Hecate tells the truth about Pagan Standard Time and links to Kerr Cuchulain’s little video about it. Hecate talks about the experience of a circle with respect to PST. Kerr says that it’s a violation of the Rede and gives examples about attending a ritual or leading a class. They’re both right on about this problem.
The worst part is that it’s a Prisoners’ Dilemma. I attended an event earlier this year where the organizers were 45 minutes late, due to inexcusably bad planning about transportation that any reasonable person would have foreseen. This was as predictable as saying that the Metro to the Cherry Blossom Festival will be crowded.* You simply have to know this; there is no excuse.
As a result, I, my spouse, and someone else meeting us there – who realized she was going to be running a few minutes late and rushed to make up that time so as not to be rude or miss the event – ended up waiting outside in the heat for over an hour.
There were also delays because part of the plan amounted to “we’ll call you when we get there” going six different ways. News flash: that’s not a plan. That’s a lack of plan. It puts off the effort of making decisions and disseminating information to attendees at the price of creating a logistical nightmare and a game of, literally, telephone at the site. Aside from its ineptitude, it is a lousy way to prepare for a serious observance because it creates more stress and frustration that we have to ground and center to get rid of first.
The joke about “Pagan Standard Time” is supposed to be that everybody will show up late, because they know the vast majority of others will – that it’s become standardized. But it’s not funny: some people show up on time and get punished by sitting around with nothing happening because of the bad behavior of their fellows. That’s a classic prisoners’ dilemma. None of us have any incentive to fix it until everybody’s going to fix it.
Except that we can’t work that way. Maybe a small circle of close friends can run on PST, but anything larger can’t. It just can’t – festivals fall apart, rituals don’t happen, and our relationships with the earth, with deity, and with each other get damaged.
There’s no easy way out of a multi-sided prisoners’ dilemma. We can try to make agreements with each other beforehand and then stick to them. None of us are perfect; as Hecate points out, crap does happen. So we need to be understanding about that, even while recognizing that our understanding has limits. For example, even though I’m trying to use my bad experience as an example, I’m trying hard not to make an example of the people involved.
I’m not going to use Pagan Standard Time as an excuse, and I won’t accept it from others.
*It was not a cherry blossom event. Unrelated examples are unrelated.