funferal (jodymeme) wrote in burning_man,

Burning Man as a social movement

by jody

Burning Man is a festival: a celebration, a release, a dance, a party to end all parties. Burning Man is an experiment in intentional community living, a city unique in layout and design, unique in its social interactions. Burning Man is an exercise in survival, as we face myriad environmental challenges from Mother Earth. Burning Man is a fount of creativity, a seed, the essence of eros, where the best ideas and their manifestations are birthed from dreams, a playground for artists, inventors and designers. Burning Man is a community, where people find love and form connections, coalesce mini tribes, construct new family units, cooperate. Burning Man is a cult, a new religious movement, secular and open to interpretation, embracing diverse beliefs, inspiring ritual.

Burning Man is a social movement. A cultural force. Its octopoid memetic reach into society is immeasurable. The eternal return home, the annual pilgrimmage to the Black Rock Desert, changes us, moves us, gives us a deeper understanding of ourselves, of our world. We bring this back into the world at large, and it spreads. If we define evolution as a physical law wherein the organic creation of a given unit leads to the creation of an organic response, than Burning Man is a natural evolutionary response to the mainstream of North American culture. As Burners we spread the virus to other creative thinkers, acting as (sometimes unconscious) causal agents in the evolutionary dance.

My first Burning Man experience: my mind and body altered, absorbing the feel of the city in the wee hours of the morning following the burning of The Man. The pale white light of the moon illuminated the ground beneath my feet: perhaps lunar, perhaps extraplanetary. Strange machinoid art cars, people in dress of unknown neoarchetypes, fires burning contorted shapes of creations that once were. I was staring at the future, and recognized it as such: "We are human potential."

Burning Man is no longer confined to Black Rock. Dozens of satellites orbit the mothership, each and every one possessing a unique flavor and character. Burning Man as a social movement is in its infancy. The seeds from the Mother have fallen to the ground, taking root and sprouting.

How we nurture these young saplings will define the evolution of the movement.

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