What’s so great about that thing in the desert anyway?
It’s been a tradition for the last 6 years. My clients know that the last week of August through the first week of September, I disappear from the grid and make my annual pilgrimage to the black rock desert to attend a popular event known as Burning Man.
What is burning man and why do I go? Most people think it’s some rave in the desert and I guess if that is what you are looking for, you can find that too. Matter of fact, you can find anything there. As a grown adult, I can safely say that I am beyond my rave years and I attend the event for a multitude of other reasons. I thought I would share a few.
I go to experience Connection. With little to no cell service, people are not buried on their phones and talk to each other for entertainment and information. While I am there, I enjoy connecting with other people from all over the world over cocktails, while participating in workshops, or while hanging out on or around art installations. We openly have conversations and share drinks, food, snacks, and experiences while discussing ideas (usually about how we will do it better next year), and stories about things we saw or did over the course of the week.
I go to experience Culture. Burning man has a strong culture which is based on 10 principals including radical inclusion, leaving no trace, being radically self reliant, and immediacy. Check out the entire list of all 10 principals if you want to know more. As a veteran ‘burner’ and a leading member of a 100+ person camp, I help to integrate new attendees or first timers (burn-gins) into the culture and explain how they can participate and become a respectable member of the community.
I go to experience Community. Nobody can do Burning Man by themselves. It is a glorious experiment in human cooperation and one of my favorite things about Burning man is seeing what people can build when they work together or collaborate. It’s a well known fact that what can go wrong, will go wrong out there yet the event is successful every year because people cooperate and help each other out.
I go to be inspired. Every year thought leaders from around the world come to give talks, lectures, and workshops. New technology and new ways to solve old problems are on displya and people come to show off their ingenuity. When you are fully submerged in a pool of creativity, it becomes contagious and everyone begins pushing the walls of their thought boxes which causes a chain reaction and gets us all thinking about how we can be better, how we can impress one another, and how we can bring some of the magic from the event back into what we call the ‘default world’.
I will continue to attend Burning Man in the future because I believe people should never stop pushing themselves, examining their lives and I love seeing humanity at its best. Who knows…maybe one of these days, I’ll see you in the dust.