Burn, Baby, Burn
A couple of weeks ago, I first posted about going to Burning Man this year, Burning Man 2012-The Virgin Voyage. As I mentioned before, it will my first time going. I have heard about it for many years and have lots of friends that go. But from everything I've been told, it's one of those things, that are beyond description, beyond pictures and video, an event that must be experienced.
So out to Black Rock Desert I go.
I have been reading the "Survival Guide" over and over.
And on the front cover are "The 10 Principles".
It was a big deal at Alchemy, the regional burn I went to in Georgia.
Interestingly enough, the guy I worked with who had been there a couple of years back, didn't seem to know what I was talking about.
Even my friend who had been going for over 10 years was unfamiliar with them.
Turns out they were originally written by Larry Harvey(one of the founders) in 2004 as guidelines for regional organizing, then later became a universal criterion of the general culture of the multifaceted movement.
So even though the concept and general vibe of the 10 principles may have been there from the start, their codification is relatively new.
That said it still gives me a good structure and platform.
I had planned on writing this post yesterday, but as fate would have it, I got too busy and this post got put on the back burner (pun somewhat intended). So in actuality, it is 9 days and counting. This is relevant because I had originally intended to take one of the "The 10 Principles" and give my particular take on it or how it applies to me or you know...so one day I'll have to double up.
The 10 Principles
Our community’s ethos is built on the values reflected in the 10 Principles. “Burning Man” is understood not as an event, but as referring to a way of life lived consistently with these 10 Principles. They are meant to be taken as a whole, as a set of commonly-understood values that have arisen out of the history of the Burning Man experience.
I have always felt like an outsider. I have always been different. I am completely OK with this now. I have struggled with it in the past, certainly in my teens and in my brief stay in college. But now, finally as I am on the downside of the hill as it were, I am mostly comfortable in my own skin.
It's not like conformity or "being normal" were ever options for me, I was always going to "be me". What's changed is the resentment or anger or confusion about being "other". I'm pretty much OK with it these days.
I was one of the few straight decorators in the film business for several years. It was pretty interesting being on the outs for being a "white, hetero-sexual male" in the United States, but I was.
And when we started home-schooling and I was the primary "educator", well I was once again in the minority. I was never excluded by either group but I was "other" an outsider.
But my childhood prepared me for this. I was the pale blonde kid, in a mixed-race family. My step-father, from age 2ish was Puerto Rican and my brother, or rather half-brother, a term I never used or was aware of until I was in my late teens, even early 20's, got dark skin and hair in the mix. They were my family and I was the really pale one who would get sunburned and didn't understand Spanish at family gatherings. My brother didn't either but because he looked like everyone else he could get away by being quiet.
Being the outsider looking in feels more normal than not these days and I have grown used to it, accepted it, embraced it. I have been very fortunate with being me and having a "take me as I am" attitude throughout my life. I have learned to bite my tongue at times in the name of politeness, civility and respect, something I didn't do as much in my younger days.
So I've not felt the need to be radically included. And one thing I've noticed in groups of outsiders is sometimes the need to push their "otherness", to demand to be accepted. And I understand the inclination, but I also see how that can be like a reverse prejudice and continues the cycle of exclusion and non-acceptance. As I grow older, I see more and more the import of being able to agree to disagree.
As far as Radical Inclusion goes, when we had a house and an extra bedroom, we opened it up for all sorts of friends, family, and complete strangers. In the 7 years we lived at Don Milagro, a dozen or so people have stayed with us for periods ranging from a few days to several months. People we barely knew to family and family of friends we'd known since they were babies. People of all background, religious affiliations, age, gender and race shared the space with us. It was an incredible experience. The best thing about having that huge house was being able to share it.
Is this the Inner Me?
Even I am hesitant going out in public like this.
For one it's really hard to see out of the nostrils of the mask.
And it is a huge ordeal to pee and for that matter drink.
But on a serious note, Radical Inclusion does not mean you agree or understand, or even accept, but you include which allows for conversation, dialogue, discourse, discussion, and hopefully more acceptance and understanding.
Yes it is getting convoluted but complicated topics will be apt to veer about and stray off course and..... be unresolved.
And that's OK.