People always seem surprised that I don’t go to Burning Man. I’m not sure exactly why that would come as a surprise but ok.
Having read their official site, FAQ, and supporting links, I just don’t see the point. I’m not bashing it, I just don’t get it. Not getting it doesn’t make me against it in any way either.1 My only real disagreement is their assertion of “radical self-reliance.” I don’t call packing everything you need to survive for 8 days radical. I call it being prepared. Living in a desert open space isn’t conducive to self-reliance on the environment. Maybe it’s a minor point but it feels slightly disingenuous to me. I wonder if growing up actually relying on the environment to provide for me has jaded me a bit. My idea of radical self reliance involves living off the environment with little to no assistance from the outside world. Pumping in electricity, water, food, sanitation facilities, and Internet is not self-reliance IMO. lol
Anyway, I appreciate a lot of the artistic effort that goes into the event. Some of the displays and constructs are truly a site to behold. Many of the costumes and over the top displays can be equally artistic and beautiful. Is it enough to interest me in camping out? Not really. The reason I mention it is because I’ve begun to hear grumblings from many about how the event is changing. Like anything new and exciting, it is bound to grow and evolve over time. The question is can it survive the increase in size and still maintain the integrity of its roots? Ironically, said issue is discussed on its official site.
Much of the feedback I’ve heard this year has been very 50/50. Some swear it is a life-changing event and revel in the freedom of it. Others complain of feeling ostracized and the very clique-ish feel that is developing. I can’t speak for either side, but have noticed a very distinct shift in the feedback. Time will tell if it will become a victim of its own success.
As for me, I’m not for or against, it just doesn’t appeal to me. From the positive side, I hear a lot about the spiritual connection it invokes. Having found my spiritual center, I struggle to see a need here. My meditation and readings feed my spirituality and I don’t feel it’s lacking. So this aspect doesn’t appeal to me.
Then there is the living off the grid and/or self reliance. Well, I practically lived off the grid most of my childhood. Beyond having electricity, we had no phone or cable. The internet didn’t exist yet. Our water was from a well we drilled. We hunted, fished, and/or grew 90% of our food. Several of my younger years included living with an out – house vs indoor plumbing. My closest neighbor was 3 miles in either direction. The closest emergency room was 50 miles away. I guess this might have spoiled this aspect of the event for me. lol
The artistic expression is probably the single thing that interests me. Being the only interest, it is not compelling enough to make me endure the hardships and fork over $400 for said experience. The latter only meant as a declaration, not a negative vote.
So there you have it. If you’re an attendee, first-timer or OG, feel free to share your experiences.
- I’ve gotten hate mail in the past for daring to discuss a different POV. lol [↩]