End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical commu

Postby ranger magnum » Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:22 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:You all do it your own way, but I'm not going out to the middle of the desert without everything I need! I'll rely on others in case of unforeseen emergency but I'm sure as hell not gonna plan on it.


Exactly. I bring about 120%of the things I need like water and food. I can always use them when I get home. I bring enough stuff to do emergency repairs on the RV while on the road. Some years I have not needed half the stuff. Other years I needed it all. But I could never imagine not being totally self sufficient. I do not subscribe to "The Playa provides" mentality that many people seem to....
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical commu

Postby pink » Sun Apr 19, 2015 7:13 pm

I go under the assumption that even if no one else in my camp shows up, I'll have everything I need. Except shade that is, but my van stays pretty cool as it is. It definitely wouldn't be as comfy, but I'd have food, water & supplies.

But it's nicer if my camp shows up :D
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical commu

Postby some seeing eye » Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:46 pm

I worked with an individual, who I was advised came up with crazy ideas, but only 2-5 years out were understood as issues.

The interwebs allows anyone anywhere in the world to discover and aspire to participate in BM. On these boards, assuming FB and similar, these self reliant individuals are solo getting tickets, solo vehicle passes, acquiring and disposing camping gear for a week use.

BM worldwide expansion will increase that trend. Separate and related there are quite a few people in the world wanting to solo cross BM off their festival bucket list.

(Generally the cult leader is responsible for big picture thinking, but we are a do-ocracy, right?)
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical commu

Postby FoolsGold » Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:20 pm

I'll preface what I'm about to write by making it clear that 2015 will be my first Burning Man. All I know about it comes from what I've read or seen online or heard from someone I know who has been...

I don't necessarily think if one travels to BRC alone or camps alone means that person can't or won't be part of the community once there. To me, that person could be just as much a part of the community as anyone else there; there's really no reason why that can't or won't be the case. In a sense, that person might have more motivation to be involved in the community (or a community, if you will) than someone who is part of along-established camp. A solo burner needs to actively engage with others or that person is likely to experience what I would imagine could be a very lonely week. I suspect that fact is not lost on most people who either choose to – or have no choice but to – travel there alone.

Embracing "the community" to me sounds like a noble idea; I just imagine there's no wrong way to go about it.

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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical commu

Postby Captain Goddammit » Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:59 pm

I believe that people should show up self-sufficient and embrace the community.
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical commu

Postby Lonesomebri » Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:09 pm

I always show up with 50% of what I think I have. 150% of what I don't need. And 100% of what I do need.

My first year I came with everything I needed and even lent out tools, but I turned down an offer to eat with my neighbors early in the Burn and regret it to this day.
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical commu

Postby Elorrum » Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:29 pm

I agree with Cap'n: nothing wrong with going solo. I think it actually fosters random alliances and lasting bonds. It amazes me how many theme camp people, or new people demanding theme camp membership can't even contemplate how wonderful a solo experience can be. You say hello to your neighbors the same as you do in a theme camp. You share your company and neighborliness the same way. Seriously... *shakes head* It worried me more as a new participant to hook up with potential nitwits or jerks before I got the lay of the land and got to choose how and who to join in with.

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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical commu

Postby vargaso » Mon Apr 20, 2015 5:44 pm

Coming prepared means you have enough to share, so radical self-sufficiency and radical community are one in the same, as far as I'm concerned. For better or worse, and as much as I dislike the phrase, the playa does indeed provide.

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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby SteveInRealLife » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:49 am

It's a false dichotomy. Radical self-reliance and "radical community" have both always been concurrent parts of Burning Man. The problem is not that radical self-reliance is outmoded, but rather than it has been supplanted by radical self-entitlement. People come and always have come with the intent to share but with the understanding that personal responsibility is a must. Helping others who need it is a personal act of decency and an expression of one's values and virtues; the fact that it is not a requirement is what makes helping others and foster community laudable. Expecting others to help/provide/care for you, however, is not an example of radical community. It's just being a bum and I get plenty of that right outside my door.

I think instead of worrying about self-reliance, we should be concerned with commodification. Commodification of bodies, commodification of space, commodification of status. These are far greater threats to Burning Man.

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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby Captain Goddammit » Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:13 am

The playa provides nothing but a flat empty space to hold the event.
Other people who worked harder provide.

Elliorum is right... I'd say in my own experience (hell I've only been doing this shit for 17 years) is you meet MORE people and make MORE friends when you go alone without a camp. You've got nothing holding you back. No camp meal time you need to get back home for, no waiting around for anyone. When you're in a camp sometimes it's like you're on your own little island and you tend to hang with and interact mostly with your own group.

I think it's totally messed up to just sign on with any camp that will take you. When you go camping at a KOA campground, is that what you do? There is such a thing as camp drama and it ruins people's burn and sometimes destroys entire camps. There are threads about it active on eplaya right now. Not all people are "cool". In fact I've probably gotten into more verbal and physical confrontations on the playa than since I was a repo guy in the "default world" over 20 years ago.
Burners are just regular people from regular places and plenty are absolute assholes.

If you go on our own, you'll find and make friends. Then you'll get a much better idea who you want to camp with... kinda like in real life. Which, believe it or not, Burning Man is. It's more regular real-life now than it ever was before.
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby some seeing eye » Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:48 am

Thanks SIRL for reviving this and agree with CG, this is a core issue to discuss.

I'm coming from unwelcome bad club behavior and MOOP as my major concern. But I agree that lack of water, food, shelter, prep is a serious problem.

We can and should engage the new burners by encouraging and committing them to regionals. Should the burner profiles require?
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby VultureChow » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:07 pm

some seeing eye wrote:We can and should engage the new burners by encouraging and committing them to regionals. Should the burner profiles require?


I will forever have a problem with requiring ANYTHING from virgins other than a ticket.

None of us were required to take a citizenship test, or prove our worth. We came, we saw, and we participated. Every generation seems to rediscover the downfall of society in the technology and culture of the next generation.

If burning man is to die, or change so much as to be unrecognizable, it will come not from those young whippersnappers who just don't appreciate how good they have it, but rather from the policies and procedures of the organization.
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby some seeing eye » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:17 pm

Very strongly disagree with the above.
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby SteveInRealLife » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:21 pm

Revival was unintentional - I didn't even look at the dates.

The culture of Burning Man is important to me though and having taken a hiatus and watched changed from the outside over the last few years, it's been difficult to be comfortable with everything I've seen go on. I've seen a lot of changes that I haven't liked, starting in '07.

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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby SteveInRealLife » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:39 pm

VultureChow wrote:
some seeing eye wrote:We can and should engage the new burners by encouraging and committing them to regionals. Should the burner profiles require?


I will forever have a problem with requiring ANYTHING from virgins other than a ticket.


I agree. The problems that I've seen at Burning Man are based entirely on commodification of Burning Man. Desire to keep the event (and its profits) central have killed the goose that laid the golden egg. Burning Man should have imploded a long time ago. It's already sagging under the weight of entitlement behavior, exclusivity, cliques and drama, internal controversies...and these are nothing new. When RV's outnumbered tents and trailers and bikes gave way to Segways, it was too late.

The new people who come with the wrong idea are not the problem. The problem is that for a long time, the values of Burning Man were transmitted by spoken word and then perceived in action. As the new:experienced ratio changed to the point where there were 10 to 20 new participants every year for every one experienced participant, effectively communicating those values became impossible. Now, we have camp leaders who express their contribution as bringing beautiful women.

I'm attending again this year to spend time with friends and to indulge a particular joy which will be uniquely possible this year, but unless I'm very badly misled, I will be celebrating something far different from what I have celebrated there in the past. To preempt any pseudophilsophical hippy bullshit, I am aware that I bring my good time with me and I will do that as ever, but I fear that the synergy my good time was amplified by isn't present in the same way it once was.

Anyway...I don't think it's virgins that are the problem. I think when possible, we should break off and throw our own parties and when they grow so big that someone thinks it's a good idea to make money from it and the powers that be perk up and take notice and want a slice, we should have the courage to abandon it and grow something new.

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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby VultureChow » Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:00 pm

My first year was lottery year. I bought in the presale. And when the lottery went down and many camps and veterans were without tickets, the rhetoric turned on virgins. Every ticket we got was one that could have gone to their friends. They were more deserving. I won't forget that feeling of being unwelcome and underserving.

I have no memory of the glory days when you could buy a ticket at the gate. When you could decide to go on Saturday and roll up with a tent and beer and food and just have a good time.

The Directed Sale changed things more than virgins ever could. Now there's a VERY strong incentive to be part of an organized camp, and for camps to stay together to maintain placement history. It creates both stability and stagnation, and I say that as someone who benefits from the system now.

Things like bus service, flight services, embracing plugnplays are policies from the top.

If virgins are a problem, it's not because there are so many virgins, it's because org policies have made it possible for them to attend without any preparation AT ALL. It's not their fault for finding the easiest way to burn, it's the org and other burners valuing their money over their participation. Pay us enough and we'll have a yurt and water and bikes waiting for you.
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby SteveInRealLife » Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:11 pm

In general, I agree.

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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby Ratty » Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:50 pm

Steve, Exaggerate much?
As the new:experienced ratio changed to the point where there were 10 to 20 new participants every year for every one experienced participant,
The BRC Census will help you feel better about how many virgins attend each year.
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby Elorrum » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:07 pm

I think the busses guarantee that all but the best prepared riders will be depending on others to bring for them both what they need in terms of necessities, and personal material art.
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby ZigZag » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:45 am

Last year was my virgin year and I did not come with a sense of entitlement, I came with a spirit of embracing the culture as much as I could. I arrived early, volunteered with Greeters, helped people with camps and camped solo, gave away my art, and was radically self reliant. I drove myself across country and refused to rely on anyone for my food, water, shelter, and transportation. That said I was not afraid to ask for help when I needed it.

As a result of that approach I met many ePlayans who I consider friends, connected with burners whom I very much care about, met people I would never have otherwise met, and felt very much a part of the community. Now I am connected to the burner community in Minnesota, am going to the Vancouver regional, am learning fire spinning and hoping to perform at the conclave. I have been asked to join a camp which I politely declined this year because I very much liked the freedom of camping solo, not bound by camp obligations, driven by drama (though they are fairly dramaless) or captured in group agendas. Maybe next year, but for now, I want my independence to explore, interact and participate as I see fit each day.

In my mind, what ever that is worth, my ability to radically contribute to the community grows faster because of my self sufficiency.
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby Captain Goddammit » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:28 am

The event has two big problems. Plug & play camps, and the busses.
Yeah I know, how does someone who flew in from Farbackistan get to the playa and cover their needs... well, the answer is THEY DON'T!
This shit is ruining the event. The biggest difference between BM and a vacation at a resort was the self reliance and lack of commerce or accommodations.
Now we have the whining fuckers crying that EVERYONE can't just hop a flight and go to Burning Man. It's EXCLUSIVE... it's supposed to be inclusive of everyone... bulkshit!!! It was never like that. It was open and welcoming to anyone who got their own ass out there and took care of themselves. If it's that easy to just book a trip and accommodations, it really fucks the whole thing up.

The busses pretty much breed non-responsibility and self reliance. How do you bring art, camp stuff, and all the shit that makes BRC with you on the bus? YOU DONT. If you ride the bus, you're a spectator. OK there's a few Rangers and EMS people and such, but for the most part, if you bus in, you're going to spectate at what the others did. You're bringing your aura and hugs and moopy trinket "gifts".

Think I'm an asswipe? Answer this: if everyone rode in on the bus, would there be a Black Rock City?
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby SteveInRealLife » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:56 am

Ratty wrote:Steve, Exaggerate much?
As the new:experienced ratio changed to the point where there were 10 to 20 new participants every year for every one experienced participant,
The BRC Census will help you feel better about how many virgins attend each year.


Maybe you're not understanding me. My claim is that the problem is effective communication and reception of values, not virgins, though virgins and short time participants play an important role in that problem.

Obviously, supposing there were 10 for every one experienced burner since the city was in the 30k range, the city would be well over 300k by now. Yes, it's an exaggeration, but to prove a point. I stopped attending regularly in 2007 because of what I felt was a major departure from BM core values with the "Green Man" fiasco. I know I'm not the only long time attendee who quit because I've discussed this many times with people since then.

I'm sure you'll find the numbers here all fucked up, too. I do the people part of mental health, not the statistician part:
Let's knock the numbers down by quite a lot and make it easier to conceptualize, then. Suppose you have ten long timers and it's 2007 (ten burns or more) and let's say you have four five year burners and one virgin for every two of the two previous groups (7 virgins total). Three long timers drop out in 2008. 3 virgins return as mid-termers and one five+ drops out, and 6 virgins show up again. The lottery happens. Long time burners are reduced by two, mid-termers increase, and virgins drop to 5...so now we have 5 long timers, 6 short to midtermers, and 5 virgins. Long time burners are PISSED by the lottery and car passes. 2 more long term attendees drop off, the mid-term number grows, and virgins remain static.

At this point, the remaining long timers are the only people there who can communicate to others what they perceive to have been the original conditions and values of Burning Man. The attendees who started after 2005 call them haters and say they're clinging to old shit. This group communicates some values to the new attendees, but very selectively. When the lottery hits, some of their most tenured drop out, as well. 2008 becomes a threshold for "long term". Many of these, however, got their sense of values from the 2005 crop who selectively communicated. They don't really communicate values as much at all and you know...it's pretty much cool...people can figure it out on their own. Their numbers are somewhat reduced by the lottery as well. Turnkeys begin popping up, created by people who started attending in 2007 - 2010. They know the ropes, they know how to set up a camp, they have the resources to do it for others, and they start charging for their services. The people who show up for the turn key experience DO NOT WANT to have values communicated to them. They already know what Burning Man is about. It's about being beautiful in the sun for a week, doing as much cocaine as possible, and taking selfies. The original values are now very badly watered down and attempts to communicate them are almost always met with shouts of "evolve" or with quiet admonitions about not being able to step into the same river twice or whatever other quote I read in my positive affirmations calendar this morning before the Cupertino campus staff meeting.

I don't have time to pour over the census and draw you attendee graphs, but the picture I've painted here bears truth nevertheless. There has been a push away from the values of Burning Man as it was once; even at its most chaotic, it was mindfully chaotic. That mindfulness has been largely replaced by other values and I maintain the change is due to what I've shown above - first, an inability to communicate values, followed by selective communication of values, followed by disinterest in favor of new values (which I believe are largely superficial).
Last edited by SteveInRealLife on Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:12 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby SteveInRealLife » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:59 am

ZigZag wrote:Last year was my virgin year and I did not come with a sense of entitlement, I came with a spirit of embracing the culture as much as I could. I arrived early, volunteered with Greeters, helped people with camps and camped solo, gave away my art, and was radically self reliant. I drove myself across country and refused to rely on anyone for my food, water, shelter, and transportation. That said I was not afraid to ask for help when I needed it.

As a result of that approach I met many ePlayans who I consider friends, connected with burners whom I very much care about, met people I would never have otherwise met, and felt very much a part of the community. Now I am connected to the burner community in Minnesota, am going to the Vancouver regional, am learning fire spinning and hoping to perform at the conclave. I have been asked to join a camp which I politely declined this year because I very much liked the freedom of camping solo, not bound by camp obligations, driven by drama (though they are fairly dramaless) or captured in group agendas. Maybe next year, but for now, I want my independence to explore, interact and participate as I see fit each day.

In my mind, what ever that is worth, my ability to radically contribute to the community grows faster because of my self sufficiency.


Living in Reno and experiencing the annual local population increase firsthand and the behaviors they demonstrate, both here in town as well as in outlying areas (local hot springs, state parks, rural communities), I believe that you are part of a minority. I hope you continue to have good experiences and it sounds like you're very much embracing a core part of Burning Man culture.

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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby SteveInRealLife » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:15 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:The event has two big problems. Plug & play camps, and the buses.


Apparently, I'm out of the loop on how the bus thing works. I talked to someone recently who mentioned them and the friend I'm camping with this year mentioned it as well, but it doesn't seem like I understood fully. I thought he was talking about the sight-seeing lookieloo buses that corporate safari people rode around on in 2007. What specifically are you talking about?
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby Ratty » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:16 am

Steve,
I don't have time to pour over the census and draw you attendee graphs,
With all the time you spent on this post you could have taken a look at the Census archives. The attendee graphs are there already. Knowledge is power. Wouldn't you like to backup and refine your statements with fact? Thank you for putting so much thought into words.
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby SteveInRealLife » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:19 am

Instead of simply thanking me, would you possibly consider addressing my points? You may perhaps be missing that fact that I'm talking about compiling and cross-referencing information over a ten year period. It would entail more work than having "a look at the census archives".

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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby Ratty » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:22 am

Steve, never beg for feedback. You won't necessarily like it. I'm non-confrontational today. Wait here patiently. Someone that cares will happen along. I'm a volunteer at Census. Thus the interest in your misstatements.
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby SteveInRealLife » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:26 am

I'm not begging for anything. I'm asking you to address the points you're tacitly disagreeing with (in addition to the point you've explicitly disagreed with) rather than reiterating my need to look at the census. Discussion is an interplay of multiple ideas; it is not simply repetition of one point ad nauseum at the expense of all other expressed points.

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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby Ratty » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:36 am

I'm non-confrontational today. Wait here patiently. Someone that cares will happen along. I'm a volunteer at Census. Thus the interest in your misstatements.
Steve, I'm not quietly disagreeing with you. I don't even remember what you wrote. Seriously. Wait here and someone will come and argue with you. Someone that will pick at every word and fabricate facts to back themselves up. I was only interested in correcting the math and putting in a plug for the Census nerds. Wait for it....Your hard work and deep thoughts will be appreciated. I have to ...do something.
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Re: End of radical self sufficiency - shift to radical community

Postby VultureChow » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:47 am

SteveInRealLife wrote:
Living in Reno and experiencing the annual local population increase firsthand and the behaviors they demonstrate, both here in town as well as in outlying areas (local hot springs, state parks, rural communities), I believe that you are part of a minority. I hope you continue to have good experiences and it sounds like you're very much embracing a core part of Burning Man culture.


For every asshole virgin, I can point to asshole veterans.

The guy who did Gypsy Flower was a veteran. Caravancical was put on by veterans. The Org are veterans.

I've met oldtimers who don't cotton with our strict LNT policies because they could dump grey water wherever they liked back in the day.

SteveInRealLife wrote:Apparently, I'm out of the loop on how the bus thing works.


Burner Express is a bus that leaves from either SF or Reno and drops you off right on the playa. By necessity you are limited to what you can carry. People have managed to bring everything they need within the limits, but it's tight,

It is GENUINELY a useful tool. We might have a virgin camping with us this year, and we recommended he try that. We already have an extra bike for him and can help with water, but we'd make him bring his own food, tent, clothing, etc. By utilizing the service, he's not renting a car and putting another vehicle on the road. I think he'll enjoy it and fit in, and frankly I love having a virgin around. It's like when your friend gets a new puppy. Yes they may piddle on the floor occasionally, but they're SO MUCH FUN!

However, it does give people the opportunity to show up with NONE of the things they need to survive and for less scrupulous camps to sell them those services and make some money.
Sic Semper Spectatores


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