September 2nd, 2004

buzzed, B&W

Thursday morning . . .

Yesterday I spent a lot of time observing. I still haven't truly immersed myself into the culture, as my inhibitions keep me from approaching people. That's the reason I feel like walking w/ Matt, but I also feel like I'd be using him as a crutch.

This is one event where my individualistic tendencies are making it difficult. I know I haven't had a true BM experience, but I still have too much inhibition.
buzzed, B&W

Kids, temples, community, etc

You see kids out here. Over hearing the conversations, they seem to be intelligent, open minded individuals w/ caring parents. The parents remind me of Katie from VISTA leader training, able to talk to their kids about anything.

I'm sitting near the temple now, admiring the scope of the project. It's probably 200' tall, with layer upon layer of scroll saw cut laminate; the detail is so intricate. It's hard to imagine them burning this. They had 3 cranes and a cherry-picker out here building the thing.

The sense of community, and my being an outsider to it, reminded me of the conversation I had with Kelly and Carolyn about how we need to build inclusive communities, specifically we were discussing AmeriCorps. I was mentioning how we should make efforts in include all. I think there is a general feeling of welcomeness here, which is similar to the ideas I was trying to express to the girls.

On the other hand, I don't feel like a true member of the community because I don't feel like I'm contributing. There is some discussion about "spectecating" i.e. participating as a spectator, but I don't feel like a valid member of society.

In the real world, I volunteer, empower others, help non-profits, etc, where as here, I feel like one of those people I make of - those who go to work, go home, watch TV, sleep, repeat ad nauseum.

I want to give something back, but I don't know how. The lack of a barter economy contributes to this as well. The anti-commercial theme has been extended to the degree where all these camps just give stuff away. It's not a give and take, but rather a "I have this, so that what I don't need - it makes me happy to support you."

Perhaps this attitude is because the disposable income that many of these attendees seem to have (financial stats from last year are here. 20% of the attendees are in the 75k or more bracket, and about a quarter of the people spent over $1000 before travel expenses). There are lots of rental RV's, VW's, BMW's, Audis, etc, along with the huge amount in generators, art, geodesic domes, etc. On one hand BM lambastes commercialism, on the other, these are some ultimate consumers, using stuff, then pitching/burning it.