Sorry BMOrg, the Money Changers Are Already in the Temple.

By Terry Gotham

In 2006, out in the Deep Playa, about as far away from the Man as the man was from 10 & 2, there was this piece of art called Uchronia that we affectionately dubbed the “Belgian Waffle.” A massive installation by Belgian artists that we were quite sad never served breakfast. At night, it turned into de facto megaclub on playa cranking out some of the stompiest techno, trance and glitter house I’d ever heard. I found it to be a very interesting alternative to some of the American, non-fully electronicized camps that still played a mix of jazz, house, disco, alternative & live sounds. It was at times a dirty, intoxicated mess of fur coats and tekno music.

I had no idea that installation would be relevant as a metaphor 11 years later, after a Global Leadership Conference & insightful Burn.Life article on how the powers that be see the problems that plague Black Rock City.  People are finally realizing that the utopia they took such pride in building has become an unaffordable, elitist, mainstreamed event. The ticketing system, while a noble attempt at solving the “Burning Man is Full” problem that simply didn’t exist a decade ago, continues to frustrate long-time Burners & small/mid-size camps, the true bread and butter of Burning Man.

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Transhumanist Former Cult Leader Says Burners Responsible for Innovation

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Image: YouTube

The 650 people at the 2016 Global Leadership Conference this weekend were the recipients of a keynote briefing from a cult leader. At least, a former one: now Ramez Naam is just a Burner, and award-winning science fiction author.

Image: rameznaam.com

Image: rameznaam.com

Participants in the 2016 GLC were treated Saturday morning to a visit by Ramez Naam, celebrated science fiction author, former elected fake-cult leader from the Church of Mez, and longtime Burner.

Mez’s talk challenged Burners and Burner-like humans to take on their civic responsibility as explorers and engineers of inner and outer space. “We are the ones that we have been waiting for,” Mez said.

Mez began by setting the record straight: “I just want to say I am no longer a cult leader. The cult was declared ‘morally bankrupt’,” Mez reassured us. He’s concentrating on his other exploits these days: The author of the renowned Nexus trilogy was recently awarded a Philip K. Dick award for his novel, Apex, so people are constantly congratulating him on his Dick now.

Mez’s first Burn was in ’97, and after his friends gave him a cult for his birthday, he got in pretty deep. He shared that his experiences on playa opened him up to other people in big ways, helping him overcome interpersonal anxieties and reach out to strangers in that quintessentially Burner way. Burning Man breaks down those boundaries, and Mez says this — combined with an interest in the headiest science and technology — is what has motivated him to bridge the inner and outer worlds through writing sci-fi.

Most sci-fi is about outer space, but Mez prefers to write about inner space, somewhere we all boldly go. Just like everyone else in the room at the GLC, Mez has done a great deal of inner space exploration at Burning Man events, producing insights equally valuable in sci-fi and in reality… inner and outer space are intimately connected, and human inventions are constantly widening the bandwidth of that connection. It’s no surprise that, in Mez’s view, those who explore inner space most thoroughly are the ones who drive innovation. Yes, that’s us.

Ramez is a former Microsoft employee who helped create Internet Explorer and Outlook. As well as the Philip K Dick award, Ramez has won the H G Wells award for Contributions to Transhumanism. Yes, Burning Man’s Global Leaders are being briefed on transhumanism by a cult leader. Welcome to Da Vinci’s Workshop, let us tinker with your brain…

Read the full story at the Burning man Journal

Read the step-by-step BMOrg plan for cult indoctrination here.

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His cult, the Church of Mez, was created after his first trip to Burning Man in 1997, and ignited the Transhumanist cult revolution.

SEATTLE, Washington–February 2, 2003–Church of Mez Adjusts Earnings, Files Chapter 11. The Church of Mez today announces its intention to file an adjusted earning statement and that it has filed for protection from its debtors under chapter 11.

“Clearly, we have been morally bankrupt from the start,” said the former CEO Mez from atop a pile of chocolate covered thai hookers. “But we’ve been hiding the fact that the Church of Mez has actually been making money for years. I mean buying Oracle was just supposed to be a joke, one look at PL/SQL and we figured those jackasses would never be worth anything. We tried to hide it, but you can only burn cash in your back yard for so long before the neighbors start to talk … Larry, you bitch, find me more hookers, these ones are lazy.

“It was just one questionable investment after another,” admitted the Church CFO. “Amazon in the mid 90’s… who the hell would want to buy books on the internet? Then we started to make money on them, finally decided to sell them short in 2000, well that was a bad idea too and we had to hide another 7 billion in the back of the bus. Our fucking accountant even managed to earn us a tax credit for the hundred thousand pairs of blinky devil horns we used at burningman. And then we thought that being awarded the Playa Chicken as payment for outstanding debts was a bright spot, the disposal fees alone would be enormous, but when KFC bought him from us… well it is all just horrible.”

After a brief and drunken board meeting, all Church of Mez employees were laid off. All remaining cash assets are to be dumped into a desert porta-potty in the dead of night according to time honored Church tradition.

The Church of Mez, Inc. ignited the fringe transhumanist cult revolution in 1998 with the inception of the Church of Mez and is recommitted to its original mission–to bring big hair and loose morals to artists, scientists, computer professionals, and other miscreants in over 140 countries around the world.

For historical purposes, the original web site is still available.

This is a Church of Mez report from 1998, when Google launched at Burning Man and the theme was about a search engine sucking all the world’s data called “the Nebulous Entity”. They brought with them contracts for people to sell their souls; 150 did. Was this the same contract as the 1996 Helco one “Standard Short Form Contract for Purchase of One Soul” that Larry Harvey asked a lawyer to draft? Or are there multiple contracts for selling your soul floating around the Burner community?

If anyone has a copy of these contracts, I’d love to read them.

Dear Mommy, Daddy, all my friends and teachers, and especially little sis.

This year’s summer vacation was the best ever.  We went all the way to Venus.  Sev says we ran off and joined the circus, and one of my other friends claims we went to someplace called Nevada, but I’m dead positive that we visited another planet.  I’m sure ’cause the terrain was alien, the people were all different colors, there were huge and frightening creatures, and the name of the place – Black Rock City – doesn’t appear on any map at all.

We worked really hard on our vacation this year.  So hard I’m amazed we all stayed friends through the vacation!  We bought a rocket ship disguised as a bus and got it all gussied up for the trip.  We got ourselves a big old tent and a giant scaffolding to make a tower with and packed ’em up.  We nabbed lotsa couches and carpeting and loaded ’em on the roof rack to decorate with.  And of course, we brought lots of t-shirts and contracts to buy people’s souls with. 

Souls sure are cheap!  We brought back 150 of ’em, each one purchased for a t-shirt, condom, and fortune cookie.  Most of ’em we got pictures of in our book of souls, and all of ’em signed a contract as airtight as we could make it.  Heck, if it weren’t for the dust storm, pretty naked girls, and other distractions, I’m sure we would have filled out all of the 300 contracts we took with us.

Our camp was down on the southern (quiet) side of town, but pretty near in towards the giant MAN that ruled this strange planet.  We were right near our friend Bianca’s smut shack.  Bianca loves us, we loved her from last year, and now some of us who got carried away at Bianca’s are gonna be loved in the movies, or maybe on the web.  At least, we sure can’t think of any other uses for the kinds of pictures they got of us.

…That was okay though, ’cause we had less to carry back!  After they burned the MAN we got all excited and burned half of our furniture, along with our neighbors the giant Pez site.  Kirby and I picked up each 6 foot Pez in turn and charged out into the desert screaming “burning pez!  burning pez!” and threw it onto the massive fire.  Then we brought out Leo’s couch and Ethan’s futon and Nancy’s cage for the prodigal Fluffy and threw them all onto the fire screaming “burning mez!  burning mez!”  Now we have less stuff.

Gosh, timelines sure are hard to keep straight.  ‘Cause all the burning furniture was after the MAN burned, which was after the Temple of Rudra, which was after the Nebulous Entity, which was after the Dust Storm.

The MAN was absolutely the best.  Last year he shot fireworks out of his hands and feet as he burned.  But his year he just exploded in a giant shower of fireworks in every possible direction like a dozen fourth of july’s, shooting sparks and fire all over the people gathered below with their giant vertical flamethrowers and flare guns and flames on chains and even car engines carried on litters by slaves.  I was sure some of them were gonna be goners but I hear everyone lived.  And even after all the fireworks explosions were gone the man was burning bright.  So bright you couldn’t see his outstretched hands or widespread feet at all.  Yes siree, he was one 30-foot ball of glowing white fire for half a minute, maybe longer.  Brighter than the sun, I say.  And after all that there magnesium in his heart burnt out he was burning all aflame, redly and brilliantly, still clinging to life so dearly they had to tug on his lines to bring him crashing to earth.  “The MAN is gonna burn!” they were yelling on the megaphones beforehand, and burn he did!  And then we danced and danced and ran around his funeral pyre till our left sides were red and burnt from his heat and we were pouring sweat into our burns, then off to the Entity and home to burn what we dared of our camp!

…If the temple was a bit staid and stable, the Nebulous Entity was anything but!  We visited the Entity many a time, but it was the special night of Saturday when we got to follow in its glorious wake!  We’d gotten ourselves abducted by the aliens that serve the Entity (and had abducted one ourselves for examination) and came out to find the Entity preparing to move!  Imagine that 20′ tower of fluorescent sea-life, industrial lighting, strange tentacles, and forbidding sounds propelled by all its slaves across the playa!  Well, needless to say we were frightened, but having just been abducted no choice was ours.  We were caught in its thrall and follow we must, and glad we are to this day!  The Entity is not malignant, merely alien.  It is friendly, joyous, mischievous, and totally oblivious to human life.  Those who remain well clear of the path of its might tentacles live to return to it again.  Only those foolish enough to stand in its path as it approaches are trod upon and become fertilizer for the desert biome.

Whew, what a break from the tedious Dust Storm!  We’d been holed up in the rocket ship all day with our friends Fat Man and Little Boy, seeking shelter from the punishing wind and dust that penetrates everything…Goodness, there’s so much more to tell you about but so little time!  We took so many pictures early on yet stopped by Thursday so we could join in the fun around us.  We learned so much about physics and even more about chemistry, from the Tesla Coil and Catapult and Funnelator (where we launched broken doll parts into the desert) and from building our camp and powering our lights and playing with our neurochemicals.

We met so many lovely people, like Brandon and Bonnie who sold us their souls and their son Bean’s soul and Bonnie’s unborn child’s soul.  And our nice neighbors on either side who slept on our futons.  And the pretty girl Sarah at the Fuzzy Dice camp.  And a girl named Angel I beat at a game of hangman and who owes us her soul but never signed a contract (though she did give us water)…

Wow.  Mom, Dad, I wanna go again next year!  Only this time our camp is gonna be bigger and better and closer to center camp.  We’re gonna have even more water (300 gallons was awesome – 3000 would be better!), giant art, personal radios, banners we actually hang up, a taller tower, candles we can keep lit in high wind, more strobe lights and blacklights, a higher-bandwidth process for buying souls, pamphlets on all kinds of topics, and so much more!

Love,
your son, student, friend, and brother,

mez

p.s. – please tell Santa: next year I want a FIRE ENGINE so I can take it to Burning Man!

 

Walking the Talk – New “Democratic” Process for Art Grants

BMOrg are introducing a “democratic” grant process for funding art grants, something the community has long been demanding. They have some funny ideas about participatory democracy, though.
Attendees at the Global Leadership Conference will vote on how to allocate a total of $1500 to art. The conference is invite only, and not open to the public. And artists will need to go through their local RC (Regional Contact…although in Australia RC means something else, more suited to this year’s Medici theme).

“Walk the Talk” Art Grant for GLC 2016

What is this grant?

A democratic grant process aimed at funding innovative community art projects within the Burning Man Global Network.  We are interested in projects that create collaborations, break down the distinction between audience and artist, are directly interactive and/or enhance the public, civic sphere.

Participants in a session at the annual Burning Man Global Leadership Conference will award a total of $1,500 however they wish among any qualified projects. This is meant to both serve as an exercise in structuring and judging a grant opportunity as well as a way to provide a small amount of support and encouragement to worthy projects.

Timeline:

–  Deadline for grant submissions is March 25th. (Midnight U.S. Pacific Time)
–  Judges will review the grants at the 2016 Global Leadership Conference (March 31st- April 3rd)
–  Winner(s) will be announced Sunday afternoon at the GLC.  (April 3rd)

Apply Here 

Who is eligible to apply?

Individuals, Groups, and Not-for-Profits are all eligible to apply.  All projects *must* be endorsed by a local Burning Man Regional Contact.   The RC does not need to be heavily involved with the process, but rather they will serve as a point of communication between the granters and the grantees.

To find out who your Regional Contact might be, see  http://regionals.burningman.org/

How much can I request?

The total amount of grants given will be $1,500. This amount could go to one project or be split among two or more, so it might be helpful to explain what you would do with the full amount as well as how you would use a smaller amount.

[Source: burningman.org]

Here are the conference details. I’m sure if you buy a Leonardo VIP ticket (on sale now for $1200) and kiss a few of the the right rings they’ll let you attend.
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SF, CA March 31 – April 03, 2016

The 10th annual Burning Man Global Leadership Conference (GLC) is an annual conference of Burning Man community leadership that happens each spring in San Francisco. From humble beginnings in 2007, where 70 Regional Contacts joined us at Burning Man HQ, the GLC has since grown to include over 400 participants from around the world.

These highly-energized folks are Burning Man’s global representatives and community leaders, ambassadors of Burning Man culture in their regions who throw any of 65 Regional events in 20 countries. They participate in the GLC to share ideas, best practices and inspiration, and to make the invaluable face-to-face connections that may just lead to the next big thing.

The conference is for organizers and community leaders in the Burning Man Regional Network, and space is limited, so attendance isn’t open to the public

[Source: burningman.org]

Those of us not on the list will be able to participate by reading Tweets from the Chosen Few in attendance to see Larry dressed up as a worm, a guy with a slinky in his beard, and other hilarity. We might get to watch a few select sessions on YouTube.

In other news…
You can buy tickets to the Burnal Equinox – Night of a Thousand Guilds on March 19 at Public Works for $20.

Congratulations to Piper from Distrikt who is thrilled to be the latest member of Burning Man’s Communications team. Is she filling in the clown shoes left by departing Minister for Propaganda Will Chase? We shall see…

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