If the world was more like the Playa
A list of 10 suggestions for world improvement
by the Roaming Bobcat a.k.a. Maya of the Playa
(I have many names)
- 1. Welcome home
If the world was more like the playa, airports would be welcome centers rather than threat screening gantlets. In this world, there is no need for passports. Language-proficient agents in welcome booths greet visitors in whichever manner is the custom of the country. A guide of the history and customs of the country, along with basic guidelines and a map is provided. For American citizens entering the US, for example, the custom would be a sincere “welcome home. I hope you had a nice trip. We’re glad you’re back” and a big bear hug.
- 2. Artful urbanization
If the world was more like the playa, art would be fully integrated into urban settings. In this world, there is no advertisement, billboards, or no suggestion that anybody should consume more or act differently. Instead, art is on display as a gift to the community. Larger art pieces are accessible and interactive. Artist are respected as craftspeople and appreciated for their contribution. Urban dwellings are diverse and highly personalized but generally aesthetically pleasing and non-intrusive. Cityscapes, from a distance, seem like colorful beautiful chaos.
- 3. Radical inclusion
If the world was more like the playa, individuality and self-expression would be prized above all else. In this world, anything goes, and it goes well. Anyone can live naked or fully dressed, and any state in between as appeal to them, with no concern of offending others and no risk of negative judgment. Crowds are colorful cacophonies of tall boots, revealing underwear, tutus, bunny ears, leather, hats, and plain old jeans and tee-shirts. Straights and gays and polygamists and people quite content with being single have equal rights and respect. Non-conformity is encouraged, but conformity is just as well. For those who prefer expressing themselves through group association, themed parades and gatherings are available. No one is ever judged for participating, or not participating.
- 4. Places of worship
If the world was more like the playa, temples and other places of worship would be designed for introspection and inner-exploration. In such places, all emotions are celebrated. Grief and joy are equally expressed freely and openly. Anyone can design his or her own rite of passage and ceremonies and perform them in public view and with public support. In this world, temples are haven of silence with dirt floors for earth grounding and skylights for easier cosmic connections. Hugs are available on demand; alone space is provided otherwise. Occasionally, a person with an exceptional voice gives the gift of a song in soft tones. The message is always uplifting, personal and intentional.
- 5. Community support
If the world was more like the playa, no one would ever feel lonely, unless they actively chose to feel so for the value of the experience. In this world, love is a free-flowing commodity. Promiscuity is valued as long as boundaries are respected. Boundaries are never judged negatively. Innocuous gestures of appreciation, such as random hugs, acts of kindness and compliments, are common place. No one is ever considered a stranger, and the community supports each individual’s growth with care and compassion. The individual, in exchange, takes responsibility for their own growth and only depends on the community as is appropriate. Kissing and hugs booths are provided for entertainment only, affection is a normal mode of operation.
- 6. Footprint awareness
If the world was more like the playa, bicycles and vehicles of mass transportation would prevail. In this world, each person is highly conscious of his or her own carbon footprint. Leave-no-trace is so ingrained that it is second nature. Streets are clean. Trash is minimal. Resources are conserved and recycled. Vehicles, motorized or not, are well decorated and an integral part of the urban art scene. Art cars, as vehicles of mass transportation are called, are free to ride, but their destination is usually unpredictable and time-tables are non-existent. This works well because no one has an agenda or destination beyond the experience of riding on the art car, meeting new people and exploring new grounds.
- 7. Free and voluntary education
If the world was more like the playa, education would be free, voluntary and widely available. In this world, children are encouraged to discover and pursue their natural talents. Learning is achieved through world exploration and self-discovery, rather than codified lessons. Everybody is a teacher according to their area of expertise. Learning is a lifestyle, not a side activity, and can happen anywhere simply by asking. There are also learning centers, with bright airy dome-shaped rooms. There, students sit in a circle with the master for the lesson. All classrooms have an open-door policy, so students can join or leave as they see fit. There is no stigma on any topic. One dome might specialize in practical craftsmanship such as welding, wood working, etc, another might offer workshops in tantric sex, understanding the sacred masculine and feminine energies or offer practice in applied manifestation techniques.
- 8. Gift-based economy
If the world was more like the playa, the economy would be based on gifts and self-sufficiency. In this world, there is no currency, no Federal Reserve, no taxes or fees of any kind. Because each person is engaged in activities he or she enjoys, nobody feels they have to work, and nobody is ever forced to share. People of this world, however, love to share their crafts and talents with the community. Everybody is completely self-reliant. Either as individuals or within smaller communities – called village -, food, water, shelter is the responsibility of each. In this world, I think that would even be true of coffee – so that is one up on the playa, where you can, actually, buy coffee and ice. Unappealing tasks are few through the application of leave-no-trace by everyone. Communal toilets are the responsibility of all, and cleaning them is a highly respected and praised service to the community (another one this world has on the playa).
- 9. Natural integration
If the world was more like the playa, people would live in harmony with the natural world. In this world, the weather and terrain are integral part of each person’life. The planet’s natural rhythms are part of each person’s basic education. With this knowledge, the community aligns itself to the changing environment and flows within the natural cycles. Sand storms, might, for example, be appreciated for their exfoliating properties, for the opportunity to wear eccentric protection goggles and for the surreal dimension they add to large art pieces. Heat waves, might, for example, be taken as opportunities to slow down, find a hammock and practice the essential life-skill of “being” rather than “doing”.
- 10. Purposeful ephemeral
If the world was more like the playa, structures and effigies would be burnt to prevent nascent idolatries. In this world, people value experiences above all material possessions. The ephemeral is celebrated, and each one is encouraged to modify his or her dwelling, outfits and other means of self-expression to reflect continuous growth. These burns are the great celebrations that punctuate life and give a semblance of organization to the natural chaos. Some burns are designed for the release of pent-up energies. These are wild occasions where everyone can push their self-expression to whichever degrees they chose, whether it be public copulation, naked dancing, or guttural howling – anyway by which to release strong emotions before they can fester and become malevolence. Other burns are designed to release what no longer serves, whether grief, fear, old loved ones, lost loved ones, detrimental self-images, etc. These are solemn, respectful events, during which the community finds its Oneness. And yet, other burns are just for the pleasure of burning stuff and stare into the flames for a while.
You may say I’m a dreamer … but there are at least 70,000 others out there
I hope someday you’ll join us.