Vibecamp 2023 Retrospective

This is a conversion of my various twitter threads on vibecamp into post form, since twitter is uhhh…yeah anyway, what the fuck is vibecamp? Let’s start with that. The easiest way to explain it is to just say it’s something like a regional burn for burning man, but organized by and for a bunch of niche twitter microcelebrities. It’s a three day festival featuring workshops by attendees, dance parties, strange rituals, and just a really diverse and intelligent crowd of mega-online turboposters. I had an absolute blast and I am definitely planning to attend again next year, conditions permitting.

I have to give mad props to @gptbrooke who organized all of this and I have to say, for Year 2 of a major festival with international attendees, it was extremely sharp and well organized, way moreso than I would have expected for something this new, it was very impressive. We had custom badges based on our twitter profiles, stickers, patches, all sorts of cool swag, @netrunnernobody made an entire app to use as a guidebook, and the whole thing was just super well put together overall.

The venue this year was at Camp Ramblewood in Maryland, which was a really beautiful location. It was laid out nicely with big open fields and wooded trails, there was a pond, a swimming pool, a huge gym space that we did the dance parties in, pavillons, cabins, fire circles, really everything you could want from a festival venue (the only thing they were missing was a complete disregard for local noise ordinances). Meals were provided for us, and the food at the venue was fantastic, the kitchen staff were very cool and friendly. As a vegan with a bunch of annoying food allergies I always worry that there won’t be anything I can eat and it was really nice that this wasn’t an issue at all, I had plenty of food the whole weekend.

My only real complaint about the venue is one that we probably won’t be able to get away from as long as we’re hosting what amounts to a festival/regional burn at a campground site: they want us to go to bed at night and be quiet, so the venue staff can also sleep. This is a totally reasonable request for a campground primarily used by scout troops and the like, but it does put a pretty big damper on the music scene in the space. We managed it okay, but I think there will likely always be a bit of tension between the purpose of the site and the weird way we’re using it. It does mean we get cabins, which can help attract people who would be turned off by the normal campout type festival, but really there just isn’t a type of venue particularly suited to the hybrid camp/festival thing (not yet anyway, one of my long term goals is to build a space pretty much exactly like that.)

Shoutouts, and Words of Gratitude

The secret event put on by @sophianegativa was absolutely fantastic and magical, she put a ton of work into it and the payoff was amazing, I would say more but… smile smile.

A huge huge huge thank you to @drethelin for helping me get my DJ equipment to the airport, through security, and onto my plane. I was close to having a panic attack and he really kept me grounded, I don’t know if I could have handled that situation by myself, thank you so much.

Meeting @algekalipso and getting to try on his strobe goggles was super cool. I’ve been reading QRI research for over a year, and like, he just has the best consciousness takes, straight up, as well as being very charming, friendly, and genuine. Legit one of my top role models.

A big shoutout to @ymeskhout who acted as the DJ Diva Wrangler all weekend, managing sound levels and dealing with complaints and complications with grace and finesse, you really made the dance parties the amazing success they were, thank you.

ABSTRACTWEAPON‘s Vibecamp 2023 DJ Sets

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Vibecampers Out of Context

“So wait, are you like, a Zizian?”

“It’s zizian when you fight everyone, and the fightier it is the more zizian.”

“we’re going to save the world!”

“I think everyone in the community would like to be challenged to a sword duel by Eliezer”

“the nefarious forces of lovebot 3000!”

“Are you a Ziz death truther?”

“All eyes heavenward…”

“Oh there are entities in this one.”

“No one does Octavia like Octavia does.”

“Philosophically, but in a world where the philosophers are our friends, and sometimes they kill each other”

“I know who you are, I’ve argued with you on twitter.”

“Live by the boat, die by the boat.”

“The turtle beat us to the end of the trail.”

“Flowers are moral progress.”

Highlights and Introspection

This was my first Vibecamp but not my first festival, I love festivals and the festival scene, and I’ve been in that scene for close to 15 years. The difference is that this festival was filled with friends I’ve known for years, and was an extremely impressive and agentic crowd. It really helped rekindle the fire and ambition in me, and remind me of what matters, what I like, and what’s really important to me.

One of the nicest things about being at Vibecamp was getting to spend time around a lot of people who weren’t nearly as trapped in Naraka. Just being around so many people who were healthy and agentic and who took accountability for what they did was kinda mind blowing.

Compared to my real life where literally everyone around me is deeply trapped in Naraka and every conversation I have involves navigating their trauma mazes, being forced to agree with their narrative of powerlessness and lack of self control if I don’t want to get screamed at.

Eternally: “I can’t. I couldn’t. I had to. Telling me I did something wrong is punishing me, why are you punishing me? You should have sympathy for the character I tell stories about being because they can’t control myself. Submit to being broken like me or I’ll break you.” I had kind of let myself grow numb to how bad faith everyone around me was at all times, and it was just so nice to experience interactions that were actually in good faith, where I could actually acausally coordinate with someone and not have things constantly derailed by their fear that I’m really the evil demonic blend of me and their abusive mother that they scryed up.

I loved all the debates and banter and the interesting discussions of metaphysics and nature of consciousness I had with friends old and new, getting to “talk shop” with a bunch of other mages and have conversations that I could actually learn from, and just getting to talk about my weird esoterica for several days among people who found it insightful and revelatory instead of like an attack on their character was just, super cool.

I got to show off my spellbook under the blacklight not once but twice, whitepilled at least 10 people on the realness of moral progress, provided at least 20 transcendental life altering experiences, and potentially converted a few people to veganism. Pro hyperstitioneering.

I know a lot of peeps kinda struggled with the social aspect of vibecamp, and I do feel for that, but as an extreme extrovert in the ‘niche twitter microcelebrity’ crowd, I had an absolute blast and really enjoyed how cool everyone found me, I like attention, what can I say?

I spent most of this Vibecamp just exploring, talking to people, helping out with logistics for the dance parties, and getting a feel for the vibe of twitter but irl. It was good, it was extremely good. Next year, I’ll be putting on my own events, and I’m real good at that 🙂

Oh, and if you’re ever in Seattle and want to meet up, don’t be afraid to hit me up or even just @ me in a tweet. I’ll see you next year if not sooner friends, until then, keep looking up.

Insights and Closing Remarks

A lot of people have talked about the emotional drop upon returning home from Vibecamp, and I definitely experienced something like that, but it’s honestly felt more specific to me than how most people have described it. Vibecamp showed me how good things could be, how good people could be, and then I returned home where things aren’t that good, where everyone around me is closed off, small minded, stuck in their own bullshit, unable to stop playing a sycophantic stock character with no real agency, who can’t get out of social reality and just talk to me, who is constantly “losing control” and turning into an asshole whenever they feel threatened (which is constantly). And yeah, that sucked, but it was helpful too.

Because before vibecamp, I really just kinda rolled over and let myself be subjected to it, I was so immersed in the sort of shitty, defeatist, crab bucket mentality of the culture that I stopped believing people were capable of more than that. I let people be shitty to me because I thought that’s just how everyone was, and I could either take them as they were or schizophrenically isolate myself from the entire world, and vibecamp showed me that people could be better, that I could have higher standards for the people who I surrounded myself with and it wouldn’t leave me totally isolated.

That has definitely produced conflicts in my personal life since I’ve returned, but I’ve honestly been fine with that, it feels right to stand up for what I know is right, and to stop letting everyone gaslight me into not being able to see what’s happening in front of me. I feel so much more alive and awake and prepared to fight for what I care about than I did previously.

But I also don’t want to just abandon everyone in my personal life because they’re stuck in shitty places mentally and are hurting themselves and others, I’ve seen what happens when you go down that road, and it’s not where I want to end up. I really need to figure out how to speedrun someone through the escape from Naraka, I still can’t bust people out consistently and that feels very frustrating, especially when their submission to Naraka is hurting you. It’s an annoyingly difficult mental move to teach, for how simple it is afterwards. And yes yes, I know this is a several millennia old problem.

But that makes it worse right? Spiritual leaders the world over have been hacking at this root for at least 2500 years, it’s an annoyingly persistent weed within the human memeplex. We need to advance the state of the art, move the course of human insight forward into the future, it’s about time we built some real memetic superweapons.

We need a new generation of spiritual leaders, technoboddhivistas with cybernetically augmented healing practices and psychedelic stacks perfectly optimized for shattering trauma loops, we need enlightenment in energy drink form, wikihows for achieving Moksha, we need true magic.

And above all, one of the hardest things, we need the grace to respond with compassion to those still trapped and perpetuating abuse without simply looking the other way or insisting it is okay, otherwise their fear of us will keep them trapped and make real growth impossible, and our fear of them will keep us playing zero sum games.

The liberation of all life is not an impossible goal, not an unreachable dream. The future can be good, and bright, and happy, and free. It will be, we will make it so. We will sing a better world into being, and fight until the wound to the future is healed. We can’t be stopped.

So….who wants to help me save the world?

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