wager many ‘radical inclusion’ advocates would think twice about whether that wouldn’t dramatically change the character of BM to its detriment.

    I’m sure the following is not a new idea: but a policy of dropping the ticket price to, say, $100 each, and require a minimum of two days of community work (arrive early to build fences, do MOOP cleanup, work as a ranger, clean toilets, help build art installations). Don’t you think that would lend BM a better character than radical inclusion of 100,000 plug and plays?

    This illustration hopefully shows that somewhere a policy needs to be made that limits what BM Org wants to include. What exactly it should be, I am not sure of, but I think plug-and-play camps would be a good place to start.

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  • I appreciate the loving intentions, but this post gets radical inclusion wrong – it ignores what “radical inclusion” actually SAYS.

    The text of Radical Inclusion in the 10 Principles reads:
    “Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.”

    No prerequisites exist. No prerequisites exist. No prerequisites exist.
    You can be rich or poor, liberal or conservative, young or old, outcast or in-group, hippie or hipster or square or yuppie or frat kid or yogi. All may participate and become part of the “our” in “our community.” Anyone may BE A PART of Burning Man.

    In this way, Radical Inclusion is an invitation, but also a responsibility and dare I suggest, an agreement. If someone simply refuses to enter into the community and participate, to be “a part of” Burning Man, to welcome and respect at least a few strangers, what then? In these cases, Radical Inclusion ceases to apply. It MUST cease to apply, or it, and our entire ethos, could become meaningless.

    If P&P camps don’t reach out to neighbors and let their guards down with someone new, or offer anything of themselves to the community, and instead deliberately create dead-zones in their neighborhoods, then they are not being a part of Burning Man. If some P&P campers evidently make pre-arrangements to avoid nearly all participation and contribution even before their arrival, but take for granted the labor of less-privileged others, then they are not being a part of Burning Man. If an camp brings a “mutant vehicle” and exclusively reserves the vehicle for their pre-approved VIPs rather than welcoming “any BRC citizen” to join them (as per DMV criteria), then they are not being a part of Burning Man.

    Awkward analogy follows. Consider a more mundane opportunity for personal growth: schooling. It’s certainly possible to fail a course for which “no prerequisites exist.” It’s possible to fail so thoroughly as to get kicked out of one’s major program of study, even booted from the entire school. I’ve seen it happen to folks who aren’t bad people at all, but they didn’t put effort into successful participation. No prerequisites existed, but as it turns out the academic environment was not for them. Likewise, Burning Man is also not for everybody.

    No prerequisites exist. No prerequisites exist. No prerequisites exist.
    Burning Man is not for everybody. Burning Man is not for everybody.
    Burning Man is not for everybody.

    Specifically, Burning Man is not for people who refuse to actually be a part of it.

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  • There are so many wonderful comments here! Thanks, everyone, for the particpation and thoughts!

    One thing that has come up many times that I did not address was “exclusive or separation behavior” of P&P camps. I do not have experience with this, but several people have mentioned troubling examples. I have no problem with people getting help with their camp setup needs. (Depending on circumstances, we all may need to lean on the set-up and breakdown efforts of others.) Ideally, that should increase the motivation to participate & help-out mid-week. I *do* have issues with camps having non-participation built into their structure (If that is actually happening). And non-gifting “RV Circle” P&P camps should not get placement if they are identified. I have no insight into how this is currently done, but I assumed that P&P camps had to adhere to the same submission rules (and denial reasons) as every other camp. If that is not true, P&P camps should be incentivized (through placement and early passes) to integrate gifting & community interaction into the“Plug” they offer their “Players.”

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  • Since the term is being thrown around so much, can anyone define what “plug n play” camp actually means? Are we just talking about camps where the majority of people just show up, without having much to do with the camp’s setup or operation? Obviously everything exists on a continuum, but if that’s all it is, doesn’t that probably describe most larger camps? In any camp of 100+ people, surely only 20-30 of those are really indispensable to its operations, with the rest of the people probably paying some dues beforehand and working a MOOP-sweep shift or two during the week.

    Or are we talking about something else entirely? A little confused.

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  • I camp each year with a large-sized theme camp, 150 or so most years. There is a fee for camping, $150 this year, more than most I think but no where near p-n-p levels. For this fee you get amenities like a community kitchen serving community meals, oodles of shade, a shower structure, and (the big one for me) gray water disposal. You do have to bring your own shelter (be it tent, yurt, or RV), water, and food for one meal serving 25 (your turn in the barrel for partaking the meals for the rest of the week) as well as working a couple of the events we put on during the week.

    Every year about 40% in the camp are virgins, same as BRC as a whole. Some are insta-burners, enthusiastically joining our community, pitching in where needed, and coming back each evening (or morning) full of playa tales about their adventures. Some are tent dwellers, some in RVs, some come back the next year, others not, presumably continuing their burn careers elsewhere.

    Others (inevitably in RVs) stick to themselves, rarely venturing out of their vehicle or hanging around their own shade space if they do, and are hardly ever seen in the community space outside of mealtimes. We never see them the next year. I feel sorry for them* — it’s evident they “don’t get it.” In effect, it’s a microcosm of the burner vs. spectator question seen by the city as a whole. All Burning Man can do is present itself. If someone does not wish to take its gift, it’s their loss.

    *Except one thrice-damned group that drove off Monday morning leaving their area littered with pistachio shells that took two hours to pick up.

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  • I had an odd experience at BM this year. My question is this: Is Burning Man allowing gawkers on the playa for a quick 4 hour tour??

    On Friday night (Regional Burn night) I happened upon a luxury bus at 6:30 and about D, parked behind the row of port potties. Emerging from it were a busload of 65 to 80 year olds who were gathering around the bus storage doors to pick up costumes and flamboyant clothing. Hmmm, I thought. That’s odd.

    Then at the burn I saw three of these people and planted myself close enough to hear one of them say, “You know what I would do if I were staying here? I think I would go to my camp and sleep during the day and then come out on the playa at night when it is cool.” Her companion answered, “Well, I think that is what most of them do.”

    What! Are these tourists to the playa with no intention to camp at all?? Why? How does this fit into the Burning Man principals??

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  • @Midge –
    I have no idea if that is happening. I think one of the things about the Principles is that it allows us to self police – but does not allow for actual emforcement. That being the case, there will always be people who miss the mark.
    The key, I think, is to point out the behavior that is “wrong” (See: Krug Champagne) and then remember that the vast majority of the community is AWESOME. A few bad drops do NOT poison the well.

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  • Midge, that was likely either the Gerlach group or a group from Reno. The BMorg has long allowed some of our neighbors day art tours. It’s good public relations: the people get to see its not just a big drunken drug fest. That sounds like the Reno Kiwanis who works with BMorg on the bike program. Halcyon, I’m surprised you don’t know about these tours since I first heard of them at least 5 years ago.

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  • again, Halcyon, who made you God? Didn’t you notice, they burned down all the churches. So, no saviors for Burning Man, non at all–not even you. You scare me because I think you are a fabricated persona, like a commercial. You are making false thought commerce and it is awful Again, what is it that you get paid to front these pat and propagandist responses?

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  • @weinstain – Just a guy with a podcast who blogs his personal perspectives sometimes. You don’t need to read or listen if you don’t want to. Feel free to share a different opinion in the comments here, or wherever you like.

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  • “No prerequisites exist for participation in our community”? BS. You must have internet access and a method for electronic payment (debit or credit) to preregister and buy a ticket. No more cash for ticket at the outlets or gate.
    Now, with the new and improved ticket system, it is far easier for the wealthy than the poor to attend BurningMan. Even the low income program requires you to be on the “have” side of the digital divide.
    Radical inclusion? Financial exclusion. If you can’t Facebook, fuckoff?

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  • @aplayapal – Good point. You need to have the financial means and foresight to purchase electronically – plus access to a library or friend with internet access. Radically inclusive still means you have to be able to afford the ticket price. Of course being able to afford your share of the communal fees could be seen as “radical self reliance.”
    Burning Man is an experiment in community – one that has embraced the internet and chosen to be “above board” with regard to fees and legal requirements. As inclusive as it is, it is not all things to all people. I will be careful of saying “no prerequisites” in the suture.

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  • i like the posts by Simba, Sarah and mooch. Halcyon, i like you too a lot and appreciate you post especially the video. i see you around a bunch. it’s weird. like i ran into your pink camp while you were giving a talk and telling a story about how trees fall over when there is no wind when they grow – a mighty spirit must have trials. and a few years later i was picking up moop at the man and you were standing there in some fuzzy underwear.

    anyhow.. radical inclusion is pretty neato. i personally think that )'( exists in part to destroy caste barriers in the default system. plug and play camps exist. that’s good. the people using them to experience the non-camp-oriented life at )'( will soon feel a natural impulse to help at the ground level too. .. um. here’s a fun story about inclusion and resistance to include:

    i was at this totally sweet set at the hookah dome sunday night after the temple burned. this native kid was throwing IT DOWN!!! omg. okay and then i was dancing for a while and this guy rolls in on his bike with headphones on, cleanshavin (a week in..) and he looks at some sweet art piece. my first reaction was like ‘this guy sucks!! he doesn’t care about this awesome dj set and he’s this white (default hierarchy in place), privileged butthead who had the accommodation to shave less than 6 hours ago! so now i hate him.’ it so happened that at that moment, the dj had mixed in lyrics that went ‘death ray cannon’ and then there’s the base. bgmhmbmbmhmmbmmbmmmmm. so i shot the death ray cannon at the guy for a minute but he couldn’t hear the significance because he had headphones on, blocking him from participating in the moment that everyone else there was a part of. i shot it at him a couple times before he got the idea that i was being an asshole. …

    luckily, someone from the side came in and started talking to him and being nice because i wasn’t about to be nice – aside from jadedly apologetic. i don’t know. so i guess what i’m saying is that, as a community we can express how bullshitty and dumb certain attitudes are but still hold an empathic and loving space for people who aren’t a part of )'( yet. that was only possible in this situation because the guy who went and talked to the butthead was really present about how much of an asshole i was being. it’s a good reminder to stay present and open.

    Halcyon, you speak about purpose and service eloquently and well.

    i am a spiritual elitist. i’m annoyed at myself for it.

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  • After several years of watching Halcyon’s video gifts of Playa wisdom, I finally got to meet him this past year and to express my gratitude and thanks to him for so much of my Playa-expanded mind. One main thing I do now is to spread his video gifts to all the new members of my theme camp, and all new friends I meet in our oh so dusty world.

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  • Thoughts:

    Thanks to Gerald F. for writing petty much exactly what was echoing in my head as I read these comments.

    I struggled with an ‘authentic burner’ identity crisis but finally overcame it as I found myself to be an unofficial arm of ‘playa information’ as a 5 year veteran among a sea of newbies out on ‘John Frum Road’ this year. The fact that others sought my knowledge of how to ‘navigate the playa’ turned the tables on me as I first came to Black Rock City as a new retiree to escape responsibility I had been tied to for 30 years as a public school teacher. Responsibly answering requests for info raised my participation level dramatically.

    I have come to the playa as a solo burner for 5 years and have little desire to join a large, cooperative camp. There are thousands of solo and couples camps and many return year after year. Although we don’t build massive structures or hand out truckloads of pancakes or cocktails we contribute in myriad ways, walk the extra distance to get wherever and enjoy the darker & quieter corners of the city. It is always a pleasure to greet a member of a big camp near the Esplanade who is looking for a change of scene. I’m still waiting for someone to write a Burning Man book about us!!

    I admit to being momentarily dismayed when an obvious tour bus stopped at the temple and disgorged an obvious group of tourists replete with bermuda shorts, black socks w/loafers, cameras and stick-on name tags. That dismay was deepened by the fact that many were about my age and so obviously, completely clueless as to what they were seeing. It was only offset by what followed a few minutes later. Obviously embarrassed by her husband jockeying for position to take a photo I saw a woman take the camera from him and stuff it in her purse. I watched a tearful man solemnly remove his hat as he read a piece of paper someone had tacked to the structure. I watched a woman begin to sob after a young man rose from a prayerful position and give her an enormous hug. Yet another woman heaved an enormous sigh after a long gaze at the Inuksuk and started back to the bus with a look of relief. The ‘radical inclusion’ principle flashed in my mind and I was compelled to sit and think about it for a time far after the bus had reloaded and left.

    Thanks to Halcyon for putting the ‘plug & play’ issue in perspective. A little magic is certainly better than none at all. Thanks also for adding validation to my position as a steward and one who extends the magic.

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  • I’ve been a burner since 2006. I also will attend until it is my turn to be a memorial on the temple walls. The 10 principles are great but the greatest of them is “Radical Inclusion.” Anyone who appreciates BM sees that it is a “spirtual” experience. By this I mean that whoever you are, wherever you may be on your “spiritual path,” BM provides the gift of growth. While it may be an art piece or a beautiful sunrise that changes everything, it is almost always the kind words and actions of a previously unknown person in a completely unexpected encounter that makes BM special and transformative. I understand the frustrations expressed above. I would encourage you to ask yourself, at all times, “What can I do to create the circumstances which will transform myself and the people near me and give the gift of kindness and inclusion?” You need it, I need it, P. Diddy needs it, the people hanging out in their RVs need it, the bunny ears need it, the virgin needs it, the veteren burner needs it, the Ranger needs it, the BLM agent needs it and the shy person on the periphery needs it. This is where the magic is. We should relish the opportunity and the challenge. What could be more “plug and play” than to expect to be surrounded by only highly evolved burners. I think the moop was worse this year, but once again we need to rise to the challenge presented by a growing population. I had the pleasure of running into Halcyon a couple of years ago and he is as delightful and warm in person as he is on video. God bless you, Halcyon and your endless optimism.

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  • @halcyon
    I do not object in any way to ponying up the fees…this great an endeavor has a communal cost. The financial hurdle for some is addressed by the low income program which assists people with something to bring besides money. Preparedness includes ticket, gas, food, water-self reliance.
    BM’s “embrace” of the internet, however, excludes real people who do not have internet access. In case you haven’t noticed, the libraries have cut their hours (especially evenings and weekends) in response to less resources allocated to libraries. People from groups who have less access to the internet will typically also have “friends” from that same group…WHO HAVE LESS ACCESS TO THE INTERNET. In the United States, this will be a divide marked by color/ethnic background, not economic status alone.
    If I have money…a basic issue of self reliance…why can”t I use it to buy a ticket without the added prerequisite of internet access “through friends”?
    Were there really scalpers wading into the outlets with rolls of cash?
    I get your point that having money to pay my way is self-reliance; I have and will continue to be self reliant. I don’t see how your “being careful of saying” there are no prerequisites eliminates the inclusion principle from the ten principles.
    IT’s NOT the money, it’s the means which excludes people here.

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  • After reading the string of emails I have a few comments. One goes way back to Midge. Those “gawkers” were probably Gerlach and Empire (as it were) seniors. The senior center buses them in for an art tour. And I personally find nothing wrong with that, Burning Man is about community and the citizens of Gerlach and Empire are a part of our community. Several years ago, I spoke with one of the seniors who had been able to see the art through the generosity of Burning Man and the senior center. She had been doing so for years. She looked forward to the tour every year and talking to us “young folks.” Keep in mind some of these seniors can’t get around very well. I think it’s the least we can do for the community who tolerates us every year to let them come in for a 1/2 a day and check out the art.

    Plug n’ play camps have never bothered me as I have no idea what those people are actually bringing to the table or perhaps have contributed in some other way before arriving on the playa. For all I know they could have volunteered with an art project (think Flaming Lotus Girls) or are volunteering at center camp in some way. Or maybe they are tourists. Guess what? That’s never going to end. There will always be people that show up that do not contribute. All we can do is show them what it means to gift or volunteer.

    There is, however, one theme I’ve been seeing that does bother me. Art cars that have signs saying you must be in costume to board. That is not Radical Inclusion. That is Radical Exclusion. Radical Self Expression can mean the guy wearing the Gap t-shirt and Levi’s may have the most amazing gift to share for a ride on that art car, but alas, the folks with the “must be in costume” art car will never know. The neighbors in our sector do amazing things, year after year and a lot of them don’t own a costume. That’s right, they gift in jeans, shorts, t-shirts, sarongs, tennis shoes…and never turn anyone away based on how they are dressed.

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  • Great article, keep te idea alive and the beauty will continue.
    A few campmates and I stumbled into pink heart the night of the man burn and you saved Team Sauerkraut. We were all out of water and far away from the suburbs.
    Hopefully I can give you a big hug on playa next year, keep the love flowin.

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  • Great piece, and a good reminder of how the principles of Burning Man can drive some people into a rut where rhetoric eclipses intention. That’s just people though, right? Newest converts are often the loudest voices in the choir – singing with zeal, loudly and lustily, but not necessarily taking to heart the meaning of the words. Something to be aware of, and cautious of too.

    Some people aren’t in a position to build their camps from scratch, others have timeframes (or travel considerations) that mean they’re in no position to come onto the playa for a week or more. I know this as I’ve travelled to regional Burns where there literally was no other option. Maybe some people would consider that a cop-out, but once on the ground I and my partner work damn hard to ensure we give as much as we get. Back on our home Burn patch, we return the favour to those who hosted us at ‘their’ Burn.

    As you say, John, all we can hope for is that those who employ plug ‘n play services do come away with a “slight brush” that changes their perspective and translates into a change in character and behaviour in the default. That, I believe in.

    Keep up the love, the hugs and the positive vibrations – they may not be forceful, but they’re sure as hell powerful.

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  • Good points, Magpie. I have been considering attending some international regionals. And to make it work, I would definitely need to have some degree of “plug-n-play” aid from local people. I joyfully serve others when I’m on the playa, and I will joyfully receive hospitality, too.
    I think the key is to make sure you play BOTH host and guest – in whatever capacities you can.

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    Outstanding Blog!}

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