Lasting change from experimental societies?

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Alexisaok
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Lasting change from experimental societies?

Post by Alexisaok » Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:38 pm

I am a playa virgin for another 40ish days and i was wondering, How do you take the things you have learned from the experimental society of Black Rock City and incorporate that into your daily lives?

Also, has anyone ever read Walden Two by B.F.Skinner? It's fantastic, really reminds me of the ideals of BM put into use as a self sustaining society.

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Isotopia
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Post by Isotopia » Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:25 pm

There's a litany of writings and works by people who have come to the playa and taken much away.

I'd caution you against trying to read too much into it though - especially some of the the Kool-Aid that gets spilled about with words like 'society,' 'urbanity,' 'culture,' and my fave 'paradigm.' Things get all sticky and messy when that shit starts getting tossed around.


Words (and terms) like 'collaborative' and de facto have more currency with this writer than any suggestion of societal re-ordering or restructuring. Walden Two is an exercise that looks remarkably workable on its pages but I'd argue is considerably harder to pull off in real life. Its intellectual masturbation of the first order. Its fun, makes for a good time, doesn't hurt anyone and gets old after about the tenth time with no real girlfriend. Same can be said of the event. For a week it often looks - especially to the newcomer - that the new paradigm is gonna get set the old ways on its head. But, if you think on it with some rigor both long enough and hard enough you realize that it is pretty non-sustainable concept. Not that I'm trying to piss on the parade here but I think even Larry Harvey might pretty well say as much.

Think of it more as a camping trip that challenges your ideas about camping trips and the rest sort of starts falling in line. Try not to assign more meaning than what's informed by your experiences at the event rather than the smoke a lot of media (and attendees) try blowing up your ass. This is especially true when you first see any sentence or paragraph that starts with the words "Burningman is about..."

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Eric
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Post by Eric » Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:54 pm

Isotopia wrote:Try not to assign more meaning than what's informed by your experiences at the event rather than the smoke a lot of media (and attendees) try blowing up your ass. This is especially true when you first see any sentence or paragraph that starts with the words "Burningman is about..."
Words to live by. Anyone who goes out there expecting to have their life changed will probably be disappointed when "magic" doesn't happen.
It's a camping trip in the desert, not the redemption of the fallen world - Cryptofishist

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Re: Lasting change from experimental societies?

Post by Brooks_DallasTX » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:01 pm

Alexisaok wrote:Also, has anyone ever read Walden Two by B.F.Skinner? It's fantastic, really reminds me of the ideals of BM put into use as a self sustaining society.
BM is not really self-sustaining. A lot of resources are brought to the desert, consumed and a lot of garbage hauled away and dumped.

I am trying to live by Eric's good advice and come with no expectations.
Normal is boring.

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Mojori
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Post by Mojori » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:50 pm

Isotopia wrote:Think of it more as a camping trip that challenges your ideas about camping trips and the rest sort of starts falling in line.
I would say Burning Man has many central aspects that set it apart from a camping trip. Key among them, however imperfectly expressed, is a real group ethic of helpfulness, kindness, playfulness and support. It is quite intentional. I find the overall social experience of Burning Man to be very refreshing and quite different from that I have in the "default world.' I come back from Burning Man with a renewed sense of the goodness of humanity -- an appreciation I'm not particularly good at maintaining but at least it lasts a while.

I find myself acting with greater detachment, acceptance and confidence in post Bman social settings. For a period of time I see society as an evolving and worthwhile system worthy of help. The more burns I go to the longer this state of mind lasts afterward.
Isotopia wrote:Try not to assign more meaning than what's informed by your experiences at the event rather than the smoke a lot of media (and attendees) try blowing up your ass.
I think Isotopia's comment here is REALLY on the money. Words to live by indeed. Don't expect anything and you won't be disappointed.

That being said I will add that I had LOTS of powerfully magical experiences my first year -- and many at every year since. Will you? Who knows.

I can assure you though, if you go with an open mind and a strong feeling of gratitude about being there . . . you WILL have exceptionally wonderful and memorable experiences! Because of this, when you return to the rest of society your presence in it will be more positive.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

- Epicurus

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Eric
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Post by Eric » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:56 pm

Mojori wrote:
Isotopia wrote:Think of it more as a camping trip that challenges your ideas about camping trips and the rest sort of starts falling in line.
I would say Burning Man has many central aspects that set it apart from a camping trip.
Think of it this way- if you go out only expecting a survivalist camping trip, albeit a kick-ass one, you won't be disappointed if that's all you get. If you go out expecting to be "changed" and you're not (and a lot of people aren't) you will hate the time & expense you put into your vacation.

Expect the least, that way anything more you get is great.
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Post by theCryptofishist » Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:08 am

Mojori wrote:Key among them, however imperfectly expressed, is a real group ethic of helpfulness, kindness, playfulness and support. It is quite intentional. I find the overall social experience of Burning Man to be very refreshing and quite different from that I have in the "default world.'
However, I think one of the things that sustains this on the playa is that people are in a holiday mood, where people are friendly, they don't have to use alarm clocks, the hierarchies are not brutally repressive and they are having fun. Once we get back to the daily grind, all bets are off.
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Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

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Post by Isotopia » Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:33 am

Once we get back to the daily grind, all bets are off.
Which I think explains the post-event malaise which so many people comment on right after the event.

The event slowly washes off just like the dust in that first long shower you take when you arrive home.

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Post by ygmir » Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:46 am

theCryptofishist wrote:
Mojori wrote:Key among them, however imperfectly expressed, is a real group ethic of helpfulness, kindness, playfulness and support. It is quite intentional. I find the overall social experience of Burning Man to be very refreshing and quite different from that I have in the "default world.'
However, I think one of the things that sustains this on the playa is that people are in a holiday mood, where people are friendly, they don't have to use alarm clocks, the hierarchies are not brutally repressive and they are having fun. Once we get back to the daily grind, all bets are off.
very good point Fishy.

I've always, wondered, what would happen, if, for some reason, we all got stuck out there for 6 months.................
YGMIR

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Eric
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Post by Eric » Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:09 am

ygmir wrote:I've always, wondered, what would happen, if, for some reason, we all got stuck out there for 6 months.................
Lots of dead bodies.

Probably salted & served as bacon.
It's a camping trip in the desert, not the redemption of the fallen world - Cryptofishist

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Post by Timezone LaFontaine » Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:33 am

I can't comment on how this might change all of society, but the ways I've changed as an individual have been dramatic and directly inspired by many of my experiences in BRC. Seeing the amount of effort people put into a home for one week made me reevaluate how little effort I had gradually become accustomed to putting into my home for the rest of the year. Plus I've been inspired to learn to sew, build wooden furniture, hot forge steel, solder, and weld... definitely different results from what I remember of my vague expectations prior to being there for the first time... practical skills that provide me with new avenues of expression as well.

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