In the last few days we talked a little about Acculturation and the way it was written on the playajoy.org web site resonates with me a lot. This being my eighth year in the community I am struck by the perceived vacuum of understanding Burning Man culture when engaging people out of context; e.g. when in a Burning Man environment versus outside. When the frat boy or O.C. housewives make their tourist destination a burn and treat it like they were at a mainstream festival. Their disconnection is something that I feel.
Definition: Ac·cul·tur·a·tion 1. A process by which the culture of an isolated society changes on contact with a different one. 2. A process by which a person acquires the culture of the society that he/she inhabits. – playajoy.org
Being a Radically Inclusive culture means that we embrace people for whomever they are and where-ever they stem from which includes people like Pip Diddy (or whatever he calls himself these days), and billionaires in inflatable houses, pop-stars in bustiers and (heavy sigh) Segway riders. It’s always we… otherwise it becomes us versus them.
The 10 Principles are important. The glittery glint in a newbie’s eye when they drink the burning man punch is something that makes salty veterans smile and avert their eyes because the saltier they are now the more glittery they were then. We remember when we chased those pretty lights with fishing-line behind them?
We have been forced to learn that at some point the radical inclusion had a gray area: I don’t want to hang out with the frat boys or others that do not appreciate …TTITD*. My gray area is that I get to say ‘no’ to a group or individual that I do not choose to embrace.
Show me a principle and let me show you a gray area.
Show me a principle and let me show you how it fits into my life… so both are true. Life is about balance. Life is perspective and the 10 Principles shine very differently depending on where you are in your journey through the Burning Man culture.
Why is Acculturation important?
Or one might ask why is acculturation necessary? Depends on how deep the proverbial bug bites. If you chose to embrace the popular gypsy image of burners or the outlaw anarchist.
Burners come in all shapes and sizes. Often naked or shirt-cocking. But one either finds a life in the playa or simply moves on to new things.
There is an interesting trend for those who are smitten:
- Year One: Can’t shut up about it
- Year Two: This is the year you bring a theme/sound camp or art car
(that is better than all the others you saw because it can be done)
- Year Three: The real year you get a theme camp going or you make that great art piece
The culture of this community we celebrate is still growing around the world. It’s inevitable commercialization are seeds falling from the trees starting new forests of followers.
Acculturating to Burning Man Principles is not giving up your individuality, but embracing new definitions of what it could mean.
1. A process by which the culture of an isolated society changes on contact with a different one.
This could go either way. Who is isolated?
2. A process by which a person acquires the culture of the society that he/she inhabits.
Opening the mind to the ways of others.
Definition of ACCULTURATION from Merriam-Webster
: cultural modification of an individual, group, or people by adapting to or borrowing traits from another culture; also : a merging of cultures as a result of prolonged contact
: the process by which a human being acquires the culture of a particular society from infancy
\-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective
\ə-ˈkəl-chə-ˌrā-tiv, a-\ adjective
*TTITD = That Thing In The Desert