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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Why I'm not going to Burning Man, ever



It's in the desert in the middle of summer and I'm not an idiot. Tickets are pricey, if you can get them. The festival is often a playground for rich, or at least well off people. Sure, there are still plenty of people who do it on a budget, but there are also crazy expensive encampments that have all the amenities.

People go there to experience something totally different than their normal lives. Then they go back to their normal lives. The paint, feathers, weird clothes, and whacky accessories come off. The drugs work their way out of their systems. A hot shower, a plane flight and then it's back suits and ties. Only a tiny percentage of the people who go to Burning Man live like a Burner the rest of the year.

I don't want a life that I have to escape from. If your day to day life is such that you really need something like Burning Man once a year, you probably are living wrong.

Getting together with a bunch of people for whom the normal rules of society don't apply is loads of fun. Why not live that way all the time? Is it because at some point someone has to climb the tree to shake the coconuts out of it? Burning Man is not a lifestyle, but a vacation escape. It's like going to a resort somewhere, a great party but few can live like that full time.

How many people really want to live a Bohemian lifestyle? I happen to know a lot of artists, musicians, and writers. They do some amazing work. They won't be at Burning Man anytime soon either. Frankly, they can't afford it as art rarely pays well. The most successful of them are living a middle class life with middle class worries. Others are wondering how soon they'll be able to file for bankruptcy again.

Burners talk about how wonderful a giving economy is. I agree, so I operate as much as possible in that system. It's like barter, but no one keeps an exact tally of what was exchanged. It works too, but only among people who you consider to be your tribe. Those who constantly take without giving eventually find themselves without a tribe. That's what makes it possible.

I can't even pretend that I have a normal life to go back to. Part of the year I live in a dome in the woods. Sometimes I live in a converted ambulance, meeting interesting people in parking lots and remote campsites. Other times I'm living on a small sailboat with the other boat bums.

Who needs Burning Man?

It might be fun to put a suit on, get a hair cut, trim the beard, put shoes on, and pretend to be a business man. Let's call it the Corporate Man festival. I'll work in a soul killing profession for a week just so I can really enjoy the rest of my life.

-Sixbears

14 comments:

  1. One time, I cut the hair, trimmed the beard and pretended to be a business man. Tickets to Corporate Man Festival were going for a song - just hand over the soul. Bloody gig went for over 10 years. Ouch. However, it paid for a bit of dirt in the bush, a truckload of tools and most of a 95% complete house. Best of all, the beard is now chest deep, my clothing is appropriately ratty, shoes are optional and I'm surrounded by wonderful people. My soul is in full recovery.

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    1. 10 years is a long time to follow the corporate gig. Glad you recovered.

      At least you were able to escape the culture.

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    2. I was able to escape because I never bought into the culture. I always knew it as a means to an end.
      Hey, I've nearly made a half century of a very interesting life and never owned a suit. I call that a win.

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    3. A definite win. Good for you!

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  2. Corporate Man Festival that stuff is funny right there. I don't even own a suit, have a coupla ties and some sort of fancy long sleeve shirts (Do guayaberas count ?). Probably have to bury me in my circa 1981 Led Zeppelin 'Swan Song' T-Shirt ...

    Good point of BM participants, living the life is much more difficult than play acting. Thanks for the article.

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    1. You are welcome!

      Boat bums talk about having their "one good shirt." That's so they can get into better bars. Also helps to dress up a bit when checking into customs.

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  3. --- "Is it because at some point someone has to climb the tree to shake the coconuts out of it"---
    That is a keeper right there.

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    1. It is a good one. Only wish I could remember when I stole the concept.

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  4. I always thought Burning Man was a hippy drug/sex fest. Sounds a little more complex than that, but still not something I'd want to go within a hundred miles of.

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    1. It's many things to many people, but I'm pretty sure it's not your thing.

      I'm interested in temporary zones where the dominate culture is shoved aside for the duration. That's been the attraction for me, but there's too much other crap that goes along with it.

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  5. LOL - You might be onto something with that Corporate Man Festival, but I won't be coming!

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    1. I'm not going either as I don't have the costume. :)

      There was that time a couple years ago when I was rooting around in my closet for something to wear at jury duty. It was much easier to find clothes to dress up as a pirate. Go figure.

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  6. Yah know I chased the dead for a long while 'way back in the long lost. I don't think I'd want to go back to those days at my age. It was fun for a while. But like all really good party's you have to go back to work, Monday. Unless you have a trust fund and I never did.---Ray

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    1. I hated those trust fund kids. They always had the option of jumping back into the "real" world any time they wanted or they could live the never ending party.

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