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This is for my non-burner friends, mainly. I didn't realize that Mark Morford is a burner, though I don't really think I should be so surprised. He wrote a piece on Burning Man in his column this week, and I imagine he'll have something up about his experience next week. It's probably well worth the read if you've ever thought it was something for you, but weren't sure.

The Life Lessons of Burning Man. The article is a scattering of things that one picks up at Burning Man. I found myself laughing out loud and identifying with a lot of what he had to say. I also didn't recognize a lot of it.

For example, his introductory point "You aren't who you thought you are" really didn't apply to me all that much. I've seen people have their minds turned inside out, and I think it's generally a good thing, but I'm a take-it-in-stride kind of girl. I remember driving onto the playa the first time with two other newbies. One of the other passengers exclaimed "That man is naked!" when we passed someone's camp on our way to our own. It didn't even occur to me to notice, much less remark upon it. Sure, I see things out there that I've never seen before, things that blow my mind, but I think that I'm the sort that expects the extraordinary, rather than the type that excepts it.

My general stance on Burning Man is that if you're at all intrigued or interested or fascinated or have any sort of hankering to go, go. It really is an amazing experience and you can't really understand it unless you've been there. If you have no desire whatsoever to go anywhere near there, stay away. Don't let your friends talk you into it, because you will be miserable.

I will say, though, that everyone's experience is different. There are almost 50 thousand people out there. This week, Black Rock City is the fifth largest town in Nevada. The diversity of thought is amazing, and what I may do and experience is going to be very different from someone who is there for the raves, or the drum circles, or the sex camps, or there with kids. Even from year to year, the experiences differ. I think that the only real requirement is that you have a generally open mind. Which isn't to say that you have to condone or approve or withhold judgment. It just means that you have to be prepared to see things that you may have little or no experience with.

This year will be strange, as there's apparently some cell phone coverage in Black Rock City for the first time. Debates continue on whether or not that's a good thing or a bad thing, but it does mean that more information will be coming out of the event as it's happening. Twitter updates, maybe even more direct contact, though I doubt that.


( 2 comments — Say something )
Aug. 28th, 2009 09:08 pm (UTC)
In your frustration with socially and politically imposed limitations.

Huh. Besides the physical/biological, what other kind are there, given that even our "individual" limits are generated within the socio-political-cultural? :-D

Why yes, I have been prepping for class all day. :-D

Aug. 28th, 2009 09:45 pm (UTC)
I'm on his mailing list. I kept thinking "I hope 'stina's seen this" the entire time I was reading it. I was wondering what your take on it would be - now I know.

Someday, I'll make it there. Someday. :)
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