the finest mofo this side of the west side (vicariance) wrote,
the finest mofo this side of the west side

Transformus tickets and rare resources

Transformus is a burning man festival, which, if you don't know what the means, suggests a very specific subculture. Here are the 10 principles of burning man:

Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

Radical Self-reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

Radical Self-expression
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

Communal Effort
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Civic Responsibility
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

Yeah I know, it sounds awesome. It is.

But it's also becoming overpopulated. The sub-burning man festivals that arise to fill the needs of those who wish to celebrate these principles and experience the art and magnificence of human expression are overcrowded. As is our society's wont, the default response to overpopulation, to overhwhelming demand, is to raise the price. Basic economics. Even still, the price is not prohibitive, and these tickets sell out almost immediately. Consequently, there is a board on facebook dedicated to the re-distribution of tickets from those who come to find they no longer need them, to those who missed out on getting them when they were made available for purchase.

One dude wanted to sell his tickets, but, aware of how great the demand was, wondered what the best way to decide whom he should sell them to. So he posted a challenge: he said he would offer the purchase of his tickets to the person who wrote him the most inspiring story, poem, or essay that answered that very question: how should precious and rare resources be distributed?

I assumed that the endless amount of creativity and desire among the burner community would deluge him with results. One girl wrote a poem to answer his question even thought she didn't even need the tickets! I considered writing a story myself, though I could not afford to buy the tickets. But you know what, he didn't get a single serious applicant. In defeat, he resigned himself to offering the tickets to whoever sent him a picture of themselves in the silliest hat.

This was my response to that:
I justed wanted to say that I very strongly considered composing a story for you, despite my inability to buy the transformus tickets, because I hoped to pass on the reward of that opportunity to another, who I care about deeply, who I know deserves such an opporunity, but lacks my grace with words. And I'd like you to believe that the reason I did not was not because I was scared of being judged, and not because I fail to appreciate the burner ethics of gifting or non-capitalism, but only because I had SO MUCH FAITH in the community, that I doubted my own ability to captivate you, comparatively. Kat, who wrote you the poem without even wanting the tickets hammered the nail in my impulsion's coffin. I'm writing you now, not to try to convince you to extend your contest, which is certainly over, but to give some effort to assuage the vicarious disappointment I felt for no one having risen to your challenge.

How I long for resources to be distributed this way in the real world! To be awarded to the most creative, the most interesting, the most captivating -- the most impressive of mind and soul. Those are qualities I long to reward and have rewarded every day of my life. Instead of mere persistence, instead of the status quo that is mere grueling devotion to an uncaring machine, we, all of us children yanking incessantly on the pantleg of society, desperate for the attention of the wealthy and powerful whom we suckle. Or worse, we pray for an explosion of the greatest and most elusive of all qualities: luck. How many expect to be rewarded for absolutely nothing? For buying a dollar ticket and selecting numbers in complete random? I have such disdain for the lottery, that it in no small part contributed to my reticence in your contest. Any time I see a group huddling, biting, clawing, at a prize that will leave such a vast majority unsatisfied, I am dismayed. Encouraging persistence might make for an industrious society, but certainly not a magical one, not one where passion and artistry and free thought are encouraged above conformity and unreasonable, baseless entitlement.

But you did not throw a handful of bills into the air. You presented a quest. And one that had the answer built into it! How should precious resources be distrbuted? Obviously, to those most worthy of them. Those who know why and how to use them. Alas for what an infrastructure such distribution requires. Alas for the optimism one has to sustain to enact it. And most of all alas for the desolation of so few answering your clarion call.

So a few poeple argued that meritocracy violated the concept of radical inclusion, that making people jump through hoops was unfair and disrespectful. It was said that dude should simply offer his tickets to whoever needs them and be done with it.

My counter to that was that need-based distribution is only sensible when the supply outweighs the demand, and that the oversimplified suggestion defaults to rewarding the lucky, those who happen to be in the right place at the right time. Is luck a better trait to reward than merit?

The thread got deleted. Not sure why. I leave it to your interpretation.
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.