September 5, 2006
Finally, Some Respect
Ooh, an interesting rule of thumb from Burning Man founder Larry Harvey:
WN: This is the 20th Burning Man. What surprises you most about where it has come?
Harvey: It’s evidence of an old rule that you have to be around 20 years and survive and grow before anyone will take you very seriously if you’re doing something with a visionary aim. Suddenly in our own town, San Francisco, people with influence and whose participation we welcome are taking (us) seriously. We’ve become marvelous proper people. We’ve become respectable in that sense. That’s because there (are) so many people who command respect and are influential in the world’s affairs who have come here and identified with it.
And it takes about 20 years to earn respect. Unless you’re just doing what everybody else does. Then you can become a wunderkind in six months. But our course has been eccentric, so the world turns its back on you until it catches up with you. And then they say, Oh, oh, it’s not just … and you can run down the list of pejoratives and mischaracterizations and all the cliches that dogged us for the first two-thirds of our life. But we’ve outgrown it. We’ve outgrown it politically, and in the public’s perception. Oh, not entirely… But now the story is the movement and not the event.
Patience, visionaries! Patience.