Posts in immediacy

May 1st, 2013  |  Filed under The Ten Principles

Pondering 10 Principles

The Ten Principles:

  1. Radical Inclusion
  2. Gifting
  3. Decommodification
  4. Radical Self-reliance
  5. Radical Self-expression
  6. Communal Effort
  7. Civic Responsibility
  8. Leaving No Trace
  9. Participation
  10. Immediacy

In the middle of all the physical and metaphorical dust storms, The 10 Principles keep the beautiful chaos on track. Some are pretty clear, like “Leave No Trace.” Others are more tricky to get your head around. As a long-time Burner, I am sometimes asked to clarify or explain the Principles as I understand them. Read the official explanations here, and then check out my thoughts in the video above.

These views are solely the views of Halcyon and do not represent the opinions of The Burning Man Organization.

February 8th, 2013  |  Filed under Technology, The Ten Principles

Connectivity Vs. Immediacy

[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.]

connection

“This will never fit into a Twitter update.”

Ten years ago I saw a guy dressed like a stockbroker walking along the Esplanade. He was wearing a dust-covered suit and tie, yelling into a cell phone, “Sell, I said! SELL!!!!” It was cute.

Last year I saw quite a few people checking cell phones at Center Camp throughout the week. It was not cute.

Over the years, cell phone & internet access has become more and more accessible at Burning Man – and I think it is a shame. Do I have any right to dictate how someone behaves or “Radically Expresses” themselves? Nope. But I think the Playa’s rare gift of “Immediacy” is in jeopardy.

I was asked about my thoughts this week and clarified my frustration in the video below.

These views are solely the views of Halcyon and do not represent the opinions of The Burning Man Organization or Major League Baseball.

June 30th, 2011  |  Filed under Afield in the World

Pen Pals

I have a pen pal.

We’ve never met. Not in person, anyway. Well, not in the flesh, I mean. I find it hard to define what constitutes “in person” lately. It seems like a good bit of my person is having an out-of-body experience in a virtual world. And that’s where I met my pen pal.

We’re both Burners, of course. That’s how it started.

We met by the Internet’s water cooler, reading the same Burning Man posts and feeling giddy about summer coming on. Soon, we were sharing photos, little windows into each other’s days just 600 pixels wide.

That’s actually a pretty wide window into someone’s life, if it’s open and the blinds are drawn. Human beings are pretty vast, but we’re also vivid. A lot of light gets through even a tiny aperture, and our sensors are pretty sensitive.

Burners are not special in this way, but maybe we just tend to focus on the same scenes. It’s a startlingly immediate connection, a confluence of perspective, meeting a fellow Burner in the wild.

Not that I met my pen pal in the “default world” at all. I’m not ready to extend that burnerism to the Internet. That’s a little too @GreatDismal a vision of the future.

But wherever we are, screen names and avatars, we’re still living the principles, making normal moments into works of art and giving them to each other. Just because we can’t feel them doesn’t mean they aren’t there, and vice versa.

We can’t be all virtual, though. Our bodies have mass, and the enormous gravity of our eventual meeting at Burning Man exerts a powerful force.

“Will you be my pen pal?”, I asked in a direct message.

She said her heart skipped a beat when she read that. Strong stuff.

And now we make letters and send them to each other. It takes five days for them to traverse the west coast of the United States from south to north, and five again from north to south.

It’s incredible how, in 2011, this still-modern marvel feels like such a long wait. Read more »

March 29th, 2011  |  Filed under Tales From The Playa

Babylon Cowboys

Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.

Photo: mkgraph

I’ll never forget the first time I was out by the Temple at midnight, scribbling something by the dull light of my headlamp, when the flashing red and blue lights of the default world streaked past, causing everyone around me to nearly jump out of their skin.

A gunmetal gray SUV skidded up to a scene maybe ten yards off into deep playa, where a bunch of EL-wired nightcrawlers stood stock-still. The doors opened and slammed, men in khaki uniforms stepped out brandishing bright flashlights, and they encircled those hapless hoodlums, while the red and blue lights swirled around us.

I didn’t know the reason for this disturbance; those midnight ravers may have fully deserved their run-in with the law. But I was unable to determine how I felt about the situation. Part of me felt intruded upon. Who did these Babylon cowboys think they were, zapping everybody with their lights like that?

But on the other hand, there was something profoundly hilarious about it. The action was beyond earshot, but I imagined this whole absurd scene playing out:

“Awright, son! Put yer hands on yer head! Toooo much fun! Burnin’ Man’s over fer you! Yer cut off!” Read more »

December 29th, 2010  |  Filed under Tales From The Playa

Ripe

Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.

The first drink I ever legally bought myself was a $7 airplane beer on the flight to Burning Man 2008. It was my first time. The theme was The American Dream, and as far as I could tell, this was it. Happy 21st birthday to me.

Diesel, my lover and associate, was in the seat beside me. She had more than something to do with getting me into this. We shared a blood brother, Harry; he and I played in a band together, and he was coming, too. There was also Val, AKA Human, another friend of theirs, whom I was just getting to know. But Vivid was the one who brought this all together. To the extent that going to Burning Man was any one person’s idea, it was his.

PHOTO: Jon Mitchell

Vivid hailed from Mendo, and he was in with the Phat Cat Lounge, a wild younger-brother camp to the Skinny Kitty Teahouse, which appeared to be a venerable outfit. He had the plan. Diesel and I would fly out to Oakland from Boston, where he, Val, and Harry would pick us up, and we’d strap our bags to the roof of his Subaru and take a midnight drive into the hills. The next day, we would buy supplies and try not to forget anything. Then, the day after, we’d go to Burning Man.

Read more »