I don’t go to Burning Man because it’s easy. I do it because it’s challenging. It is provocative. I forget this as I pack. Some optimist in me really doesn’t want to think about the stripping action of Burning Man, and wants to keep it a vacation that I’ve saved up all my benefit hours for (and of which I have none this year to spend anyway).
It’s not any of those things. Nor should I expect any such from Burning Man.
Much is cleared, there is that. And in that clearing, there’s power and screaming opportunity. You are left with what you brought and all your expectations, sitting out there in the sun among your friends. As you are.
I forget this.
Every time I go, I slam into my aloneness, my spiritual searching, my needs, my fear of the intensity of my own needs, the condition of my life to date without any soft focus, without impact warning. The temptation to withdraw. The just-out-of-reach closeness, the abandonment.
The environment itself serves to fan the flames of what might have already been burning as I drove out there. You’ve read enough about the environment, I don’t need to dramatize here.
So. While the event gets a lot of press as a healing, easy place, or a 7-day raving love-in, for me it is none of those things. It is magic, yes, but magic in the Dionysian sense.
"That’s because the psychological effect of Burning Man isn’t to solve our issues automatically, as though the Man were Jesus touching lepers, it is to bring them up. Carl Jung said that those who don’t confront their demons within will confront them without: Burning Man is a process whereby both happen at once. That’s an opportunity, but it’s also a crisis. What we do with our issues when they’re staring us in the face is never ‘automatically’ healing.
I wish someone had told me about this before my first Burn. I try to tell virgin Burners this whenever I can. I wish we were a little less upbeat about the party and a little more honest about the fact that we love Burning Man because it isn’t benign.”
Say what you want about Mr. Sixx, he’s got one hell of an eye. You can tell the camera is always in his hand, part of how he thinks. I’m more fond of his uncomposed candid shots than his staged confections. But it works. Well.
And he has a peculiar (specific?) ability to turn career music life whatever into a completely domestic day-to-day, god-is-in-the-details-and-there-is-the-magic experience.
This keeps rolling through my brain today. The whole ab-lum is worth a listen, y’all. Jazz, R&B, house, rap influences. All wrapped up in brainy lyrics and smart duets with silky vocalists like D’Angelo and Norah Jones.