Projecting future retrospect allows us to imagine how we’ll look back on the present, from the future. And this will certainly be remembered as a historic moment! The Burning Man Project recently announced that they bought property adjacent to the Black Rock Desert where their yearly event takes place and plans to turn it into a year-round cultural experiment. While I think the name “Fly Ranch” is ripe for a rebrand, it’s extremely inspiring to see the Burning Man’s evolution as an ephemeral, week long event towards its vision of a year round, sustainable example of what the future of community might look like. The Burning Man’s Project is a non profit whose chief goal is of “amplifying and extending Burning Man culture”. With hundreds of regional events on 6 continents and now a 3600 acre oasis in the desert the reach of Burning Man’s culture continues it’s benevolent march!
Looking ahead, I eagerly the time when increasing amounts of transformational festivals and intentional communities learn to work together to purchase land (whether urban, rural and semi-rural) to explore the future of community and reap year-round benefits of collaborative living. What does it look like as we combine the often distinct arenas of profession, recreation and residence? How will the concept of the family morph as we pledge familial allegiance to those outside of our blood kin and begin taking more care of each other from childhood all the way into old age? These are some of the fascinating questions that we face as we begin to revisit the age old concept of communal living. Luckily we are now equipped with more access to knowledge and technologies that are ready to assist us as we relearn how to commune in harmony with ourselves, each other and nature.
The future of Fly Ranch may be a while off, but we can already see the need for such experiments. People have been sold a false dream, and in their quest for independence from others, we have begun to feel increasingly disconnected. Our addiction to social technology is one of many symptoms, but our devices can not as of yet not fulfil our desire for true connection. Even with all our technology true connection to others is still best achieved through IRL (in real life) experiences. Whether it’s a mind-blowing event or just another day at your coworking space, our desire to be connected to community is one of our core human needs. Any attempt to suppress this need will see it bursting outward from the very seams of our beings. So for many people, reinhabiting the concept of the village will feel wonderfully natural and comforting. Sure it will take work to relearn some basic communication skills and diplomacy but the payoffs are too big to ignore. And besides, maybe remembering how to practice deep listening and non-violent communication could be useful elsewhere in our world?
Besides the increased happiness from being an integral part of community there’s also a huge value for communities to learn to become more self-reliant, resourceful and innovative. I believe these localized communities will play a large role in our cultural evolution by teaching us to live more efficiently on the land and in more harmony with ourselves and each other. As ever, our glorious road ahead will be not be free of obstacles. Whether it’s havoc wrought by climate change, extreme environmental disaster or turmoil caused by political or social unrest, learning to be resilient may not only be a useful skill to practice but may also play a key part in ensuring the future of our individual freedom, sovereignty of our own minds and very survival itself <3