Radical Experimentation

The Burning Man Project’s Social Alchemist, Bear Kittay, has just given a TEDx talk in Stockholm, Sweden. He talks about harnessing creative energies to address social inequity.

Burning Man’s Bear Kittay asserts the need for “Radical Experimentation” for humanity’s survival and thriving in the 21st century and challenges governments and philanthropists to adopt a new approach to creative empowerment.

As a Social Alchemist for Burning Man, Bear has worked closely advising Burning Man’s CEO and has represented the organization on six continents while pioneering new initiatives to instigate trans-national network collaboration. While acting on the belief that cultural evolution and technological innovation are inextricably linked to personal transformation, Bear’s creative, iconoclastic nature throughout his career has helped him build an extensive network of funders, operators and sector experts in countless mission-driven enterprises globally. As a founder of Organizer.com, Music for Democracy, and advisor to several venture-backed startups, Bear has raised over $20 million in funding.

So what does this mean for Burning Man’s future? Will we see some “experimentation” (which, despite Bear’s claims, is a noun, not a verb)? Will BMOrg introduce some innovation in the way Burning Man is put together and run each year, beyond just the bizarre ticketing system and themes beginning with CAR? Can Burners come up with ideas to make the world a better place – and will BMOrg take the risks to try them?

Or will it continue to be the same every year – just add virgins, taxes, and rules?

Some highlights:

“Let’s reimagine civilization…let’s co-create a community”

“When the fixed outcome of an experiment turns into an identity, the identity turns into an institution, the institution turns into dogma – and we’re right back where we started.”

“The hippie movement, the green movement, Occupy, Burners – it’s so easy to fall into the trap with identifying so much with one solution that happened in the past, that it becomes who we are and limits us”

“The Internet is an umbilical cord, we’re all connected – we are all learning, adjusting and calibrating into this new macro-organism…this new participatory identity and way of life is fundamentally different”

Best practices in transparency that we have access to every day transform how we view the world, allocate our resources and time, who we feel we are in the context of others”

“Democracy is transforming from the idea of voting to becoming constantly part of an evolving real time conversation”

“We must develop the cultural and social technologies to properly leverage these moments we’re going to have in our evolution to create the better world we want to see”

“How do we unlock our real genius in society? Support those who are not neuro-typical…Gifted minds need to be nurtured.”

Think you might be gay? Go try it! Are you an artist?…go make some art…what’s the worst thing that’s going to happen? We’ve got to break our taboos, we have to break off our shackles…that’s what it’s going to take to move humanity forward” 

“I challenge those who are professional investors or exited entrepreneurs or philanthropists to break your models…let’s prioritize in investing in more things like Burning Man”

 The Modern Iconoclast...'Calm down. Things will work out.'

12 comments on “Radical Experimentation

  1. “We need more solutions than we’ve ever needed before.”

    Holy fuck, what a meaningless statement. Amazingly, it gets even more vapid from there. Kudos to this dude for breaking ground in vapidity.

    • Knowing that the NPD BOrg is watching your every move, it must be truly bizarre to work there. Proselytize about an approach that the BOrge itself entirely rejects with a straight face and a smile.

  2. Another vapid and inane Ted presentation where I believe the real purpose is to make the speaker feel that he is being both wise and profound. Meanwhile the audience gets to feel special since they in attendance are partaking in this wisdom and cutting edge thought.

    What a bunch of bullshit.

    • Even after I read the inane excerpts, I tried watching the video. It was like watching buzzword-soaked Silicon Valley talking-points drowning in an intoxicated rant. I didn’t make it past his first slide.

      • What a fucking hypocrite! He should’ve just said: “Burning Man is about raising money to jetset around the globe; just to lie my stupid fucking face off.”! FUCK this douche and the dbags he sloshes around with.

  3. I can’t recall at the moment, but I believe it was Larry who, when explaining BMOrg thinking, said that to make change you have to attract “people with clout,” by which he meant people with (a lot of) money.

    It seems to me that this idea, that change beyond the Playa starts at the top, is hopelessly wrong-headed. Of course, a lot of how things are organized *on the playa* are that way as well. I don’t mean to detract from the perhaps millions of person hours that created BM year after year. I mean only to address the structure and process of how change occurs.

    I love being on the playa: it’s the closest thing to a city-community I have experienced by far. It’s fantastic. But it’s not run in a way that we would want to expand to a longer timeframe. How are decisions made? What kind of democratic institutions are in place. How much can I influence where my “tax dollars” are spent? In so many ways, these things are decided “for me” by BMOrg.

    We can debate whether and to what extent this is a positive or negative for a week long intentional community. What is beyond debate is that this is *not* the way to take Burning Man “into the world” to create positive change.

    BMOrg has aligned itself with the rich and powerful to “get things done.” It seems that even a cursory review of history shows the astonishing hopelessness of this method succeeding.

    Sure, it feel good to be around the wealthy and powerful, and believe that you’re doing good to boot. But from Ancient Rome, to Google’s fleet of posh busses moving their minions past the rapidly diminishing regular folks of San Francisco, it’s a wishful fantasy to pretend that the rich and powerful will help better the lives of the rest of us.

    There are so many great concepts to take from BM into the world at large. It’s so sad that BMOrg has chosen to use the method that comes from its greatest weakness, leading from the top, in the misguided belief that people’s lives will benefit from this.

    • My thoughts exactly. The BOrg, and the way they orchestrate and manipulate the event and the burners while completely and utterly excluding those who create the event, is pretty much the best example of how NOT to be Burning Man. It’s like having Fox News say they can best promote what makes NPR great.

  4. The modern Burner culture would benefit greatly if they were all hermaphrodites. That way they could all fuck themselves. That’s not intended to be an insult. There’s just all this pent up energy to shove non-gender specific semen into every hole. And if this could all be done in one instant – 70k people shooting loads of bodily fluids into themselves, the result would be that they would all become instantly famous and incredibly intelligent, and the envy of the entire world population.

    And the overflow, the residual ooze, would grow on its own into a new species that would end world hunger, patch the ozone layer, and create a new political ideology that defies all ideologies – one that includes everyone and everything. With the money they save through these efficiencies, they would build starships even better and faster than the Enterprise and they would colonize not only this galaxy, but every other galaxy in the entire universe. They would spread love and joy so far and beyond that love and joy would be all that there is and all that will ever be known.

    • I think you grossly under estimate the BOrg’s belief in themselves.

      The group as a whole, or members of the group – acting as such and by virtue of their association and affiliation with the group –

      1. Feel grandiose and self-important (e.g., they exaggerate the group’s achievements and talents to the point of lying, demand to be recognized as superior – simply for belonging to the group and without commensurate achievement).

      2. Are obsessed with group fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance, bodily beauty or performance, or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering ideals or political theories.

      3. Are firmly convinced that the group is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status groups (or institutions).

      4. Require excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wish to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply).

      5. Feel entitled. They expect unreasonable or special and favourable priority treatment. They demand automatic and full compliance with expectations. They rarely accept responsibility for their actions (“alloplastic defences”). This often leads to anti-social behaviour, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.

      8. Are constantly envious of others or believes that they feel the same about them. This often leads to anti-social behaviour, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.

      9. Are arrogant and sport haughty behaviors or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, punished, limited, or confronted. This often leads to anti-social behavior, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.”

      From http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/14.html

      Let me note that an aspect that Vaknin often misses is that the envy thing (8.) is more often expressed as imagining that others envy them, rather than them envying others, though that may be the cause of their delusion.

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