Ten ThousandVisions




Category: Observations

James Cameron on Compassion and Change

Avatar Home Tree

The other day, I had the privilege of listening to James Cameron (director of Avatar, Titanic) speak to a smallish group of us. He is someone who has been phenomenally successful in his creative endeavors and is actively reinvesting his earnings in finding and sharing more sustainable ways of living – aquaponics, solar and wind energy, education, working with indigenous peoples and much more. That is great but what was more prescient – and inspiring – was, for me, the deeper underpinnings of his inspiration and motivations.

Capitalism with it’s competitiveness and lack of forward thinking is killing us, he said. While there are innovations that stem from capitalism, those innovations result in design and technology that lasts a year, two years. No iPhone is designed to last 20 years. Compassion is what we need to guide us.

Capitalism has no compassion for others. It is through compassion that we actually change things, where we actually reach people. In all truth, we will be the last generation to know what abundant coral reefs look like. The human population has, he said, tripled in his own lifetime. And humans have changed the globe in a serious way.

There was a time when our model of expansion was simply to take what the next person had – whether you were the Greeks conquering neighboring countries or the British with their expanding empire or whomever. Constant expansion was possible because there was always a next person. Eventually, though, you meet yourself on the other side of the globe and there is no one to take from but yourself. A bacterium in a petri dish expands and expands and fills the dish and then, when it can no longer expand, it dies.

That is where we are at. This is a serious thing. We have met ourselves and we are now only taking from ourselves. We are adaptable though and, to many, it is evident that the current model does not work. Given the chance, or the necessity, we are also innovative. They come up with solutions. We don’t want a future where we just get by – where we can just sustain. We want a future where we can thrive. So we need to reinvent how we do things. For example – how we feed people. There’s no ‘food crisis’. That’s just the result of Monsanto and big agribusiness companies with their monocrops and over-fertilized soils that perpetuate drought and weather patterns. Then we go on to throw out food in one place, over consuming, and leave others hungry growing all the corn we need for soda and livstock… the cycle just goes on.

There is no compassion in the current business models. In the thralls of Wall Street commerce, compassion is smirked at as a novel passe idea. But that is what is killing us. We understand the world at a global culture level. We have all met each other now. We can’t not see how we affect each other. Our minds and intellects are excellent at understanding and identifying problems and coming up with solutions but we need to let compassion guide us. It is the only way we can actually create a world both present and future that will allow the human race to thrive.

Why I Vote (And Why You Should Too)

First W

The same old story: “Why vote? Voting doesn’t make a difference. Politics isn’t real. It’s all smoke and mirrors. An illusion to keep you distracted.” It’s a common story – in one form or another – told by a disproportionately large section of people my age and younger. I’m 38. So that’s a lot of people!

Getting people to believe that ‘politics isn’t real’ is a great way to con a populace into apathy and inaction. Each group, each subsection of the population, seems to have it’s own methods of doing so. It saddens me to watch people slip into sleep like that. Buddhism and Hinduism can use ‘karma’ – we are where we are and our lot in life is just our karma playing out, from the local to the national to the global level. It pacifies people. It keeps them from affecting changes. Christianity offers the carrot of eternal reward in Heaven and that God will judge, not man, so let things go. We all are guilty.

The New Age community offers this: “If you sit and think hard enough you will manifest a reality in which YOU have everything you need. Other people’s problems are simply them not thinking hard enough and manifesting what they need.”

Marx was right: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”. Man creates religion, he said, not the other way around. We create religion to justify our actions. To give us a framework with which to move through the world. If we choose to ignore the political currents of the planet or if we choose to feel powerless in the face of such currents, we can create a religious worldview which supports – even empowers – that sense of powerlessness.

But that doesn’t make it go away. Ignoring a thing doesn’t make it disappear. People are real. As are politics. Desires, needs, goals, greed, and generosity. They exist in as much as everything else exists. We move through the world together.

For the foreseeable future, there will be a Supreme Court. There will be women’s rights. There will also be pesticides and limits or bans or lack thereof. There will be trade agreements and the EPA. And, at some point or another, there will be a law against a thing you believe in. It might limit your dancing. It might restrict your access to birth control. It might strip you of some freedom you thought was undeniably yours. There will always be something.

Walking through the world maintaining an ignorance of any and all things that ‘bring you down’ only serves to further disenfranchise, to further the system as it is. The only way through is to engage. We are all humans having our collective human experience. While our mindsets might be different, the desire to live healthy and happy lives is something we all share.

Things get better. Some get worse. It’s a constant evolution of how we live together on the planet.

We are individual bodies but also a collective body – on local, state, national, and global levels. Like a body, we are always fighting off virus, bacteria, parasites. We have to be ever vigilant and can’t just roll over. There is no cell in my body that says “Fuck it, I’m just gonna sit here LA TI DA TI DA!” They all work together – all of the time. The same with people. We are all in it together, all of the time.

iI, say, one of our limbs is diseased, focusing only on our healthy hand – look how pretty and shiny it is! – doesn’t make the disease go away. In fact, we are more likely to lose the diseased limb. And we are weaker for it. The only way to heal is to engage with the process.

It is our duty to one another to engage this process of creating a healthy and happy environment for the entirety of our bodies – our local body and our broad global collective body. On the local level, we can vote for people who enact laws and ordinances that lead to situations like this:

A Florida City Just Arrested This 90-Year-Old for the Crime of Feeding the Homeless

or we can vote for people who can enact things like this:

Salt Lake City a model for S.F. on homeless solutions
“Salt Lake City has cut its chronic homelessness rate dramatically during the last 10 years by giving homeless people nice, permanent places to live with lots of counseling on-site. Its experience offers valuable lessons.”

This is now. This is what is happening. This is change in one direction or another. We aren’t just one ship with one rudder. We are many ships with many rudders and they change course one at a time. Eventually, when one ship sees that the direction another ship is heading in leads to greater prosperity, it will follow suit, or it will suffer. Such is life. But that doesn’t mean we stop.

Lead and others will follow. Follow and you have no right to complain about where you’ve been led.

Compassion: Recognizing Ourselves In Others


Here is a thing that boggles my mind: we need to convince other – we need to argue about – why people should be compassionate towards one another. We need to debate why we should guarantee a living wage? How is the bottom line more important than the basic needs of your workers? We discuss into absurdity why we should pass laws to guarantee that our veterans are cared for. And we need to convince people that we should care for the planet instead of just dumping toxic chemicals will-nilly everywhere. And we have the world we’ve created… that echoes all of these struggles.

Why should we be compassionate and how far should that compassion extend? Just to people who look like us, act like us, think like us? What about the people who are different than us? What about to, say, a tree, a bird, or the air? What’s the use – the utility – of compassion?

We tell stories about a wise sage who told stories about being compassionate. We tell tales with as far out of consequences as possible: you’ll earn karma, have a better spot in heaven, God sent his only Son, and so on. We tell all these stories – over and over. We create religions, stories, institutions… all just to create a reason – why we should feel a little bit of compassion for each other. And for ourselves. How did we go so far from that?

The earth. The animals. Trees, grass, people. The whole planet, the universe, the stars and sun. We run past the homeless person on the street. We can barely fathom that someone of the other side of the world. Our own lives carry on enormous conversations inside of our heads.

Religion: we create these intensely complex forms of spiritual governance all to just stimulate a little compassion for our fellow human – all to give a reason as to WHY we should care for those around us – and, more importantly, those who we perceive to be as DIFFERENT than ourselves.

We see ourselves and everything else. And we have this ingrained idea of needing to struggle to survive and the fittest – not the most collaborative – is the one which will survive. There’s nothing in the capitalistic mindset that says that most compassionate will survive. It’s a dog-eat-dog-world we’re told from the start. Competition is key! The man with the most wins!

The thing is – when we think like that, we stop recognizing ourselves in others. We’re taught to see the differences. Man. Woman. Black. White. Gay. Straight. Old. Young. Blond. Brunette. Red head. And so on. And we’re taught that our survival – in fact: our flourishing – doesn’t depend on their survival.

Yet, like all other organisms, we are self-perpetuating machines striving to perpetuate this human organism. How can we not see that the happiness of others supports our own happiness? And vice versa. We are not individuals: we are separate nodes of a greater organism. And, really, deep down, each of those nodes just wants to love and be loved.

It seems to take so much for us to just feel some compassion for others. And yet: it’s as easy as extending a hand, recognizing the life in another, feeling some kinship to another, and loving.

What’s In a Name (And the Choosing of our Own)


Names: what we name things. We name things all the time. Often we are using names we’ve been told to call things. Those names serve the purpose of being a point of reference in a conversation. Sketchbook. Pen. Cat. And then there’s more signifying names: my cat’s name is Figaro. Or Lukki. Or Maceo. 

I had a name that was given to me when I was born – Michael – and it accompanied a middle name – Robert, my dad’s name – and Brown, my father’s last name. And that was my identity for many years, tying me to a long family heritage and, on a broader scale, a long system of patriarchy.

In typical male/female marriages, the man always keeps his last name. Conversely, the woman has to give up her last name. This is rarely questioned. Sometimes people hyphenate the names but even that is MaleLastName-FemaleLastName. Few men ever consider taking the woman’s last name. Ask some married couple you know about that sometime. They will laugh, feel uncomfortable, etc. It’s weird.

So when Violet and I decided to get married o so long ago, she said: Let’s take a new name. She declared that she wasn’t interested in just taking my name and perpetuating the patriarchal idea of ownership of the wife.  At the same time, we wanted to be creating a solid container and, along the lines of the naming of things and, in a sense, bringing them into being via the name, a hyphenated name still seemed to create a sense of together-but-separate. It didn’t feel like that solid unified container that the contract of marriage created.

Violet suggested we take a new name. The new name would be our new container that we agreed upon together. It would be the name we decided to call ourselves. We are mirrors of the world around us so we wanted the name to reflect how we see the world.

Taking a name from another culture didn’t feel right. Our language is our language and its words and sounds and turns of phrase are a part of its own magic. It’s the language we have grown up speaking and the one we use to the call the world into being. Taking a word from another culture seems to support an imagined esotericism.

Quite importantly, we wanted it to sound right in our ears, with our first names, etc. It had to have a nice flow to it. Like harmonies in song, the last name had to work with the sounds of our first names. I like to feel words in my mouth: feel how they rolls off the tongue. Or not. How they starts and stops. Where they breathe and where they pause. So much meaning – and reflection of the world we perceive – is related through the sounds of words.

Lots of different words flowed through our mouths and ears. Finally we settled on “Divine”. It seemed to fill in the blank of that last name appropriately and would be symbolic of the container of this new family we were creating. It mirrored how we saw the world – all of the world – as divine. This divine life. This divine being.

Sometimes people meet me and they have this idea of me based on my name and on their own ideas of what Divine might mean – and why I might have chosen it. To some, it’s pretentious because the “Divine” is a far off thing or idea and who am I to call myself that? To others, it’s more what-your-last-name-wasn’t-good-enough? because we should be content with who and what and where we are in life. And, for others, it makes me super spiritual, whatever that might mean, because the Divine is so spiritual. The they meet me and they see that I’m really a rather ordinary person. I’m just this guy who sometimes has a rather crass sense of humor. I like wine and music. I like life. And to some, even that is an affront because, in their eyes, it’s not divine enough.

I can’t take responsibility for the projections of others. But I can take responsibility for who I am – and that is a human being, living his life. I enjoy this life quite a bit – with all of its many facets – and try to see it for what it is, whatever that might be.

And if we were to choose a word for that ‘what it might be’  then Divine seems to be a pretty good word.

Stepping Out of the Bubble


Art: “States of Mind: Those Who Stay” by Umberto Boccioni

The other day we’d gone to Mother’s – the organic healthy food store nearby and one of the things that makes Orange County, CA so much more tolerable. Orange County is something of a conservative bubble within the general liberality of Southern California. If you look at voting maps, you’ll see blue almost everywhere but for the red bubble of Orange County. We live here because my wife  teaches and is getting her PhD in philosophy here.

On that day, Southern California happened to be in the midst of a rainy deluge (thankfully, since it’s been a worrisomely dry winter) and, though we had walked there while the skies were clear, the sky was now down pouring. So we waited it out and, sitting  at the counter along the large windows at the front of the store, ate a chocolate bar.

A woman – maybe in her late 40s or early 50s – sat down next to us, remarking about the rain. I agreed: it was quite a sudden downpour.

“I just think about those people whose homes will be caught in mudslides!” she exclaimed, conjuring up images of large homes on hillsides and deluges of mud.

I agreed. Mudslides are intense but also… “I think about homeless people. It’s got to suck. Everything you own is soaked… I imagine that, for them, this drought we’ve been having is sort of a blessing, all things considered.”

She looked at me, with her pursed lips, her dyed silver blond hair, and her thin eyes. Uncomfortable. Silenced. Awkward.

“Mudslides are rough, too.” I shrugged.

And the conversation, what little of it there was, resumed.

So many people seem to only be able to empathize with those they feel are just as or more fortunate than themselves but when it comes to those they feel are less fortunate, they feel uncomfortable.

These blinders that humans have up, blocking each other out, living in bubbles based on imagined ideas of social standings… Our culture – with it’s hypnotized upward gaze – continues to exacerbate and perpetuate it. From birth we are presented with humanity as a spectrum of those who have less than us and those who have more. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to join those who have more and move up the social ladder. If we’re unlucky, we’ll slip down the social ladder.

And our lives, our cars, our homes, our social circles – all build on the bubble of our identities.

Yet, it’s so easy and so painless to step out of that bubble – and to include others. Look around. Do what you can on the very small person-to-person level. If you are walking into a grocery store and there is a person outside of that store asking for money, pick up an apple, a sandwich, something – and give it to them. Most often, people are just tired, hungry. Everyone wants just a bit of care. Every person just wants to love and be loved. If you can show that – through a smile, a gift, a handshake – then it helps to break down those boundaries a bit, it allows for basic humanity to shine through.

It is small things. It is compassion in the moment. It’s awareness… It’s life.


sunrise sunset

Near. Far. High. Low. Sunrise. Sunset. All’s relative. The sense of perspective and point of reference. Most of all: the limits that define us: the breadth of our breath and the width of our brow. All our stories and all our beliefs. Our laws, our traditions, our ideas of love, of economics, of mine, of yours. We create systems and structures that define us and tell us how to live in community with others. All of those systems: imagined ideas, dependent on each other and, most of all, on the belief in the solidity and actuality of this ‘I’. I am this. I am not that. I have this. I do not have that. Where am I in this picture? Where do I fit? And am I getting what I deserve? Am I giving what I should be? And does it translate to YOU?

Every image has a perspective and offers a glimpse of what-i-see-from-here. There can be so much to a little sky scape on a little canvas. And, then again, nothing at all. Paint, arranged in a specific array, that evokes a sensation. And a flurry of ideas.

If even it is a moment of sweetness, of non-linear, non-denominational, non-theoretical thought in the course of your day… A dash of color, a reminder… We are all here on earth, under the same sun, the same sky… There is no real reason to not love each other.

Sunrise Sunset
5″ x 7″

Why I’ve Given Up the Snark


I recently decided to shift one of the ways I engage with the world around me and wrote this article that was published on SolPurpose.com

Anyone who knows me knows that I can be an incredibly irreverent and snarky person. At times it can quite humorous and, at other times, it can be…less so, so I’ve come to found. I’ve thought about this – about what I say, how I act, what I do – about the roots and causes and effects of those words.

What is snark? UrbanDictionary.com defines it as a combination of “snide” and “remark.” “Snide” is “derogatory or mocking in an indirect way”…so to be snarky is to make indirectly derogatory remarks. I am certainly guilty of this.

Snark rarely adds anything to the world. In fact, it allows me to retreat from a discourse without giving anything back. Often, I use it in lieu of expressing actual disagreement or the opposite side to an argument. It lets me dish out my opposing view disparagingly in a way that cuts the other person.

Read the entire article here: http://solpurpose.com/2013/12/27/why-ive-given-up-the-snark/

Woman, Man, Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim

The other night Violet and I watched Pacific Rim – the great big blustery Robots vs. Monsters wanna-be epic from Guillermo Del Toro. It was OK and was exactly what it set out to be: giant human powered robots fighting giant alien monster creatures set to the tone of a bombastically epic musical score with a story as watered down as possible to bolster international appeal, peppered with terrible and predictable dialogue and a generally banal plot all couched in pretty awesome special effects. Ok, so there was that. But my critique of the modern cinematic blockbuster can wait for another day.

Because, really, there was something else that was more notable and I wouldn’t have even noticed if Violet hadn’t pointed it out.

See, there were really only two women in the whole movie (tho that is not what is at issue here). One, the Russian woman, never spoke a word, as far as I can remember, and was only ever dressed in a tight uniform with bright red lipstick like some sort of Robotech hooker. Basically her message to the world is that, if you’re a woman then no matter what you better be looking good. More importantly however, was the other woman – Mako – the co-pilot with the main character, Raleigh. There is this part when she’s finally been given the go ahead by the Commander – who has already referred to her as being a strong ‘girl’ (if he were talking to a male actor he’d say ‘man’ not ‘boy’) – to co-pilot the giant robot suit with him. She walks into the cockpit and Raleigh, the lead guy, says ‘You look good.’

As if ‘looking good’ is her goal – her aim. He didn’t say: I’m glad you’re here. Or: I feel better with you as my co-pilot.

Instead, it’s all about her good looks. As if she is there for his eye candy and his romantic interest. And that is exactly what her role is: she is the romantic interest in the movie. In most movies, any lead woman is inherently the romantic interest (and at the very least endures advances from most men in the film) and thus teaches men across the land that women are there for our attraction, our eye candy, and are just waiting to be noticed for their good looks, other skills being secondary and not worthy of the compliment.

Approach people about this there will be naysaying. No! That’s not true! The woman in Pacific Rim had much more of a role than that! But it will be men who will say that. Women on the other hand… they’ll agree. But many will dismiss it out of hand as one more example of the story that’s told.

Women are taught over and over – in ways subtle and not so subtle – that ‘looking good’ is more important than ‘being smart’ or ‘having courage’ or ‘doing awesome shit’. Women are told at a very young age: “you look so pretty. Look how beautiful you are.” Boys on the other hand are more often complemented on how fast they’re growing, asked about what sports they play, and told they’re looking big and strong. Those are the two primary values we give to each gender as a whole.

Look, Pacific Rim is just one more movie in a long long chain of movies with the Action Hero Good Guy, the eye candy woman who is there to tag along, and a monster/villain/evil/plague/etc to fight that, in the end, HE kills/conquers/etc and is the hero and, in Pacific Rim, he is the one who sends her on her way to, presumably, live while he sacrifices himself.

How rare it would be if we watched HER sacrifice herself so HE can live! It never happens! And don’t be fooled into thinking: well, it’s just a movie. It’s just a story. O, it’s just ‘Hollywood.’

Movies, like music, books, pop culture, and the rest of the media machine are like echo chambers of archetypes. They continue to perpetuate certain myths and stories. As action movies turn more and more into special effects grab bags where a city has to get destroyed in order for us to feel any real emotion and a masculine hero has to save the day, we move farther and farther away from a balanced concept of gender and deeper and deeper into the ‘archetypal’ trope of damsel in distress and the hero who has to save the day.

It’s an old tired story but as long as there’s new youngsters waiting eagerly to plop down their money and go for the ride, there’ll always be a new audience to tell it to and fresh new minds to mold into the dominant storyline: Men = #1, Women = #2.

According to Pacific Rim: it’s OK to have a woman as a co-pilot as long as she is ‘looking good’ and doesn’t muck things up with her emotions.

Note: I’d like to thank Violet for her input on this as a lot of these bits and pieces stemmed from a conversation with her. :)

System Building Machines. I mean: Humans

Burning Man 2013 Aerial View

A funny thing about humans (there’s lots of funny things about humans) is their propensity towards building systems. Often systems they build replicate the very structures they once sloughed off.

Some of us constantly seek out environments where we can experience and experiment with new systems and ways of relating. One such environment: Burning Man. What an experiment! Regardless of what they say, there is still very much a free for all going on. There’s so many groups of people trying to work together, camp together, build together, and play together that the radical experiment in this human experience is still going strong. The only thing that contains it is the mindsets of the participants.

Within that experiment has sprung up the idea of the ‘village’ – this big conglomeration of people all pitching together to create not just an amalgamation of various theme camps – but one great BIG theme camp. The village experiment is like a township within a county. BMORG, the county, so to speak, provides a certain amount of infrastructure – roads, bathrooms, a central art project, a cafe – and then the ‘village’ has tended to step in to try to make up for the rest, for the people who camp within it, that is. Often, for anywhere from 200 to 500 people (when does a camp become a village anyhow?), villages provide showers, meal plans, composting, grey water and electrical systems, entertainment, art projects, etc – all for a festival-worthy camp fee, and four or so hours of ‘volunteer’ work.

Whoa whoa there – wait waitaminit – hold the phone – right there – right off the bat – we’ve got it all wrong. Volunteer shift? What is this!? A festival!? Some kind of be-a-part-now-you’re-done shindig? No, it’s fucking Burning Man and the great edict is EVERYONE IS A PARTICIPANT. We’re ALL volunteers. So people get in their minds that they are owed certain things because they paid their money. Some villages, in an effort to raise a bit more money, allow people to pay extra to skip out on ‘break down’ – entitlement in it’s finest!

So I ask: what are we teaching these people? These first timers who come to Burning Man and we think we can share something with them and they come to our village we set up and they pay their dues and get their meals and complain that there’s no soap in the shower (because they didn’t bring any? WTF?) and get bitchy because breakfast was a long line… and o they did their four hours of work already thank you very much.

I had this moment… this moment at Fractal Planet when I was talking to someone late in the week on Sunday who complained that breakfast that morning was so small – crepes? What the hell, she said.

And I thought about how I had dropped everything I was doing – which was: enjoying myself, hanging out with friends, having a good time – you know – it’s Sunday Morning After the Burn – to go make breakfast for everyone – along with the rest of a good chunk of the core crew. I mean, Android was there washing the dishes for hours (one more artist in a long line of Artists Who Are Former Dishwashers, like myself) and everyone else pitching in because if we didn’t do it, who would? And I stood in front of the hot stove for three or four hours pouring on crepes and flipping crepes and sending the crepes to the line. And cooking the crepes and cooking the crepes and blah blah while Moreno made another another another and another batch of batter…

And this person was complaining? I didn’t see them in there at all helping the process go faster.

I went out into the line, after several hours, because I was quite tired of the heat of the stove and said ‘look, we’ve been making crepes for you for four hours!’ (and I pronounced it crepes when really it’s crepes.) ‘But this isn’t OUR kitchen that YOU’RE eating at! This is YOUR kitchen! All these people are waiting in line to eat at YOUR kitchen! At THEIR kitchen. Want to make it happen faster? PITCH IN!”

I went on for a bit. I can go on for a bit if I want to. If I’m feeling it. One person offered to help.

I’d already helped managed the crew breakfast on the Saturday morning of build week. It needed to happen! So I made the potatoes and got the eggs going and suddenly had the spatula and was directing all this stuff for 100 people and that was along with a bunch of others who at that point had worked a lot and by now – by Sunday – were way overworked. So many people never show up for their ‘volunteer’ shift. So many people with so many expectations.

I also built a giant fucking stage for five days. So did a bunch of others. We paid our dues too.

I’m a volunteer. Just like you.

But I learned early on: bring all the everything that you need. You are not here to observe. You are here to serve. To be a part of it. To get your hands dirty. To break your nails. To rise. To fall. To RISE.

I’m afraid that what we’re teaching people isn’t the Radical Self-Reliance of much lore. We are watering down the grand experiment… Instead we’re coddling them into the Burning Man experience with an echo of the festival culture. They have their showers and their meals and their shade and their music and their power. And for them, for their first time, that ends up being the idea of Burning Man that they take home with them. To some, Burning Man ends up looking like an ever so slightly more difficult festival with a whole lot more music and lights.

If we pride ourselves on the things we have to teach people, is teaching them to be reliant on others via the amount of money they paid in, being a volunteer like they might volunteer at any old festival, paying extra to not deal with breaking stuff down… is that worth it? Do we like that?

How is this any better or worse than providing RVs and decorated bikes to those Burner Vacationer types? Hint: it’s not.

So what I see is that the system has been built to a point where it’s simply replicating what we know. There’s nothing new. It’s so hard to shake it. And what we know is Festivals. Festival culture has become an integral part of todays’ music and, in fact, summertime ‘scene’ and there are so many givens that seem to come along with it. As with anything, if you have the money, you can buy into it and be a part of that cool thing. And that money pays for the stage, the lights, the shade, the art domes, etc. So Burning Man ends up with these villages based on festival culture. But the festival culture is not Burning Man. We don’t need camp dues that are the price of a weekend ticket to LIB and end up funding the giant stage, lights, etc – all of which ends up looking like a festival within a festival. It’s nice. It’s interesting. But it’s not what Burning Man is. It’s not why I go to that inhospitable desert that seems to always just want to chew me up and spit me out again.

What we need – the people who organize these huge camps – who have grand visions – is to break it all back down again. Bring it back to square one. Reimagine what we are doing. How we’re framing this thing. Once again, it’s time to throw out the current system and come up with a new plan and a new method. That’s why this is the experiment. There is never anything wrong. It’s always just exploring ways of doing things.

The first-timers are always welcome. But they better bring their own water. Their own soap. Some rebar. And a willingness to get really dirty really fast.

The problem with reinventing the wheel is that you always just end up with another wheel. It’s best to just imagine something completely different.

How else COULD things work?

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