My eyes dart open, the sun was out glistening in the desert sky. I hear the rumble of people out for their perspective morning routines, some jogging, some exploring, others just now getting in from the night before. The city that truly never ever sleeps. I look around our street to see past the others, as it was something else that awoke me from my slumber. There's a large structure across from us, where a lot of noise is coming from a PA speaker... Someone is talking. I walk across the road, the playa floor, to investigate this one city block of Black Rock City, NV: Burning Man... And what do I find?
A sermon being given at a baptist church for Christian Burners.
"Anyone may be part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community." The 1st Principle: Radical InclusionI entered the sanctuary and sat near the back, listening and experiencing this brief story I have now out in the dust. I don't actually identify with a organized religion, but I am always into hearing others unique perspectives on life. The pastor (preacher?) went through the congregation meeting everyone after he finished for the day. I thanked him for his time and the experience, turned and simply left. Walked over to center camp to grab a mocha (my favorite drink out in the desert) to think about what just happened, and what I can learn from it.
Today's story is about just that: How wrong we are about being "right".
In statistics there's an issue called halos and horns. This is where survey data becomes malformed due to overall acceptance/refusal of the subject as a whole. For those who tend to halo/horn subjects, the general like/dislike of the target warps all questions along these lines. Here... hang on.... Let meeeeee...... I'll script out an example:
Jim: Hi Bob, hey... did you like that burger place from yesterday?
Bob: Billy's Big Time Burger?! BEST BURGER EVER!!! YES!!!! PLACE RULES!!!!!
Jim: I thought Jeff didn't like it too much?
Bob: Jeff ordered a kale salad.... Why would you ever order kale at Billy Big Time?
Jim: Ahh. Got'cha. But easy in and out lunch?
Bob: Oh yeah, place was great... Dropped the check, came right back. Easy.
Jim: .... you were late yesterday.
Bob: Well.... so there was a slight mistake, they charged the wrong card. Seriously it was basically my fault for not writing down my last name when we tried to split the check.
Bob: They did have it written on the menu no split checks. So that's our bad honestly.
Jim: What about the added gratuity? Jeff was pretty pissed about that...
Bob: There were 4 of us. Yeah, they add it. What's the problem?Bob here loves the burger from Billy Big Time. Unfortunately service there is damn terrible. But Bob can't see past that delicious perfectly cooked medium rare burger topped with sauteed onions, cheddar, and bacon. Bob has "Halo'ed" Billy Big Time.
A wise man once told me:
"PJ, every single person is right about something and wrong about something else. Your job? Find something that idol of yours is wrong about, just like you need to find what's true within that person you hate. That truth is there, honest."Back at the Burning Man church, many fellow burners alongside Christian church-goers questioned what this "church-camp" was doing out in the desert with us (It was their 10th year btw). And the answer is quite simple: They were searching for whatever truth is held in Burning Man culture. The same I was doing by sitting in the back of the congregation: searching for whatever truth this church has to offer my perspective on life. However big, however minuscule that truth might be... Be it 90% or 0.0000000001% truth of the tale they tell. Truth-seekers will find it.
Good news for you: You get to start doing this right now.
Go look at the photo up at the top... Yep. SNL stand-ins for the real thing So: Sit and think about everything that was said/done during the most insane presidential election that's existed in our entire lifetime. One of these two people you approve of, the other you don't (and that's fine) - [edit: if you're outside the USA, what like matchup can you deliberate through?]. Whoever you approve of: find something they are wrong about. Something you can critique them about why they are just plain fucking wrong. And then... For the person you despise: find something they are right about. Something that you can learn from whatever their life experience has to offer you. What truth do they hold?
Radical Inclusion is about actual 100% inclusion to the absolute fullest extent. Our community accepts all, since every single person on Earth has SOMETHING to offer. SOMETHING to teach. There is truth within each and every single person here.
Your job: to find it.
I love you all,
--Paul Jacob Evans