I am going to try speaking some reckless words, and I want you to listen to them recklessly.
Burning Man is an invitation to a collective art experience, similar to that of the Jew’s mass revelation at Sinai, to be converted into little children and enter the gates of heaven together.
In Black Rock City, There is no money, no commercialization, only a gift economy of free cooperation, supported by the radical ethos of self-reliance, self-actualization, and radical inclusion.
One friend, who happened to live the life of a hobo artist, commented that she felt that burners were paying to experience life as a hobo. I understand the experience as a way to live openly without attachment and give freely without attachment, and as the saying goes, the playa provides.
In Black Rock City, There is no us and them, because as one citizen so aptly put it to me as I thanked him for the gift of some unknown chemical, “We’re all ravers here man.” And We we’re and are all raving mad, dancing to the song of the desert, everything everything everything, yet no one died there, no children were harmed.
Socio-Economic status indicators are less apparent at Black Rock City, dress is both shabby and marvelous, as many are in the hippy Mad Max apocalyptic desert tribal grindhouse gear of their choosing, or naked as the day they were born, covered in dust.
The happiest man I witnessed, sat naked in full lotus, serenely smiling to himself, dreadlocks draped over his shoulders rocking back and forth at a woman’s wedding where she married her self. He knew the open secret.
This strikes at the heart of the matter, there in the desert, there is an awareness, that every citizen is in an act of participatory art happening in the now, you may wear your body without shame, without scorn or derision, or even a second glance, you may simply be in all your human glory, in whatever mode of conscious, whatever identity or avatar you choose.
Comfort of touch arises in this open, relaxed atmosphere of non-repression, Hugs are standard greeting, and last a deliciously long time compared to our society. Cathartic emotional release arises, encouraged by freedom from social conditioning, laws, and traditional mores. There is a fervent, accepted development of comradeship, the beautiful, sane affection of man for man, latent in all the young fellows, north south east and west.
Rumi’s quote on Zoroastrian’s wheel reads, “Come, come, whoever you are, Wanderer, idolator, worshipper of fire, even though you have broken your vows, a thousand times, Come, and come yet again. Ours is not a caravan of despair.”
In this living environment of artful community empowerment new social standards arise, more equivalent to private desire, as there is increased ****** illumination, new social codes made manifest that rid us of fear of our own nakedness, rejection of our own body.
This stands in stark contrast to the present condition of life for American Person, which is one of deathly public solitude and mass commercialization.
We’ve built a technological Tower of Babel around ourselves, and are literally reaching into heaven to escape the planet. The stupendous machinery surrounding us conditions our thoughts, feelings, and reinforces our mental slavery to the material universe we’ve invested in, the separation and tension this creates can be felt walking down the street avoiding stranger’s eyes.
I say all this tremendous and dominant play of solely materialist bearings upon current life in the US, with the results already seen, accumulating, and reaching far into the future, that they must either be confronted and met by at least an equally subtle force infusion for purposes of spiritualization, for the pure conscience, for genuine esthetics, and for absolute and primal manliness and womanliness – or else our modern civilization, with all its improvements is in vain, and we are on the road to a destiny, to that of the fabled ******.
How can we Americans make our minds change theme? For unless the theme changes-encrustation of the planet with machinery, inorganic metal smog, violent outrage and mass ****** will take place. We witness these horrors already.
Abruptly then, I will make a first proposal: on one level symbolic, but to be taken as literally as possible, it may shock some and delight others – that everybody who hears my voice, directly or indirectly, try the chemical LSD at least once; every man woman and child American in good health over the age of 14, find a kindly teacher or guru guide and assay their consciousness with LSD – that if necessary, we have a mass emotional nervous breakdown in these States once and for all.
Then I prophecy, we will all have seen some ray of glory or vastness beyond our conditioned social selves, beyond our government, beyond America even, that will unite us into a peaceable community. I hope this will be understood not as the solution, but a typical and spiritually revolutionary catalyst, where many varieties of spiritual revolution are necessary to transcend specifically the political Hobbesian cold war we are all involved in.
I would invite you to step away from your rational mind
Seek inner space awareness
May the long time sun shine upon you
And all love surround you, and the pure light within you, shine your way on
I gave this speech as part of a Pecha Kucha presentation at the Columbus Musuem of Art on 11/13/14