The playa at sunrise. Black Rock City, NV. Photo by Kevin Tang.
Hi all. My blogging hiatus is officially over. The latest draft of my novel is finished, I have returned from my trip West, and I’m in the swing of my teaching/TAing gigs. My first venture back into the world of blogging is up at Formative Justice. An excerpt from “What It is to Burn: Affective Education at Burning Man“:
Cynics will point out that Burning Man isn’t really an antidote to consumerism or to a society obsessed with acquisition. After all, aren’t we just buying a bunch of stuff before we go out into the desert to give it away to each other? Isn’t it all just playing pretend? The answer is yes. We are playacting, pretending we’re already living in the world we want to live in. Where I differ from the cynics is that I think this playacting is more valuable than self-deluding. It is important for people to have the opportunity to feel the joys of communal, creative living, and to see that it is possible on a deeply impressive scale. Some attendees do come to Black Rock City for a week, gawk at the freak show, and go home unchanged. But many–perhaps many more–don’t leave their experience on the playa. Stories abound of people finally gathering the courage to leave unfulfilling careers, to end unhealthy relationships, and to pursue the lives they’ve always aspired to in the wake of Burning Man. People realize that their option set is wider than they’ve been conditioned to believe, and they find a community that will be there to support them. (A whole social network has risen around Burning Man, with parties, gatherings, and “regional burns” taking place around the country. San Francisco is the epicenter, but Burner scenes can be found all over.) Few will argue that Burning Man will on its own usher in an Age of Aquarius, but as a means, space, and culture to conceive of personal and sometimes community alternatives, it has real value.
I plan to return to a regular posting regimen from here on out. Hope your entry into fall has been a smooth one, and please stay tuned!