You’d think, wouldn’t you, that the sheer volume of practitioners these days would be having more of an impact on the social dialogue. You’d think with all of these OMs that the larger fabric of politics, legislation and commerce would be more explicitly conscious of history and future aims. This series of posts is my observation of where our golden hearts and brilliant ideas go to stagnate and eventually die. There are a couple of notes on what I perceive to be the “poison pills” of spiritual rhetoric.
Also note that for some reason comments, while I can see them from within WP, are not posting publicly. You aren’t being censored, at least not on purpose, winky face.
“The Burning Man Paradox”
[N.B. I'm picking on Burning Man even though I like it and believe in it, and love so many people that love it. Bear with me, here]
Most visionaries have a utopia in mind, either in the past or in their visions, or as in the Burning Man festival, a specific temporary time period. If only things were that way, the argument goes, our grief would be less and our consciousness more elevated.
I’ve never had the pleasure of attending the festival, primarily due to a creeping horror of dry skin. But I’ve watched many friends come and go over the years. Usually there is a community frisson immediately after their return, especially in the case of my yoga teaching colleagues. It’s very much like when people return from retreat or from study. You can feel the magical charge coming off of them. Sometimes the ideas are more compelling, better articulated; it’s a groovy transmission of feeling, and it’s always temporary.
While I know that fits and starts of charitable projects, microloans, creative collaboration have indeed been born out of crucibles like BM, the primary yearning in the participants appears to be to get back to Burning Man the following year. It’s not as explicit as the individuated journey undertaken by the meditator or yogi [cf Remski, “the internalizing arts”] but it’s still so segregated and rarefied [and literally privileged] that IME it disconnects more than it connects. Any concepts of any worth are so hothoused by utopian thinking that implementing them almost always requires some sort of fantastic or violent shift: destroying current government, forced liquid acid consumption u.s.w. [they get weirder, but you get the idea]. I can totally get why you’d feel like those measures are what would be required given the intensity of preparation and experience required to undertake these deep “retreat” or “festival” experiences. I’ve been the person coming back from Maui all high on lilikoi and Ram Dass and thinking that I was making sense and just headed further down the rabbit hole. Continue reading