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Burning Man, Powerful New and Ancient Technologies from both Worlds
I missed writing to you.
I have been working hard on to-do items and setting-up PAWA Paris, I hope you will join us on Oct 14-15 and a big thanks to all of you who already bought tickets. We cannot wait for the event and it’s going to be great. Magdalena and myself shared our vision in a post and video if you haven’t seen it.
Yesterday I tweeted this:
Just check-out the #burningman hashtag on Instagram… 2 million photos.
I got many private messages and since they were private I won’t quote their authors but here is what they said.
“I discovered Burning Man thanks to your own social media posts years ago”
True, I did that too. I could not post from there though as it was forbidden by the Burning Man organization and there was no network. That made it very easy.
Today there are starlink antennas and many camps have wifi. Even if I posted in the past, mostly after the event, I would not today because I see how valuable it was to be offline and that it doesn’t become (is it already?) another festival for Instagram influencers. I have a feeling it’s too late to go back offline at BM. There are some camps that still request everyone to lock their phones for the duration of BM in a locked box. That’s an option. Another is to create another Burning Man for those who value being offline.
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You won’t wear the same clothes, say the same things and behave the same if you know “what happens there stays there” or if you are going to be posted on social media everywhere you go.
Someone else told me this:
“I have been going to the Amazon forest for years and it’s the same as Burning Man, it is much better offline and now we see indigenous addicted to Instagram and Whatsapp as we are”
This is so true.
I also posted from the indigenous villages. Here I am with a traditional paint by one of my teachers Peù that you can find on Instagram…! He’s not addicted, he masters it very well and we enjoy sometimes taking selfies in the western world too, as a souvenir. Nothing wrong with that…
I often call Peú “master” and he always replies “no, you are my master”. We have so much fun comparing notes on ancient and new technologies all the time. He’s learning ours and just got an iPhone because why not use the best tool when you know the best tools in the forest already?
Then I did strong “dietas” and was isolated in the jungle for 3 months without my phone, just connected to nature. It was much better. I took photos though and wrote newsletters after I returned. I don’t write a book, I share short stories.
The Woman Chief of the “Sacred Village of the Yawanawà” where I was, Putanny, always reminds everyone about the “danger” of cellphones.
Putanny has very strict rules if you are doing deep spiritual work that it should be entirely offline.
The main reason is to clear your mind, to live space for other precious information to come to you. This information does not come if your mind is full, especially full of to-do lists, whatsapp messages and the need to share and receive “likes” from the World.
My Mac is a powerful connected tool, so is my iPhone. You can do good with it and reach people around the world or get completely addicted to social networks and conversations. Worse, you can use it to gather and spread horrible ideas or war as we have seen.
The ancient tools are also very powerful. Meditation is powerful. Kundalini yoga or breathwork are very powerful. The medicines of the forest can get you lost, can be used for the bad or can sometimes be addictive. This is why we, modern world, have made most of them forbidden by law. They are powerful tools. They need to be respected and used with years of training. Some of these medicines, like Tobacco, have been turned into legal drugs by us (cigarettes) while indigenous still use them in a very specific and cautious way that I already wrote about. It requires huge discipline.
Using social networks and Whatsapp also requires huge discipline.
They can be used for the good or staying in touch with your friends or we can get totally addicted by them. Terrorists use them too to spread illness and confusion to the world.
I am a student of both modern and ancient technologies and I am learning both. I don’t know much. I just switched from being connected to nature entirely offline for 3 months to being non-stop connected to the world to build a conference in Paris.
I see two ways to use these instruments in a good way.
Always focus on the good. Use balance by either balancing online and offline time or -like I am doing now- alternating periods where you are intensively online with other times completely offline. This can happen in the same day.
The modern world and building things in it require us to be online and go through to-do lists, but I know I can get sick if I do too much of it. So I take time to sometimes sing, connect to myself and meditate (not enough, again, these days, but I am aware of it and this week-end I will meditate for hours as I did last week for the new moon.
This topic inspires me another thought.
There is no stopping of modern technologies and it feels there is no stopping of western people learning to use ancient technologies.
It is just happening no matter what and we will continue seeing all kind of good as well as weird or bad things with both. Indigenous are going to get “trapped” in some of our technologies the same way some of us get “trapped” in theirs. We need to watch, educate ourselves and use both with caution.
It’s all about being our own masters, a newsletter I still need to write. Finding the balance inside of ourselves, nobody can teach us that.
My intention is to have a fascinating conversation on this topic and many others at PAWA Paris between indigenous and technology leaders, more on this soon!
Have a great week-end!
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