Yesterday I posted on my facebook profile a link to an article from last year about a right wing Christian game based loosely on the Left Behind rapture series of books. I found the article through a series of links, originating in titilating images of women – funny how link chasing ends up in interesting places. Anyways, the article was reactionary and condemning, but because it was reactionary against a group I abhor I went along with the hype. Fortunately I got to reading the discussion that took place in the comments and saw how unbalanced and uninformed the article and reaction was to the game. Well, as fate would have it I saw a documentary tonight at the SAT about Super Columbine Massacre RPG! Earlier in the day at MIGS I listened to a speaker, Jonathan Blow who was pushing for the idea that games could be more meaningful – a seminar that I went to pretty much by accident. I actually got a bit emotional, because games, really are going to be a major aspect of the media environment and by matter of cause and effect a major source of our culture, ideals, behavious, etc. Its essential that we take this shit seriously.
But fuck, that’s just today.
An issue I’ve been thinking about a lot, and just today really got to grips with – I mean really what it was that was swimming in my head – figured out what it was. The System. By that I mean this system of control, oppression, acquired opinion, proscribed morality, all of that bullshit. So let’s rewind a bit and clear the fuzz surrounding this.
I went to Toronto for their Burner party. Private party. Warehouse space occupied by a circus school. Volunteers. DIY. Costumes. Free expression. Burner parties are special because of the radical acceptance. You just do what you want. And they’re not democracies, they’re do-ocracies. If you want something done – you do it. If you want something stopped – you stop it. No reliance on rules, laws, police, enforcers, politicians, lobbyists, blah, blah. Its remarkably empowering and it really makes you take into account the consequences of your actions as well as the value you place on things. Anyways I had an absolutely amazing time. I love Burners. I honestly believe we’re changing the world. We’re a special breed (some more special than others).
Fast forward a few days, through meetings with friends new and old, another party and such. North, Dirge and I decide to do the abandoned subway station in Toronto (no clues!). Things go fairly well, but eventually we’re spotted (or think we are) and are forced into hiding underneath the platform for a while to come up with an action plan. Eventually we decide to backtrack out the way we came, figuring there are less unknowns that way. To cut a long story short we’re caught exiting onto another platform and the worker who catches us calls security. Dirge is smart enough to just walk out while North and I obediently wait for the transit pigs to show.
We get issued $115 tickets. And while its a total pain in the ass to have to pay and I feel like an idiot for not running away I’m actually glad to have stayed, talked to the guards and gotten the fine. Why?
Way back in 2002 I had what I consider a pivotal moment in my life. I was arrested for trespassing in the old Molson’s plant in Calgary. It had quite the effect on me. I was forced to really assess what I’d done and determine whether or not it was morally wrong. I couldn’t sleep the entire night. I ran scenarios in my head – what would happen if I or someone else was injured for instance among many more. In the end I determined that exploring as I did it was perfectly ethical and that part of my ethics was actually to ensure that I wasn’t caught because that would negate many of the perceived problems for police, property owners, etc. For them ignorance is bliss.
It also helped me to see in very clear, concrete terms the difference between laws, rules and actual ethics and morality. They are two very different things. The true nature of authority also becomes much more clear. When you realise what can be done to you and under what pretexts you really start to understand how fucked up The System is.
Getting nailed by the fuzz again five years later, especially after being in the womb of a Burning Man TAZ really brought home all of those lessons again, sharpened them and reminded me of things I’d allowed to fade into the background. We are controlled and manipulated constantly and in large part we’re complicit in all of it. Chriz and I stood there while a worker talked on the phone instead of just walking out. By our own moral judgements we’d done nothing wrong and indeed took full responsibility for our actions, so why wait around for someone else to come along and impose their system upon us? Dumb. Plain dumb. But it goes much further than UE.
Everything in our society is a choice. Everything in our lives are our choices. We can accept the model we’re given which is by and large restrictive and often plain destructive, or we can choose our own way. Sometimes we need to fight for our own way. We always need to take risks. No enterprise worth pursuing is without its risks. Chriz frequently uses the phrase Reckless Responsibility. I take my risks, but I also take responsibility for them. I own them. That also means I reap the rewards and learn the lessons within.
Enough for now. Its late and I have tons to do tomorrow and the next day and the next day. Heck. Life is accelerating, but its fucking awesome. My life has been changing so much lately, so many opening doors, new ideas, new wisdom. I’m so damn happy. I’m also, pretty tired. Ciao.