Popular art installation The Pier is now at Fly Ranch. Image: Friends of the Black Rock Desert
Has Burning Man become rudderless without the leadership of founder Larry Harvey, who passed away earlier this year? Now that they have a $45 million budget, and a permanent year-round site gifted to them to the tune of about $7 million, are they finally able to…DO something?
Well…YMMV. Perhaps in this Brave New World of Millenials, the better part of a year spent Ideating qualifies as something profound and meaningful, an enormous and courageous action communally performed by all who participate.
A group specifically charged with coming up with a vision! How exciting.
Meanwhile in the comment section, Burners be like: close the airport. Stop selling out our culture. Charge camps for prime placement instead of allocating it through favoritism. Focus on ways to reduce the environmental footprint and waste generated. Stop making it hard for true Burners to participate while encouraging an influx of sparkle pony tourists. Don’t make us wait in line. Make it easier to get tickets.
Sadly, the same things I’ve been hearing – and saying – for many years. BMorg is BMorg, we’ll see what happens…#ComingSoon.
They expect to spend at least a year on this intensive “visioning” process. Partying it up in the solar-powered Russian steam baths at Fly Ranch is no doubt on the agenda.
Burners can donate cool stuff to the ranch like Russian steam baths and solar arrays. Image: burningman.org
Sign up for a workshop, get naked and tell us all your ideas! Even if you can’t make it to Flysalen, Burners anywhere are invited to spend their time contributing to the visioning.
Here’s how to participate:
Fill out this survey.It will take around 30 minutes to complete. We’ll ask you about city planning, camp size and culture, money and decommodification within camps, and more. If you’ve ever lived in Black Rock City, please fill out the survey. The survey deadline is Thursday November 8 at 11:59 pm PST.
Participate in a community conversation in your area. We’ve partnered with camps and regional communities all over the world to host deeper discussions around these topics and to share notes with the visioning group as qualitative data. These are all happening now until the end of November! Check out the listings by location and thank you to everyone hosting!
Host a community conversation. You can organize your own conversation, using a kit we’ve created that includes suggested discussion format, facilitator tips & tricks, questions to ask, and how to submit the input and feedback to the visioning group. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request the kit. Schedule a date, time, and location (in person or virtual) and, if you’d like, we’ll add it to the listing above so others can join you. You can also host a conversation with just your camp.
Join the Facebook group. Post the notes from your community conversation in this public Facebook group so others can see all the threads as they develop. Post your individual thoughts after taking the survey in the group or as a comment on this Burning Man Journal post.
Share the survey. Share this post and the survey link widely with your fellow Burners, campmates, and friends. We want to hear from folks who are already tuned in (like you reading this) and from folks who are less tuned in, or perhaps haven’t been to Black Rock City in a while.
Stay tuned. We have some ideas for future virtual engagement, and participation opportunities at events like the 2019 Theme Camp Symposium.
This is community-wide engagement. That means this vision won’t reflect any one individual’s feedback. The visioning group will analyze the input gathered, keep you informed, and provide feedback on how our community’s input influences the eventual vision of this project. This visioning group will meet regularly through spring 2019, and we’re excited to see how this effort evolves.
With the 10 Principles in mind and our best intentions as heart, we’re confident we can set a clear path for Black Rock City’s future.
Of course there’s a survey. Detailed profiling of all participants is a big part of Burning Man’s raison d’etre. You may want to make sure your VPN is turned on before you check it out.
I have highlighted some of the comments in response to the original post. I put JV’s first because he’s a regular here, and as in most cases I agree with him. Read them all for yourself here
Here’s an idea for you, BMorg. Throw Full Moon parties at Fly Ranch. Invite specific camps to come to each one, encourage mixing between the camps on a smaller scale than Black Rock City. Everyone gets to know each other like in the good old days (or Juplaya). Ask each camp to leave a permanent art contribution to the ranch. Offer art car storage with mechanical/electronic/paint services. Get all the art cars there, art cars bring crews who can bring crowds – or not, depending on what is needed to advance the cause. After a couple of years, you will have a enough energy there for a year-round community to thrive. Sell tickets to everyone to fund it. I mean, not that nature walks aren’t swell, but you can still offer that. We’re Burners, we don’t go all the way out there just for nature walks. Party in the hot springs? Now you’re talking…
Here’s a bonus one: spend some of that massive cash surplus you’re sitting on to purchase some trash compactors. We need to have recycling and waste management on the site, it’s not fair to the local community or environment that they should pay the price for Burner waste.
Think you’re cool for buying Leonard Da Vinci tickets for triple the price? Are you on the Burner100 list? No? Well, you might have to up your Gifting game if you want to swing with the Big Playa Players. If you kiss the right asses they might even name a Principle after you.
Halcyon with his dad, Bob Weir. Image: BJ
Pink Jesus, aka John Halcyon Styn, raised the radical idea that what used to make the art at Burning Man so magical was that people created it for free to share with each other. So paying artists could be Commodification.
He was roundly shot down by the group, but after breakaway sessions they came back with the idea that not paying artists was excellent, and they could blame it on him: aka “The Halcyon Principle”.
Gifting is the answer the everything. Or my answer, at least. Over and over at the conference, I brought the conversation back to Gifting. While there is so much magic happening in the Burning Man movement, I think the core of it is in Gifting. A) It teaches us to receive joy from giving joy.
B) It helps us to start seeing ourselves as having talents and art of our own to share.
Shifting people’s from self-identity from “consumer” to “creator” is world-changing. I spoke up on the first day and questioned a line of thought by reminding people that, while I want to get artists paid, I am more passionate about making sure the art remains a gift. I said I was transformed by that first awareness that all this amazing stuff on the playa was created — not for financial reasons — but purely to blow my mind. It created an energetic surplus in me that made me want to give back to this place and community for the rest of my life. There was a quick rebuttal to what I said and I instantly regretted speaking up. Maybe I am too naive for this conversation I thought. I shouldn’t be here.
But the next day, someone approached me and thanked me for saying something. Then another. Then a breakout group told me that they had a long conversation about what they were calling “The Halcyon Principle” based on what I had said.
A surreal highlight of the week (that was already a highlight of my life) was having Maid Marian, CEO of Burning Man, write “Halcyon Principle” on the whiteboard during the final Symposium wrap-up.
It’s not about paying artists! We can just give them hugs! Remember the Halycon Principle!
I’m not knocking Halcyon, he makes some good points and he has been kind enough to write guest posts here. Forgive me for being cynical about groupthink and congruency between words and actions, but I’ve been writing about BMorg for almost 5 years now. The ratio keeps growing, in the wrong direction. More people at the off-site symposia and invite-only conferences, more TED talks and panel discussions, lots of people being flown all around the world for words; less visible actions promoting art or making the world a better place. Who cares about which gender Burners identify with, buy some kids a skate park or a library.
This collective experiment in temporary community has owned Fly Ranch for half a year, and Burners are mobile and self-reliant even in harsh conditions. Especially the Top 100 of them. Yet somehow the future of Flysalen needed to be plotted in the acid-laced hot tubs of Esalen, rather than the oil drilling byproduct hot springs of Fly Ranch.
Being on the boards of both Esalen and the Burning Man Project, Chip Conley swings both ways. Image: Fest300
For $6.5 million They could have bought a lot, and done a lot. At Esalen it’s $900 for no accommodation or a sleeping bag and $1300 for a dormitory bunk bed; if a couple wants their own room it’s more than five grand. At these rates they might as well just have their symposium at Caravancicle or White Ocean. Was this a pay-to-plug-n-play deal, or did Halcyon and 99 others get comped? Where does your ticket money go?
The 2014 Afterburn report claims a total of 896 paid employees. Obviously at least 90% of them didn’t get invited to the Esalen symposium. There are about 100 year-round staff on the Burning Man web site, wonder what percentage of them got to attend? The last payroll figure we have for the Burning Man Project is for 2014, $7,485,059 (plus another $3,441,179 in contractors). So one week of the Burning Man Project’s time is around $150k of salaries. For $150k I will give them a vision, I’m sure it will be better and easier to implement than whatever the Burner100 came up with.
100 people had a bunch of ideas and told each other how great they were…for a whole frikking week. Were there hugsies involved? Some form of Orange cordial, perhaps?
I got in the tubs twice. Most people were in there as much as possible. I spent much more time standing on the cliffs looking out at the jagged coast
Science fiction and dick jokes at the Burning Man Global Technology Leadership Conference. Nano-tech brain drugs that connect brains together. Jacking the internet directly into the back of your skull. Dosing monkeys with cocaine. “We’re all in a giant machine MRI machine and the CIA is reading your thoughts. No. They’re just reading your emails and Facebook posts”.
Now we have video of the full presentation from the 2016 GLC. It’s entertaining, but what is the real message here?
How can Burning Man change the world? That’s the topic of this 40 minute talk, supposedly. The answer? Art projects give you a sense of awe. He took everything he learned at Burning Man and channeled it into his art (writing science fiction) because he wanted to change the world in some way. There’s about 20 seconds of this around the 20 minute mark.
He came up with a formula to explain it.
The meaning of Burning Man is the change it causes in the world.
M )'( = Δ )'(
“We are the ones we have been waiting for. That is it” got him a standing ovation.
Let’s not forget Burning Man Social Alchemist Bear Kittay’s Transhumanist song that accompanied Marian’s 2014 Tokyo TED Talk
“Surrender to the memes.”
If our minds are the workshop, then who is the Da Vinci? Larry? Stuart Mangrum? Who are the patrons? If we’re just making art, how come the Leadership Conference talks about jacking our brains into the Internet in a presentation titled “can Burning Man change the world?
What does any of this have to do with the Burning Man Project?
Maybe the ideas that they have been presenting over three years of conferences is their vision for the way Burning Man changes the world. The death of god, replacing it with a new artificially created occult digital god. Humans replaced with brains in jars, connected to the Matrix. “Be your own app”.
A Burning Man staging area north of Gerlach received approval today from the Washoe Board of County Commissioners to change the property to a more permanent staging area for the annual Black Rock Desert event.
A number of special use permits for residential and industrial uses were combined into a zone change that will allow for increased use on the 200-acre property, Black Rock Station.
According to a staff report,
The proposed amendment will supersede all existing special use permits and provide development standards for areas and all uses at the site. The amendment proposes to establish five separate use areas, including Civic, Residential, Industrial, Agricultural, and Future. Uses are grouped into one of these use areas. The industrial area contains significant buffering requirements and the entire site is subject to layers of mitigation to lessen the impact on the surrounding property owners and the community at large.”
County Planner Dr. Eric Young said the change came about after years of negotiations between the county and Black Rock LLC, Burning Man’s owners, negotiations that weren’t always cordial.
“We have really started to rebuild that trust,” he said after the county developed new development processes that were a better fit for the area. “Some of those residential uses (will be) temporary … They can only be used for 90 days in a calendar year. (In addition), there’s a cap of 500 people at any given time.
“We’re really limiting this to things that they need to get started now,” he added.
Traffic impacts and code enforcement were questioned, and Young said changes could be made to the zoning and use at the property. He said the owners have to maintain a plan with the county fire marshal.
“If the plan lapses, all activities on the site have to stop,” he said. “There is an extensive plan in place for fire and EMS service.”
Enforcement of zoning requirements would be based on citizen complaints, however.
“Unless somebody comes in and points a finger and says, ‘hey they’re doing that,’ we’re not out there driving around looking for it,” Young said. “We will have an occasion to be out there from time-to-time for various inspections, (but) there are certain things like that where there’s not going to be a county person standing there looking at it.”
[Update 5/20/16 2:09am]
Google can’t “buy it”, no corporation can, because it’s a non-profit.
Wrong. Someone could still buy all the Intellectual Property and Real Estate assets, which are owned by for-profit companies controlled by some of the insiders. In fact, that seems like it would be much easier to do now than it was a few years ago.
I refer (reefer) you to these posts from a couple of years back…
Don’t worry, the name “Decommodification, LLC” is just a funny ironic farce in the true spirit of Burning Man, and Danger Ranger created a “Dead Man’s Switch” to save us all!
Maybe so. I can’t say without any evidence, and despite the unlikely transparency and nearly six years passing, there still isn’t any.
Here’s what I have been able to find, from corporationwiki.com – a site I use frequently for real world research. The site has always seemed legit to me, occasionally the information slightly conflicts with other sites but generally they have been accurate. They’ve never had a Ministry of Propaganda as far as I can tell.
Anyway, Alphabet Agencies doesn’t need to buy something like this. Eric Schmidt can keynote at Further Future or any of these doofs in his laser shirt, any time he wants. What they need – to sell this idea to their public company board – is a local government that gives them a thumbs up for their pteradactyl experimental vision.
Now that the local government have told BMOrg (whoever that really is, through all the Nebulous Entities) “you guys can do whatever you want and we’ll give you special use permits for unspecified future things and leave you alone”, one wonders how long it may take before the robots are running around.
The Skulls and Bones of the Nebulous Entity came from a nearby ranch
Part 1 starts here. There is a lot of information, a lot of ground to cover, a lot of foundations to lay. Burning Man is not just a rave. There is much more to it, and when we look at it in its proper historical and geographical context, an incredible story unfolds.
Yesterday I shared some of my personal Burning Man stories. How I first got caught up in this thing. Even though Cargo Cult was not so long ago, a lot has happened in my life since then.
I have tickets for this year, and my plan is to attend…if they’ll have me. Which is the point of this post. Are we really all welcome? Even the critics? Even people who speak truth, and debunk propaganda? How far does Radical Inclusion really stretch?
If you speak out against the Ruling Group, do you get blacklisted (like a cult)? Or is this truly a city of freedom and inclusion?
I started this blog in February 2012 to comment on what is being said about Burner culture on the Internet. Since we began, the global Burning Man hype has been catapulted to unprecedented levels. Now, I’m not claiming sole credit for that. New stories about Burning Man appear in the media at least once per week, giving me a steady stream of content to share opinions about. How do those stories get there? BMOrg’s team of at least half a dozen full time PR staff may have contributed; The Simpsons and Oprah sure didn’t hurt. Having a year-round Burning Man reporter embedded at the Reno Gazette-Journal didn’t hurt either.
In that context, 1500 stories about Burning Man going to an audience of millions is just more momentum to the avalanche…
Bringing truth into an environment constructed upon propaganda and magical thinking has not occurred without ruffling a few feathers. That’s the nature of truth.
As Bohemian Grover Mark Twain once said, “it’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled”
This year Burning Man celebrates its 30th anniversary. Attendance is higher than ever, ticket prices are higher than ever, demand is higher than ever. Everything seems great, right? Why do I have to complain, when it’s clearly all just swell?
At the same time, we’re told “we’re saving the world”. That’s good, right? Surely we can just talk about how we’re saving the world, rather than complaining?
Well, I would love to. But it’s not up to me: I don’t hold the purse strings of their nearly $40 million annual budget. We have to look at where the money gets spent. Is it really going towards world-saving activities?
The best the Org could come up with at their recent Global Leadership Conference was $3000 of art grants split between 4 projects. And they think this is making the world a better place? IT’S TWO DA VINCI TICKETS AND A VEHICLE PASS. Plus tax, handling fees per item, $22 to post a letter, etc.
That’s what the new 2016 innovation of “Art Tickets” bought. A total of 2 of these VIP tickets were used for doing good in the world. The other *cough* 998? We will probably never know what happened to that money.
Just the increase in vehicle passes from $40 last year to $50 this year brings BMOrg an extra quarter of a million dollars cash. For providing nothing. And we’re supposed to bow and scrape about this $3k?
Nobody could really be that stupid. Which makes me wonder if this is all some sort of giant Kool-Aid test. How much bullshit can we dump on this community and still get away with it?Ticket and art budget shenanigans being two recent cases in point.
Over the last few years, in addition to writing this blog I have also been working on a book about the Shadow History of Silicon Valley. It has been an intriguing, surprising, baffling, and exhausting adventure. There is no “Hero’s Journey” here for me. I am no longer trying to discover myself, or figure out how the world works. I know how the world works – and it scares me. There should be more people trying to spread awareness, to break people out of their trance. Instead, society is being deliberately dumbed down. Propaganda, logical fallacies, and cultural Marxism rule the day. Facts like “vaccine problems get prosecuted in a secret court“ get conflated with propaganda like “anti vaxxers are ignorant and want to kill little kids”. Or “Trump supporters are all racist Nazis”.
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act” George Orwell, 1984
Why should you care? Maybe you shouldn’t. Nobody is forcing you to read this blog. I am just writing to share my opinions to whoever is interested. The BJ is doing that too, and if you like their propaganda better than our facts, then please enjoy.
What is my motivation?
I am researching the history of computers. Burning Man plays a small but important part in this story.
I am certainly not trying to harm Burning Man in any way by learning about it and writing about it. I love Burning Man. I think everyone should go at least once in their lives. What drew me to this party in the first place was the idea of experimenting in different ways of civilization. Let’s get back to that.
I have chosen a very specific channel for publishing my research at this time: Gnostic Media. Jan Irvin’s work is founded on the Trivium Method, which I encourage everyone of any age to learn. It is one of the most powerful tools I have in my life, one of the few antidotes to propaganda that I have ever discovered. It is a framework you can use to relate to your reality. This happens to be the claim made by the “Hero’s Journey” framework that Esalen promotes:
The main difference that I see between the two frameworks is that the Trivium Method encourages you to focus on facts and what is known and visible to the five senses. It encourages logic, analysis, and critical thinking. The Monomyth Method, on the other hand, encourages groupthink and magical thinking. It is excellent for consensus decision making, inclusion of minority viewpoints, positive emotions, a sense of teamwork, and a feeling that we are all one. It is woefully inadequate for r/K selection theory K breeding of closely knit clusters of success.
I believe that to survive and thrive in the new digital world we need to rely on the most ancient of skills: Grammar (Who/Where/When/What), Logic (Why), and Rhetoric (How). If you get the grammar right – meaning that you have a clear understanding of Who the players are, Where everything is happening, and the timeline of what is going on – then the What, How, and Why can become self-evident: they unfold automatically.
The Magical Thinking Propaganda method means that you use words and charisma to trigger peoples’ emotions. You want them connecting to the leader and following them; you don’t want them thinking too much about the Why, How, and What. Using this method, you can lead people into doing illogical things that are against their own self interest. Drugs and hypnosis can be used to enhance suggestibility.
The Trivium Method wants us to consider crystal clear facts, and identify speculation and contradictions. As much as possible we use primary source documentation. Whenever we quote someone, we are quoting them verbatim. We provide citations and references supporting our claims. References used by the Magical Thinking method will most often be to prior examples of Magical Thinking, that are presented as authoritative.
Disciples of the Magical Thinking method will say that the Trivium Method is negative and fear based, or they will otherwise try to discredit it. They will say that their positive methods uplift people, while negative approaches only hold people down and create limitations.
The Trivium is thousands of years old, and is the basis for a classical education. If the results of applying it are negative, it is because what is being considered is negative to begin with. Magical Thinking is only ever positive; reality is relative, something to be distorted and manipulated.
Which one should you believe? Magical thinking says trust the charismatic leader. Trust the cult that wants to disconnect you from the outside world. The Trivium Method says learn how to do your own research and make up your own mind. We present facts and evidence; consider them. We don’t say “our method is superior”. We say “prove us wrong!” It is significant that competing philosophies do not share such a focus on the truth.
Think for yourself, question authority.
What would I have to gain from lying to you? Money? What money? This is free. I’m not selling any thousand dollar tickets. Power? What power? Burning Man doesn’t impress people any more. There’s no power in blogging. Friends? I have plenty. If anything I could lose social capital from this course. Ego? I would be better off writing my own memoir than studying the exploits of others.
If you doubt my motivation, perhaps allow your head to entertain for a moment the possibility that I am an honest man with good intentions. If I was, then what would I do? How would it look different from what I’m doing right now? I am putting my good name (already smeared by these people) and perhaps even the health and wellbeing of myself and my family on the line. For what gain?
What if there actually isn’t an expectation of gain? What if it is about Gifting, and Communal Effort? Noblesse oblige. Leaving someone else’s alleged principles aside, what if I really want to Leave A Big Fucking Trace? Something permanent, that might last beyond my years. The same Beasts the Founding Fathers tried to fight – Tyranny, Secret Societies, Central Banking, and Imperialism – are alive and well, and stronger than ever. Now in the 21st century becoming smarter and smaller and less visible, attacking our very minds and even our souls with electronic, chemical, biological, and anthropological weapons.
We, humans, our species, we need to wake up – urgently. Corporations and Artificial Intelligences should not be allowed to become the apex predator species on this planet. They can never be punished, never be jailed. Who do they account to? We have had 2 full Presidential terms since the Wall Street crimes of 2007-8, which have been clearly exposed in movies like The Big Short, Inside Job, Margin Call, Too Big To Fail…not to mention all the mainstream media. And yet, nobody gets in trouble. Why not? Why do we just passively accept corruption, corporate coups, and human rights abuses? Am I supposed to just sit down, shut up, and take it? ARE YOU?
If you’re still wondering WTF I’m talking about, please allow me some time. It’s taken me three years to get to the point where I can publicly share this research. The introduction is more than 2 hours because there is a lot of ground to cover. [I’ll try to make the next part shorter, I promise!] I think you’ll find it interesting, I certainly have putting it all together.
Am I trying to hurt Burning Man or the Org? Absolutely not. I love Burning Man. Everyone should go, at least once. See for yourself. Be inspired at what there is in this world, Disneyland, the Maker Movement, Art Basel, and Spring Break all wrapped up together. That’s still – after 30 years – a pretty unique and special combination, no matter who’s pulling the strings.
I have made an effort to place my research into a broader historical context, which should not in any way impede the Burning Man Project’s ability to raise donations and Black Rock City LLC’s ability to sell tickets. I am not responsible for any organizational turnover or management issues within that group of companies – which recent times have seen a lot of.
I’m just a Burner, checking things out for myself, doing the research, and sharing it with you all, for free. Open your mind, or not, it’s up to you, I’m not preaching anything but truth. After truth comes reconciliation. I hope that then, the creativity and advancement of humans can truly be unleashed.