Please don't publish my address. You can list my name as "Terry from Camp
Thanks and enjoy the following rant:
I enjoyed my five day stay at the BM event, and intend to return, but next time I will not
stay for the actual burn. Why spend the last night and inhale gallons of fumes of probably
1000 different plastics, gasses and chemicals? I get that everyday in Sacramento and find
no spirituality or learning experience in living in a more extreme toxic dump, such as
Sunday night in Black Rock.
A fire, especially a big one, is impossible to look away from, and can stir deep
archetypal reactions and interactions, but, for me, the scale of the all night trash
burning negates any positive influences of the "fire events." If not
emotionally, then most likely, physically.
I'll go out on a limb here and venture that the importance of the actual burn of the man
is because of its non-importance to the event as a whole. The "man-burn"
official history is unclear in the "company web site" history, and I've heard
that it actually represents a man who stole a girl. That is wonderfully absurd and worthy
of existential dance and merriness, and people can use that as their metaphor or invent
their own, and feel the mythology grow. HOWEVER, as long as OFFICIAL symbols from the past
are re-enacted yearly, conservatism takes root.(The supposed enemy of the camp.) The birth
of all religions is conservatism and I noticed many take the event as a religious one.
Good luck with religion, there are plenty to study and see what not to do. It appears
"the man" is copying some systems already...
The consumer oriented society (Oh, I'm sure every "participant" can just leave
their 1998 consumer-being baggage at the door!) begins buying into the programmed myth of
the power of the man-burn as they do that Titanic is the greatest movie ever made. If Mr.
Harvey really wants to live up to his philosophical ideals of community, why not change
the symbol each year? How about a sunrise chant of OM? How about one half hour of complete
silence? How about a mass masturbation? How about the landing and takeoff of a 747 jet?
Can you dream of any events that are any more frivolous than the man-burn?
Maybe some see god or God year after year after year when they see the man burn. (and
there are also too many Dogs in camp, the official radio station 99 point something kept
saying...) I dunno, I guess next year I won't get wide eyed and open hearted viewing the
man-burn knowing my lungs are soon going to be telling me to get out of Dodge ASAP.
This year, after days of good fun and growth experience, I did feel burned Monday morning
about 6am because of an event that apparently needs to hang on to the symbols of the past
in order to "keep the faithful" returning. (How could the event even exist with
only new people?) The world community, muchless the "man community," will never
grow except in narrowness and restriction with such a non-progressive system sanctioned
events, and even structure. Why not officially discourage people who have been there from
returning? I guess the Dead Head concert caravan is the role model,,,,,not that there's
anything wrong with that!
I went to a summer camp for four years when I was a kid. I began as a puny 50 lb. third
grader and lasted until I was a chubby pubic hair sprouting seventh grader. It was an
"indian" camp and we had lots of ritual fires, sometimes with pyrotechnics timed
with the oratory climax of the chief (Mr. Walt Mason, Camp Iroquois, Linesville PA, 1950's
and early 60's.) At Burning Man, I felt a little like the experienced been there/done that
seventy grader, looking at the new kids getting off on the fire show. If I was Mr. Harvey,
I'd want to give the man the burn also, what a great show, but I just think that adults in
positions have more ammunition and responsibility available to them, after all, the
audience is made of adults. Why just give the people what they want? He has the power to
make something new, yet returns to what is comfortable. Who knows if he repeats this for
himself or "the community." If for himself, I feel sorry he can't see wider, if
for the "community," I think he treats us like children. I enjoy my innner child
as much as the next person, but I don't think being led down the same path will educate me
or anyone else.
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