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The Assless Chapel Newsletter #11: Immediacy Edition


Plutarch wrote that, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” The idea being that, while we should educate ourselves, the absorption of information is secondary to thought and the actions that result from it. When I was asked by Placement which of the Ten Principles I struggle with most, I responded that it was Immediacy. Ever since I was young, I loved to read and now, with the constant connection through a smart phone, I spend a great deal of my time reading and absorbing information.

The big downside is the opportunity cost of all this information absorption. When I’m on a smartphone I’m not enjoying the rustling of leaves in the wind, contemplating insights into my life or noticing that my son’s beautiful head smells like maple syrup. Perhaps one of the most important parts of my past Burning Man experiences has been the immediacy of living in the moment. Not thinking about work or checking a smartphone, but feeling, experiencing and cherishing every moment.

Immediacy on the Playa is the elimination of the mental impediments that keep us from exploring our inner selves; the surreality of our surroundings forcing us to experience reality in the moment; the inexorable pull of the temporary society that is Black Rock City into shared experiences with others; the ability to stop turning ideas over in my head and just enjoy the raw feelings of dust, heat and the spray of cold water from a bottle on my face; having your heart skip a beat because of the feelings of awe that an art piece inspires.

Of course, the last time I was at Burning Man, I don’t remember almost anyone taking pictures with his or her phone. I’m curious how the omnipresence of smartphones manifests itself on the Playa now. I’m always torn on taking pictures, in general. On the one hand, I feel it often gets in the way of experiencing and enjoying a moment. On the other, my wine-soaked brain is a poor repository for memories of experiences I don’t want to forget. We’ll see if I carry my phone on the Playa this year.


This week, Ken decided he cannot make it to the Playa for health reasons. However, Linda, another long time Burner will be taking his place and Ken has been gracious enough to let Linda bring his trailer. I’m super-bummed that Ken won’t be there, but happy to know that Linda is joining us.

Curtis has been hard at work building infrastructure. He sent me a picture of the sign that will hang over the entrance to camp. I can’t find the picture now, but it looks lovely.

I’ve begun packing the trailer. Took me a while to fix the trailer up to get it legally registered, but happy to see it getting ready to go. As you can see, I’ve got a couch on it, a few rugs/carpets, a chalkboard I made for the camp, a bunch of firewood and a small fire pit.


No Black Rock City news this week, but I really enjoyed reading this story about the creation of Burning Man’s first rave camp and seeing the video of how things used to be:


Placement has approved 9 Work Access Passes for us, despite having a rule that a 50’x100’ camp can only get up to 8. This means we’ll have a WAP for Lishy, so she’s not stuck in line forever. I’ve reached out to them to transfer Ken’s WAP to Linda, but have not yet heard back from them. As I wrote this, I just got an email from them saying Ken can just send Linda the PDF of his WAP! So that’s easy.




According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of ‘immediacy’ is “the quality of bringing one into direct and instant involvement with something, giving rise to a sense of urgency or excitement.” I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel a rising sense of urgency or excitement of making it out to Black Rock City! It’s funny that I feel like I’m planning and working and anticipating this upcoming opportunity for immediacy. I think I need to focus on bringing this principle, more than any other, back from the Playa to the Default World this.

The Man burns in 30 days!

Here is a short video from Larry Harvey of the very beginnings of Burning Man:

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