Wouldn’t it be great to have a lifestyle where you didn’t have to bounce between “making a living” and enjoying your favorite festivals because society had consciously evolved? What if the annual festivals that TALK about “the evolution of consciousness” actually DID something that’s lasting and globally transformative? What if inspired the entire world by pioneering an endeavor to show the world how it could live in a radically different, healthier, smarter, sustainable, and more peaceful way? Sound interesting? Then I have a proposition for you all.
Now, before you get your fuzzy, pink glitterboots in a dusty uproar, rest assured that I’m not just going to bash the beloved Burning Man, nor am I suggesting these annual festivals should be done away with. I’m just going to use Burning Man as an example since it’s the biggest “conscious” festival of its kind (like Lightning in a Bottle, Wanderlust, Lucidity, etc…) to suggest a larger vision.
I appreciate much of what Burning Man does as an experimental temporary society. I’ve been to Burning Man, danced my butt off in the dust storms, and I have many good friends who go each year. I’ve seen and heard firsthand both the amazing positive side and the disturbing dark side of Burning Man. Despite the darker side, I appreciate the possibilities for healing, creativity, and camaraderie that Burning Man provides. My intention in writing this, however, is to propose an inspiration for a greater vision that lasts 24/7 for all 365 days.
On the surface, I understand the appeal of Burning Man: take a brief vacation, have an adventure in to the middle of nowhere, be creative, have a gift-economy, and let loose with fun-loving strangers in an attempt to get away from the pressures and constraints of everyday life (never mind the groups of police constantly patrolling the campgrounds).
Well, even though Burning Man is supposedly “counter-culture” on the surface, underneath it still endorses the exact same mentality that the “Powers That Be” feed off of in the mainstream culture. Burning Man, with respect to its positive aspects, is essentially a huge, extremely expensive, unsustainable, ‘flash-in-the-pan’ 1-week party in the desert where vanity and escapism are rampant. Sounds pretty similar to the image Hollywood sells as “cool”, doesn’t it?
In that respect, Marianne Williamson dropped an awareness-bomb, speaking powerfully and poignantly about the self-defeating trap of “conscious festivals” at Lightning in a Bottle (another smaller festival akin to Burning Man) which must be taken in to consideration for creating a greater paradigm in light of the global situation.
So, with Marianne’s message in mind, one has to ask themselves, “What is it all building toward? And can it be improved?” …I think it absolutely can, and it must.
From looking at the expenditures of each year, it’s clear that Burning Man has pulled in well over tens of millions of dollars in each recent year. Combined with the amount of money each of the 50,000+ annual festival-goers spend on gas, food, art supplies, and other preparations, the amount of money and resources spent on this 8-day festival of Burning Man is ASTONISHING… But then what? Could it be put to better use?
What if, instead of one short-lived, albeit generally well-meaning, annual party, that money was put toward creating a progressive, technologically sustainable community that could sustain numerous festivals? What if this community operated with open source information/collaboration technology, green tech designs with little to zero ecological footprints, scientifically optimized products for sustainable solutions coming in to greater balance with nature, free innovative education, spiritual and psychological awareness, and free, clean energy? Imagine what could be accomplished if all that money, utilized in a non-profit capacity, was put towards assembling a cutting-edge team of engineers, manufacturers, information technology experts, permaculturists, teachers, holistic doctors and therapists, and land management specialists on an optimal private property that could create a model community! The resources are obviously available! Thousands of volunteers would gladly help! Why WOULDN’T we want that?
Looking at the financials, it’s VERY possible that by foregoing ONE Burning Man, enough revenue will generated from “ticket sales” (I.O.U. tickets for when the groundwork for the “New Burning Man” project is established), crowd source fundraising, and donations from progressive companies to pioneer a better way of living that could be replicated around the world! Taking a sober look at the world, it’s evident that experimenting with these sort of projects is an evolutionary necessity. We cannot depend on corrupt, corporately controlled governments and fraudulent, privatized economic systems to fix the very problems it has created and continues to perpetuate. We all must take responsibility in working toward a greater future. And if the 10 Principles of Burning Man are anything more than just paper-thin, hypocritical lip-service, then it is incumbent upon all Burners to strive for greater Radical Civic Responsibility, Inclusion, Communal Effort, Participation, and Immediacy toward a greater cause that would be greater than anything anyone could imagine.
Take a good look at the lives we lead. We lead lifestyles that were once was the privilege of emperors, kings, and great courts, yet we all too often squander our creative and intellectual potential by conforming to a fetishized culture of escapism, superficial gratification, drugs, and a bombardment of feel-good disinformation that distracts and holds us back from truth and empowerment.
Rome distracted its citizenry with games, drugs, and gaudy spectacles. Religion sold lies to profit while keeping people from rebelling against government. Nowadays, the CIA has co-opted the counterculture movement with the same old methods. History repeats itself until we learn the lesson and are willing to let go of the comfortable, familiar shore in order to cross the ocean of possibility to new horizons.
The bottom line is this: We are capable of SO much more, and time is precious.
You want to “raise your vibration” and help the world? Here’s the chance.
Are you willing to do what it takes, or is it all just talk and vanity?
You might ask: What might it look like? What about our society needs to change and how can we do it, personally and collectively? For a deeper, comprehensive answer to these questions (and much more), read : “How to Solve All Social Problems”.