Last year I tried to describe the indescribable. I'm not sure I'll be able to describe it this year either. Instead, here's a 23 minute video made up of small moments and memories from my phone:
Well... I guess I need to try and explain some things beyond just the video.
Burning Man truly is an indescribable experience. This being my second year, I've come to realize it's also a unique experience every year. I didn't know if I would be attending this year, but right up to the last moment, my involvement in https://campdao.com/ (using eosDAC Decentralization Autonomous Community software to run a Burner Camp) resulted in the elected custodians there voting me in to attend and represent the DAC. We were a sub camp of camp DECENTRAL which means we had our own art car (the Doge)!
Prior to arriving on the Playa, I spent some time considering what I'd like most out of Burning Man. I thought it would be great to connect with really amazing, dynamic, world-changing people. I didn't realize that would end up being the highlight of the whole week. We got off to a rough start as my Burner Express bus sat waiting on the road along with everyone else for about 4 hours due to a crash. We ended up starting our Burning Man experience early by walking up and down the road, meeting other burners, enjoying some drinks and chilling in the shade with some chairs.
The very first morning on the Playa, walking back from the bathrooms, I noticed a talk by some Wim Hoff trainers. I've done that method off and on before, so I thought I'd check it out. It was not only an amazing two hour session, but it ended with a naked ice shower! I was now officially one of those crazy naked Burning Man people. It was awesome.
I was able to connect with many of my friends this year, especially at camp Red Lightning Blue Thunder. I helped there a bit with the build team on some minor things for a few hours, and that felt really good to participate. Later on I stopped by to see how things were going and noticed a circle of people having what looked like an important conversation. Ben Sigman called me over, said he was just thinking about me and offered me a seat. I jokingly said, "Thanks for manifesting me!" and later started to believe it. They were doing a council of elders circle around a sacred fire that has been burning for more than 5 years (!!! more on that later). Each person gave their name, where they are from, and what their super power is and/or what dream they have to help change and improve the world.
I was then asked to collect contact information for everyone there. Brock Pierce said we're going to keep the meeting going every day at 10am. Since I was keeping the contact information in my phone, I ended up being there every day at 10am. I met some of the most amazing, dynamic, world-changing people! I was also asked to tend the sacred fire for two different 6 hour shifts. Seriously, this fire has been burning for more than 5 years. It was at Standing Rock and it lit The Man on a previous burn. There were Native Americans there, teaching me the proper way to tend the fire, help others make offerings of tobacco or cedar, and basically try to understand something that didn't make a lot of sense to me. Whether it was all just theater or something more, every person that participated and sat around that fire felt something real.
The people that met in circle every day are continuing the conversations forward and working to build something truly amazing to help improve the world. I'll keep you posted on what develops there. One of the founders of the Red Lightning camp assumed I was part of the camp, and welcomed me to participate next year.
Which brings me to one of the main themes for me this year:
Validation is the fuel for human progress.
I was continually encouraged by so many people validating me and encouraging me. So many people made me feel special and that the work I'm doing with blockchains and DACs is really important. It felt good. It reminded me how important it is to validate those around me.
I also loved being with our thrown together crew at CampDAO. We had members from all over the world, saw a sunrise together, ate meals together, danced together, and though we were all part of the EOS community, we didn't really talk much about EOS at all. The crew at Camp DECENTRAL was amazing. We didn't really know what to expect and we learned a lot for next time. Some in our camp (myself included) were confused about how much DECENTRAL was handling for us and how much was all on us. In true Burning Man style, all of it was on us, but it took us a little while to figure that out.
I could go on and on about my experiences, what I learned, the people I met, and more, but I think I'll end here for now. This burn was deeply spiritual for me. I got sit around a fire, meet amazing people, and have deep philosophical conversations that also contained very practical results to form a team ready and capable to change the world.
I did want to end with a note specific to Steem. As you know, HF21 happened during Burning Man. Unfortunately, it didn't go smoothly and though I had back up help, when things started breaking, I made the call to disable my witness until I could get back and do things properly. I'm back up and running now along with a new seed node (
steem-seed-sweden.lukestokes.info) to go along with
steem-seed-eu.lukestokes.info so I can switch between them using
steem-seed.lukestokes.info. It's unfortunate that I'm no longer a consensus witness for Steem (currently ranked 24th), but maybe that's for the best. This chain has plenty of capable witnesses to get the job done. I'm happy to be a backup witness, if that's what the token holders choose for me. I have plenty of things to keep me busy these days include my work with https://fio.foundation/ and another EOS project with Brock Pierce I'll be talking about in the future.
Until then, thank you as always for your support and for spending time in my little corner of the Internet on the Steem blockchain.
Hopefully some day I'll see you out on the Playa as well. :)
Luke Stokes is a father, husband, programmer, STEEM witness, DAC launcher, consultant, and voluntaryist who wants to help create a world we all want to live in. Learn about cryptocurrency at UnderstandingBlockchainFreedom.com