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.