The Greatest Cultural Movement Of Our Time (Clean Version)

Facebook is censoring this post, and some email subscribers had problems opening it, so this is a re-post with some images removed. Here’s the NSFW original.

A year ago psychedelic luminary Daniel Pinchbeck published a widely discussed article “Why I Am Not Going To Burning Man This Year”. He bashed the event’s destructive waste and hypocrisy about environmental values, and made it OK for some of the cool kids to take a year off:

Burning Man has accomplished amazing things, opening up whole new realms of individual freedom and culture expression. At the same time the festival has become a bit of a victim of its own success. It has become a massive entertainment complex, a bit like Disney World for a contingent made up mostly of the wealthy elite. It always had this vibe, to some extent, but it seems more pronounced in recent years. It feels like there is more and more of less and less. The potential for some kind of authentic liberation or awakening seems increasingly obscure and remote.

Well, Mad Max must have pulled a handbrake turn, because now he’s charging off in the opposite direction: “Why I Consider Burning Man the Greatest Cultural Movement of Our Time”.

The festival expanded my sense of what art was and could be. It rewired my sense of what human beings are capable of. The shock has been permanent—my desire for more of it remains addictive.

Did somebody get to Daniel?

His previous article caused some problems at BMHQ. It triggered Ryan Kushner to petition Burning Man to live up to its “Leave No Trace” ethic. Only 1138 people cared. BMorg responded with a December 2015 post entitled Sustainability: The Next Chapter , which followed their classic propaganda template: 1. blame others, 2. say you’re taking the concerns very seriously, 3. promise something “coming soon”:

The Change.org petition incorrectly claimed that Cooling Man (2007) was the last time an emissions analysis was done for Burning Man…The 2012-2016 Burning Man EA, which considers a BRC population of 58,000-70,000 participants, conducted a thorough analysis of air quality emissions. You can read it here. It’s a public document...an extensive quantitative analysis was deemed unnecessary and not conducted…

There are choices to make about how we burn, and how we get to and from Black Rock City that will determine our future carbon footprint. So what happens now? Black Rock Solar and Burning Man staff are exploring ways we can help our organization and our participants learn about and invest in both decarbonized or carbon-neutral power solutions and meaningful offsets for carbon emissions we cannot reduce.

We look forward to working together with participants on this important issue. Stay tuned for more to come.

[Source]

We’ve stayed tuned the whole year, but BMorg don’t seem to have done much about it. They seem more concerned about determining which gender and race Burners identify with and if they swing, than they are about reducing our environmental footprint. I haven’t heard any plans for a trash incinerator or recycling depot at Flysalen. Black Rock Solar was a noble effort, but seems to have gone very quiet since being re-assimilated into the Borg. They reduced the number of vehicle passes, but doubled their price. Exodus times didn’t get any shorter, the roads didn’t get any better, and there are still piles of trash on highways. BMOrg made a definitive choice about our carbon footprint: to start their own airline, with a goal of larger aircraft landing every 7 minutes full of new tourists passengers.

What happened to cause Daniel Pinchbeck’s about-face? Did self-transforming machine elves put in a good word for the Playa?

Perhaps a couple of Exclusive Da Vinci Tickets [Face Value $1200 each] and a naked dip in the VIP pond at Flysalen were all it took.

[Note: to all the Plug-N-Players enticed to the offsite hotsprings for special treatment – beware paparazzi! Black Rock City has strict camera and intellectual property policies, but Flysalen has nothing of the sort:

They get you naked, take photos, then threaten you if you say something They don’t like. We’re making the world a better place!]

Daniel Pinchbeck tried to launch Burning Man into the commercial art world in 2003.

For a long time, the critical establishment and tastemakers of the mainstream art world in New York and Europe refused to take Burning Man seriously as an art movement. They still tend to scoff at it, dismissing the works created for the event as a kind of folk art. Seeking to bridge this gap in understanding, I wrote a feature for Artforum on Burning Man back in 2003……At the time it was published, my Artforum piece seemingly ruffled some feathers in the art world. I was friends with the magazine’s editor at the time, Tim Griffin. We used to play basketball together on weekends. He was enthusiastic about my article when I wrote it. After it came out, silence. I can only assume that critics, dealers, and collectors had filed complaints; perhaps it wasn’t okay to give Burning Man the credence of a place in the art world’s own monthly bible.

[Source]

As it turns out, he still loves Burning Man…he just needed to find a way to tie it into his latest book:

Last year when I skipped Burning Man, I wrote a controversial piece considering how the event has changed as it keeps growing, becoming ever-more successful and attractive to wealthy influencers and the global jet set. The focus of that piece is also the focus of my forthcoming book, How Soon Is Now?

[Source]

Now, perhaps with another book on the way, Artsy sent him back to re-investigate:

In last year’s piece (or petulant outburst), I wrote: “Burning Man has become another spectacle—another cultural phenomenon, in a sense, a cult—and one that sucks a huge amount of energy and time from people who could re-focus their talents and genius on what we must do to escape ecological collapse (building a resilient or regenerative society)”…

This year…I intend to deepen my exploration of the impact of the event as a global art movement and a transformative cultural force. My deeper curiosity continues to focus on the question of whether Burning Man is part of a shift toward a more compassionate, equitable, generous, and ecologically sane planetary culture—or if it is a last gasp of hedonistic abandon before we wipe ourselves out.

[Source]

His new focus seems remarkably aligned to the Templeton Foundation-funded Transformation study, not to mention Esalen and the Human Potential Movement.


Radicals Self-Expressing?

These days the Burning Man 2.0 narrative is tightly controlled with confidentiality agreements. We really don’t know much about what’s been going on with the year-round organization. Less talk, no action. Why haven’t we heard about the wonderful accomplishments of The Burning Man Project? It’s 3 years and $100 million+ since the transition to a non-profit became official. How are we changing the world after all the tax savings and profit re-distribution? The Project employs 100+ people year round, to produce a crowd-sourced event one week every year with no entertainment, catering, or marketing. The Minister of Propaganda has not been publicly replaced – has anybody heard anything about Maker Faire, BTW? We know that Burners Without Borders gifted $4000 to help 8 projects in the Philippines – a  generous 6 vehicle passes per project.

Check their site and you’ll see that they’re still going on with the White Ocean bollocks, all based on a Facebook claim debunked by the police who said a report was not even filed. Apparently a board member’s camp got trashed too. Shouldn’t they be talking about the guy from Utah with the attempted murder, or the report of a man trying to kidnap a 10 year old boy? We need to keep violent criminals and pedophiles out of our community. Not ravers with international DJs, supermodels and fleets of private jets – they are not the enemy.

The full spectrum media putsch petered out once $6.5 million in donations were raised and a bunch of rich tech dudes bought Flysalen for Them us. We have to rely on flowery talks and speculation from outsiders to glean clues about what They’re we’re doing there. It seems like the plan of no plan.

The style of no style...it worked for this guy. Until he mysteriously dropped dead.

The style of no style…it worked for this guy. Until he mysteriously dropped dead.

It’s gone from A Big Farce to A Big Mystery. Lucky we get the occasional quasi-celebrity counter-cultural guru to tell the media about how Transformational™ Burning Man is.

The spokesperson selected to deliver this pro-Burning Man message 10 days after our Census post is quite interesting. Daniel interviewed Bear Kittay on the streets of New York in 2012 (see Sesame Street Cred). He spoke out against Jan Irvin’s research into the Magic Mushrooms Project and the Grateful Dead in 2013; on Facebook, and on his Reality Sandwich site via Simon Powell. Their argument that “Gordon Wasson did not know he was being duped by the CIA” is hilarious. Good try guys, but we have the documents.

Buckle up, ’cause we’re gonna take a long, strange, shadowy trip.

Let’s talk about this Artsy article first.


Artwork That Celebrates Our High-EST Potential

Mr Pinchbeck was quick to brush off his prior disdain for the event:

Despite some concerns about the future direction of the gathering, I still consider Burning Man the greatest cultural movement of our time. This may seem like a strange thing to say about an event that routinely gets dismissed as a hedonistic, drug-saturated, glorified rave. Wagner talked about the “great United Art-work” as “the instinctive and associate product of the Manhood of the Future.” There was—and still is—something peculiarly futuristic, as well as operatic, about Burning Man. It reveals how permeable human nature is and how quickly people will transform when given the opportunity to be part of something new and better. The total context of an environment where people are liberated from commercial transactions, and given license to share their gifts, express their full individuality, and be inclusive toward others has a transformative impact. It also creates a unique context for artwork that celebrates our highest potential—at the cost, perhaps, of some critical distance and discernment.

 I could see “The Manhood of the Future” being a popular art car in Black Rock City. Artwork that celebrates our highest potential? He’s talking about the same Burning Man, right?

barbie-jesus

 

 


The Mysteries of Burning Man

The Burning Man party line being pushed by Mr Pinchbeck was also the theme of the Beats and the Merry Pranksters, the Happenings and Situations and Be-Ins from be-fore.

The focus of Burning Man art is collective enjoyment, rather than removed aesthetic judgment. But the pedigree of Burning Man art does, however, encompass ’60s Happenings—performed by artists like Allan KaprowJohn Cage, and Carolee SchneemanDadaSurrealism, and Pop Art. It is also informed by the human-potential movement, which is centered in Northern California. Many of the early founders of Burning Man belonged to the San Francisco-based Cacophony Society, which mingled post-punk aesthetics and prankster humor, with a tinge of hipster nihilism. The Bay Area is a haven for experiments with personal identity and sexuality, including transgender identities, queerness, BDSM, and kink. These areas remain a focus for many in the Burner community.

The success of Burning Man reveals a familiar pattern of cultural assimilation. As with Beat poetry in the 1950s or punk rock in the 1970s, what was once the expression of a small group of outsider artists and provocateurs gets integrated into the cultural mainstream. In the end, countercultures tend to prop up and support the commercial society, creating new styles and trends that can be sold to the masses even as they influence the mass consciousness.

In its own way, Burning Man threatens to become something of a countercultural Walt Disney World, albeit one with anti-authoritarian values that inspires people to step into the frame as artists and participants.

Disney again; not exactly an original insight:

As we noted in Shadow History Part 2, Disneyland was a project of the Stanford Research Institute.

It is not clear how “influencing the mass consciousness” occurs at an event limited to 70,000 people for one week in a remote location. It’s not like the 70,000 people all meet each other – Burning Man is cosy microcosms and random convergences, rather than one big stage with a few break-out sessions. The bazaar, not the cathedral.

Like Larry Harvey Darryl van Rhey before him, Daniel Pinchbeck connects Burning Man to the Eleusian mysteries.

Burning Man also represents a cultural edge-space where art, entertainment, and spectacle cross back over toward their original roots in ritual, ceremony, and religion. This is something that is difficult to talk about without inviting ridicule. As a unified artwork or social sculpture defined by a set of 10 principles (“Leave no trace,” “radical inclusion,” “gifting,” “decommodification,” and so on), Burning Man functions in the lives of its regular visitors as a ritual, an annual pilgrimage—a ceremony that celebrates the turning of the year, the recreation and transformation of the self, and the mystery of existence itself. Such events were known throughout the ancient world. Most famously, the Eleusinian Mysteries in Ancient Greece was an annual gathering for all of the luminaries of the Classical World that lasted for 1,500 or more years, only coming to an end in the 4th century A.D. at the behest of Christian Roman emperor Theodosius. Burning Man seems an organic return to these archaic mystery traditions, but in an American grain.

Since when were fossil fuels, LSD and designer chemicals considered organic? By which calendar is the end of August the Turning of the Year?

As for entertainment’s original roots in religion and ritual ceremony: has he not heard of the world’s oldest profession? We had entertainers before we had wizards.

If we are placing Burning Man in an historical ritual and cultural context, then the Wicker Man part of the ceremony needs mentioning. Such events were definitely known throughout the ancient world, Julius Caesar wrote about the Druids in 54 BC. Nicholas Cage starred in a recent movie The Wicker Man, so this is known in modern times too. Is Mr Pinchbeck ignorant of this, despite 15 burns? What are we there for: the lamplighters and Crimson Rose’s fire magick, or burning a giant effigy of The Man? It’s not called “Crimson Dance”.

In considering Burning Man as a cultural movement, we should talk about St Bartholomew’s fair, a festival of a jester that took place in London at the same time of year as Burning Man for more than 700 years. Its mixture of art, activities, debauchery, and a freak show “rhymes with Burning Man” much more than the highly controlled Eleusinian rites, which most people only got to experience once in a lifetime.

For some reason it is always this Ancient Mystery cult that They want to link Burning Man to. Population control with drugs and mysticism by an un-elected ruling group. That’s the important heritage that makes this the greatest cultural movement of our time. Not the ritual burning of a wooden effigy inside a pentagram, or an annual experiment in new forms of civilization.

The recreation of the Rites of Eleusis was a specific goal of the bankster promoter of suggestogens Gordon Wasson, and Warburg banking empire chemist Albert Hofmann. It was also the title of a controversial play put on by arch-Satanist intelligence agent Aleister Crowley in London before World War I.

road-to-eleusis

rites-of-eleusis-crowley

The thinking behind this is covered in more depth in our Shadow History series; basically, the idea of Eleusis was to dose the whole population to make them docile. It worked for more than 2000 years in Ancient Greece.

the Mysteries were intended “to elevate man above the human sphere into the divine and to assure his redemption by making him a god and so conferring immortality upon him

Such cults include the mysteries of Isis

[Source: Wikipedia]

This idea of creating our own gods is preached at the Church of Satan, as well as Burning Man’s leadership conferences:

God made Man in His image. Then Man Google made Pokemons, in the image of Demons. And invited us to merge our brains with Them, while Burning Man offered us contracts to sell Them our souls…ah, transhumanism. Gotta love it. Just see the Terminator! The Singularity’s gonna be swell. All those military robots are out there hunting for the last remnants of humans, who did not connect their brains into the Google Matrix to live forever chasing Pokemons. But I digress…


A Pleasure Based Society

Like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, Daniel Pinchbeck became famous for his hedonistic sexual exploits. At least, that’s how I heard of the guy…

For the last few years, I have been exploring the nature of sexuality, love, and relationships, both personally and philosophically. When I separated from my last partner, I realized that I did not feel that monogamy was working for me as a model. Yet I also knew that I craved long-lasting, deep, and sustainable relationships. Since then, I have sought to reconcile my conflicting yearnings, and wondered if other models of relationships are possible or desirable.

Just as we are undergoing a second stage of the process of shamanic initiation that was curtailed at the end of the 1960s, we have entered a wiser and more integrated phase of the Sexual Revolution that crested thirty-five years ago. A more conscious approach to erotic relationships requires a sympathetic awareness of the differences between men and women, and an acceptance of individual distinctions as well. In the 1950s, the scandalous Kinsey Report on human sexuality revealed the vast variety of human sexual experience, and showed that a huge number of people sought intimate contact outside of the confines of their marital relationships. The opening of sexuality in the 1960s led to deflationary decadence in the disco culture of the 1970s, and a pop cultural ambience of constant stimulation and insatiation that the philosopher Herbert Marcuse called “repressive desublimation.”

[Source: Facebook]

Kinsey was a pedophile disciple of Aleister Crowley…but let’s not get sidetracked.

Before Quetzlcoatl’s 2012 return, Daniel Pinchbeck went on a long Facebook rant about how we are descended from apes (despite no missing link to validate Darwin’s theories) and that means that the women should fuck everyone in the tribe and may the best sperm win:

6_bonobos_whcalvin_img_1341I don’t believe that the system of conscripted monogamy as it exists now will be part of our future condition – some people will naturally choose it or gravitate toward it, but it will not be imposed on us or accepted as the norm. There won’t be any stigma to it, of course, and some people will be so constructed that it is deeply satisfying and good for them – or for many of us to explore during long periods of our lives. In general, when you look at the origin of human sexuality, it seems in all likelihood it was communal, much like we find with the bonobos.

[Source: Facebook]

Everyone screws everyone. Good luck with that, from a social, evolutionary, and public health perspective. Did he come up with this on an acid trip at the Orgy Dome?

screenshot-2016-10-17-20-39-28

This is the Officially Sanctioned Voice of Burning Man, perhaps doing damage control after our Census post. Promoting sexual degeneracy, shamanism, psychedelics, and the 2012 return of an Aztec god does seem to fit right into the Templeton Project’s Transformation Study…YMMV.

Tom Swiss at unreasonable.org warned in 2006: “Daniel Pinchbeck’s Psychedelic Shamanist Apocalyptic Vision”. He sounded the alarm again in 2010, Why Daniel Pinchbeck Needs a Smack Upside His Head,

Daniel Pinchbeck is the guy probably most responsible for kicking off the idea that some great transformation is going to occur in 2012. In his book 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, he claims to have received “transmissions” from the Mayan deity Quetzalcoatl telling him about this momentous event. An excerpt from these transmissions:

The writer of this work [i.e., Pinchbeck] is the vehicle of my arrival — my return — to this realm. He certainly did not expect this to be the case. What began as a quest to understand prophecy has become the fulfillment of prophecy. The vehicle of my arrival has been brought to an awareness of his situation in sometimes painful increments and stages of resistance — and this books follows the evolution of his learning process, as an aid to the reader’s understanding.

The vehicle of my arrival had to learn to follow synchonicities, embrace paradoxes, and solve puzzles. He had to enter into a new way of thinking about time and space and consciousness.

Almost apologetically, the vehicle notes that his birthday fell in June 1966 — 6/66 — “count the number of the Beast: for it is the number of the man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

The Beast prophesied is the “feathered serpent,” Quetzalcoatl. [Pinchbeck, 2012 p. 370]

Because these “revelations” came after many years of heavy experimentation with substances like psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, ayahuasca, iboga, and DPT, [Grigoriadis] Pinchbeck is sometimes described as a modern-day Timothy Leary or Terence McKenna. But from the evidence above, a modern-day Aleister Crowley seems a better comparison — complete with voices “channeled” from “higher powers” which name him as their special agent on Earth, identification with “the Beast”, and a wonderful degree of apophenia.[*]

[Source]

Swiss was a member of Pinchbeck’s Baltimore, MD meetup “spore” for Evolver, the social network built around the Reality Sandwich blog and tied into Burning Man. Social networks aren’t cheap – Rupert Murdoch paid $600 million for Myspace, then sold it for $35 million a few years later. Myspace is now part of TIME Inc monitoring 1 billion users sharing data about their households and devices.

Your average Psychonaut doesn’t have the resources or self-discipline to create social network technology as well as writing books, blogging, giving TED talks and partying all over the world. Perhaps Mr Pinchbeck is a super-blogger with beaucoup bucks behind his hobby; or perhaps he has some sub rosa help with these projects. If there was ever a place for secret agencies funding secret projects, it’s Virginia-Maryland, with the special Permanent Autonomous Zone the District of Columbia in between.

owl-dc-aerial bohemian owl

bohemian-grove-owl-logo

weird_scenes1_465_687_intDaniel Pinchbeck’s Mom is another active public critic of “family values”, likening them to the dreaded “Fifties”. This oppressive time of nuclear families and white picket fences was all shook up by Chuck Berry and “Elvis the Pelvis”. This was reconstructed in the UK as  Mods and Rockers, which morphed into the Beat-les and the Rolling Stones, two weapons of mass cultural debasement launched upon the world in what was openly called The British Invasion. Britain has a long history of ruling its far flung empire through Drug Wars and social engineering, as it showed in both India and China through the privately held British East India Company and its state-sanctioned piracy, slavery, and drug trafficking. If you think this operation shut down with the Sixties, scan the radio and see how long it is before you hear a song from any of these bands. Go to Burning Man and see if you can find anyone on LSD or magic mushrooms. Sex drugs and rock-n-roll – the Crowleyan counter-culture, designed by Satanists to turn others into Satanists – is in full swing.

History repeats. We had the orgiastic decadence of Caligula, leading to Nero fiddling while Rome burned. We had the Weimar Republic, leather and bondage and burlesque and bisexuality and promiscuity. Berlin had opium, amphetamines, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, marijuana, mescaline, peyote…even LSD. The elite members of secret societies and the wealthy set were doing it all. And then we got the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler and the National Socialists, the ghettos and the concentration camps.

This is the model throughout history. They build a civilization up, lurking behind the scenes, pushing the window of tolerance as far as They can. Then the Satanists come out, showing their hand in all their disgusting glory. The world revolts, and it all burns up in flames. Civilization is destroyed; feudalism prevails. Liberty takes centuries to restore. Eat, sleep, rave, repeat.

New Dark Age is the goal of the eugenicists and social engineers. Merge with computers and you no longer need your organic body. We don’t need to take up space on the earth, since it is all just an illusion anyway. The real world is a computer simulation, so you might as well just join virtual reality. You might have noticed this meme being promoted lately, from Billionaire Burner Elon Musk to Stephen Hawking. Last year, both those guys were saying “we should be afraid of artificial intelligence”. Musk likened it to summoning a demon in a pentagram.

Nothing to worry about, it’s all just software. Nothing is real, everything is illusion, even truth. You will hear this message a lot from the Satanists and Social Engineers that are using Burning Man as a tool to transform society in their desired image.

This book is out of print, but luckily the PDF is readily available. An earlier version with 100 extra pages is much rarer.


Burning With The Beats

The Artsy editorial links Burning Man to the occultist Beat Generation and the Great Work of Man, a major concept in Freemasonry.

This is not a casual connection, and nor is Mr Pinchbeck a casual connector. As a young boy in New York, he grew up with Allen Ginsberg and CIA Assassin William S Burroughs dropping by the house. His mother, Joyce Glassman Johnson, was a member of the New York Beat Scene. She had a love affair with Jack Kerouac right when he was becoming famous for On The Road, after being set up on a blind date with him by Ginsberg. She wrote a bestseller about the 2-year relationship:

Pinchbeck has deep personal roots in the New York counterculture of the 1950s and 1960s. His father, Peter Pinchbeck, was an abstract painter, and his mother, the writer Joyce Johnson, was a member of the Beat Generation and dated Jack Kerouac as On the Road hit the bestseller lists in 1957 (chronicled in Johnson’s bestselling book, Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir).[2]

[Source: Wikipedia]

Like Mr Pinchbeck, the Beats were bi-coastal. The West Coast scene was based in the Bay Area, particularly around Bohemian book stores City Lights in North Beach and Kepler’s in Palo Alto. City Lights owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg were frequent guests at Esalen. Ginsberg and Trans-Continental Kool Aid bus driver Neal Cassady became part of the Merry Prankster scene that emerged at Camp Fremont, the military sub-section of Stanford – Perry Avenue, or as it is more commonly known “Perry Lane”. The Beats gave some “street cred” to the mixture of decorated soldiers and defense contractors getting drugs and equipment from the Stanford Research Institute that spawned the Pranksters, The Grateful Dead, and more recently, Burning Man and Google.

Burning Man itself is directly connected to the Beats. City planner the late Rod Garrett was a member, friends with poet Gary Snyder and comedian Lenny Bruce.

In 2010 Daniel Pinchbeck promoted Aldous Huxley at Colorado’s Naropa University, beloved of Ginsberg and the Beats.

screenshot-2016-10-17-12-20-47

Joyce Glassman Pinchbeck Johnson taught at the New School for Social Research – also known as the Frankfurt School. This is ground zero for social engineering, so it’s no wonder that the Social Engineers of BMOrg want Daniel speaking for them, not against them.

Progressive economist Thorsten Verblen was part of the New School. He was also one of the original Bohemians at Perry Lane, known at Stanford as The Naughty Professor. Veblen is one of several characters who  pop up in both the New York scene (centered around Columbia University and Greenwich Village), and the Perry Lane scene (Stanford).

Image: Pinterest

Neal Cassady. Image: Pinterest

A key cross-generational bridge between the Beats and the Pranksters was bus driver Neal Cassady. He was one of Brierly’s boys, as was Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine. Denver educator Justin Brierly helped Judge Benjamin Barr Lindsey burn the personal letters and records of thousands of troubled young children in the 1920’s, officially to keep them out of the hands of the Ku Klux Klan. Lindsey was a “sexual reformer” and promoter of promiscuity, who created the Juvenile Court System then got chased out of Colorado for California. The never-married Brierly took promising (and, coincidentally, handsome) young men under his wing, and recommended them for Ivy League futures. He met Cassady at 15, and later introduced him at Columbia to Allen Ginsberg and William S Burroughs, of the Burroughs Computers family.

coincidence-counter-front-panel

Cassady just showed up in the Perry Lane courtyard one day in a Jeep with a blown transmission. This was enough to make him one of the key members of the Merry Pranksters, driving them all around the country while completely out of his mind on high doses of hallucinogens. He was Dean Moriarty in On The Road (Brierly was Denver D Doll).

brand_905

Another guy popping up in both West and East Coast Beat scenes is the Pentagon’s Stewart Burrows Brand, the Army’s most senior photographer, who we find running around the Acid Tests with a military strobe light. He left Stanford’s ROTC program with a degree in biology and anthropology, and headed to Fort Dix New Jersey to train recruits. He used to hang out in the New York scene on the weekend, visiting Timothy Leary at the Millbrook Castle where CIA director Richard Helms reported every week to international financier Billy Mellon Hitchcock. 19-year old student in comparative religion John Perry Barlow was a regular at Millbrook too, when not seducing co-eds with poetry and a motorbike.

Stewart Brand learned his pioneering innovation of projection and trippy lights from the New York USCO team, who were in cahoots with both the Bauhaus and Frankfurt School Germans relocated before World War 2 broke out. They were connected to the scene around Black Mountain College in North Carolina. The infamous composer John Cage shows up there, and also in the Bay Area as music teacher at Mills College, Stanford’s women-only sister school in the East Bay . He was succeeded there by Phil Lesh, before the latter’s recruitment into the Grateful Dead as a bass player – an instrument he had never played before, but taught himself in an hour.

Brand sees a clear connection between the Beats, the Pranksters, and the Burners:

“Probably the most visible and influential continuation of counterculture is Burning Man. It has all sorts of remarkable qualities, one of which continues the premise of Ken Kesey’s acid tests: put together a bunch of creative people and a minimum of rules, and everybody generates as nifty a party as they possibly can.”

stewart-brand-interview-2

Image: Inhabitat

Err, you forgot the LSD, Stewart. The Kool Aid was spiked. The thousands of hippies at the Trips Festival were not taking actual trips. It’s a metaphor. Surely a guy who can build a clock that runs for tens of thousands of years and is bringing back the Woolly Mammoth is aware that these people were on drugs!!! Brand himself claims to have invented the signature “earth from space” image on the cover of the Whole Earth Catalog while on an acid trip in SF.

Stewart Brand also said:

Burning Manthey have surpassed in every way the various things we were attempting with the Acid Tests and the Trips Festival, Burning Man has realized with such depth and thoroughness and ongoing originality and ability to scale and minimalist rules, but enough rules that you can function, and all the things we were farting around with, Larry Harvey has really pulled off. I don’t think that would have come to pass without going through whatever that spectrum of the ’60s was, the prism of the ’60s, the spectrum of bright colors that we espoused for a while. It all got exacerbated by the Internet and sequence of computer-related booms, but I think it flavored a whole lot of the basic nature of Burning Man. Its Hellenism was replaced by Hellenistic Period, driven out by Alexandria and that was basically better. I think that’s to some extent true in this case.” 

[Source: SFGate]

At the Macy Conferences in New York pioneers of computers and mind control, hypnotists, psychiatrists, and anthropologists got together to design the modern electronic control grid and “painless concentration camp for the mind” that was described in Brave New World (1932) and 1984 (1948)…and the books they plagiarized We (1924) and The Scientific Outlook (1931).

The Frankfurt School and the American Jewish Committee were heavily represented in the Macy Conferences. Members of the core team like OSS black propaganda specialist Gregory Bateson (former husband of Samoan sex hoaxer Margaret Mead) showed up at Stanford as the preparations for the Summer of Love psy-op began.

Eric Trist was a leader of the Tavistock Institute who developed psychiatric profiling tests for the military. In 1961 he spent a year as a Fellow at Stanford’s Center for the Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences (an offshoot of Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study).

"Think, Drink , and Be Merry" was Stanford CASBS's theme the year Eric Trist was there

“Think, Drink , and Be Merry” was Stanford CASBS’s theme the year Eric Trist was there

Dr Eric Trist’s son Alan, who grew up on J P Morgan’s country estate, came straight from the Beat Hotel in Paris to Kepler’s in Palo Alto. He arrived at exactly the right time to drive Jerry Garcia (Army) and Robert Hunter (National Guard, Scientology) to see Animal Farm. Hunter had advised his stepfather on publishing the children’s edition.

They never made it to the movie. Instead Trist helped them put the Grateful Dead together, then gave Daddy anthropological reports on their progress.

alan-trist-would-report-back-to-eric

In the official version of Grateful Dead history, Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter, and Phil Lesh were all hanging out in Palo Alto one day smoking DMT and trying to come up with a name for their band. They had played at the Acid tests as “the Warlocks”, with another band at the opposite side of the room “The Witches”. But the Warlocks was taken.

“It was a grey stormy blowy day in old Palo Alto, and we were hanging out at Phil’s house, smoking DMT, and we had just found out there was another band called the Warlocks so we couldn’t use that name, and we were trying to figure out names and we came out with about a million of ’em and none of them quite got it. We decided to thumb through the Oxford dictionary, so Jerry got up and walked over and spun the dictionary and put his finger in, and it came out Grateful Dead. It’s an ethnological term; it has to do with a guy named Childs who went around and catalogued a lot of folk ballads from northern Ireland and Scotland back before the turn of the century. There was a whole section that he did on what were the Grateful Dead ballads; the Grateful Dead ballads being visitations and stuff like that, generally having to do with people that had died and come back and been kind of glad.” – Bob Weir

The dictionary was Funk & Wagnalls by other accounts. Jerry Garcia told a different tale entirely:

     “Let’s see, the classic story is the one where somebody dies, but there’s some dishonor connected with the death, so they can’t really rest until this matter is settled, and then when it’s settled that puts them in the category of being Grateful Dead. It’s just what it sounds like . . . Grateful Dead.” – Garcia

In May this year, former Special Forces Lieutenant Chalmers Wood, Jr revealed yet another story. His dad Chalmers Wood, Sr ran the Vietnam war for the State Department from 1959-1963. Merry Prankster founder Ken Babbs was over there during this time, he won 5 medals for his service as a chopper pilot before returning to join Uncle Sam’s Acid Tests project.

Wood claims that he designed all the artwork and the spiritual philosophy related to the Grateful Dead, and entrusted it to John Perry Barlow and Bob Weir in 1963. The purpose of this project was to start a “cultural movement” based on sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll – a social engineering operation.

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Thanks to Matt Carney for providing this lead

In 1963, Barlow, Weir and Wood were at the 1100-acre Fountain Valley prep school in Colorado Springs. Aldous Huxley’s son also went there. The symbology and cosmology of the Grateful Dead seems taken from Theosophy, co-ed Freemasonry. So far in dozens of books telling the official history of the Beats, the Pranksters, and the Grateful Dead, the connections to the military-industrial-intelligence complex are ignored or dismissed as irrelevant. Maybe American Messiah will be different.


Cyberspace – a Greater Cultural Movement than Burning Man?

John Perry Barlow, left, on stage with Larry Harvey at Black Rock City

John Perry Barlow, left, on stage with Larry Harvey at Black Rock City

John Perry Barlow is another connection between the New York and Bay Area counter-cultural scenes. According to Grateful Dead biographer Dennis McNally, Barlow was “living in New York, dealing cocaine, and carrying a gun” when he was recruited to write songs for his childhood buddy, Bohemian Grover Bob Weir.

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Source: The Long Strange Trip, by Dennis McNally

Barlow founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation with Burning Man super-lawyer Terry Gross. He is a promoter of LSD, and disclosed some CIA work in “Why Spy?” in Forbes in 2002. In a 2013 interview with cult member Julian Assange from inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, he said “I personally know almost all the top people at the NSA”. Barlow wrote more than 50 songs for the Grateful Dead, which you can find out about at the Grateful Dead lyric and song finder – created by the head of British Intelligence.

barlow-bohemian-grove-tweet

bohemian-grove-alter-after-burn-with-metal-skeleton

Burning the Man at Bohemian Grove – the Cremation of Care

Alex Allan, Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, is one of the world's top experts on the Grateful Dead

Sir Alex Allan, Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, is one of the world’s top experts on the Grateful Dead

Barlow is a devotee of Jesuit thinker Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who described the merging of culture and minds of humans in the electronic domain as the Noosphere.

Daniel Pinchbeck is into the Noosphere too. In fact he’s got a book he can sell you about it:

I believe we are on the cusp of transitioning into a psychic level of species existence, what some have called a “noospheric” (from the Greek word nous, meaning mind) or “supramental” condition. I recently published a book by the late Jose Arguelles, Manifesto for the Noosphere, which explores this idea in depth

[Source: Facebook, March 2012]

wired 1996John Perry Barlow was the first to use the word “cyberspace” (credited to William Gibson in Neuromancer) in its modern sense. In 1997, when Burning Man was being marketed on the front cover of WIRED magazine as “the New American Holiday”, it was bombarded by TV crews. A clip from ABC Nightline in 1997 called it “the physical manifestation of the Internet”.

Larry Harvey picked up on this theme in a 1997 speech at the MacWorld Digital Be-In about “Burning Man and cyberspace”, in which he says the Internet doesn’t have any value.


The Controlled Media

Daniel Pinchbeck is by no means the first to crow about the cultural significance of Burning Man. TIME magazine recently put Burning Man on the front cover – at least, the hardcover special edition “Civilization’s 100 Most Important Sites”. Burning Man is #100.

time-places-of-history

Mr Pinchbeck’s story references Robert Hughes and “The Shock of the New”. Hughes was TIME’s resident art critic for more than three decades.

Events in the recent election have woken millions of people up from the Trance, and exposed the fraudulent nature of the mainstream media as a one-to-many propaganda tool for population control. This has been known for a long time in Shadow History. Operation MOCKINGBIRD was exposed by Carl Bernstein (of the dynamic duo Woodward & Bernstein, All the President’s Men) in 1977, and previously in Ramparts magazine in 1967. Intelligence infiltrated media, academia and modern art.

By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc.
– Carl Bernstein The CIA and the Media
Rolling Stone cover story 1977

rs-101258-1977_bernstein

The founders and senior managers of TIME and Life magazine were mostly members of the Skull and Bones and Century Club secret societies. Miles Mathis has exposed Ramparts as a likely front. Why would Intelligence agencies rat themselves out? It is a psyop technique known as “Limited Hangout”, where a large amount of truth is mixed in with a few details that they want to remain fuzzy, in order to control the narrative.

CIA-the-mighty-Wurlitzer

cultural-cold-war

mighty-wurlitzer

This information has been out in the public since 1967. It has never been debunked, there is no need since it is all true. The CIA’s involvement in culture creation is so well known that there is now an entire podcast series about it – check out Tom Secker’s Spy Culture. He uses FOIA requests to document things like why George Clooney makes so many CIA-related movies. He has proved CIA involvement in vital National Security-related shows like Cupcake Wars, Master Chef, the Golf Channel, and American Idol.

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The Man and the Counter Culture

The Macy Conferences led to MKULTRA in all of its various forms, such as Subproject 58 in which JP Morgan’s VP of Propaganda “discovered” magic mushrooms one day on a CIA-funded expedition to Mexico.

The Merry Pranksters got in their Day-Glo bus and drove around the country, LSD mysteriously following them wherever they went. Luckily hotshot writer Tom Wolfe was there to document everything in The Electric Kool Aid acid test. Kesey’s book became a bestseller, Wolfe’s book became a bestseller…Actually, almost every person on the bus wrote a book – quite remarkable for a drugged out entertainment group, less so when you look at their education and military backgrounds. The publishing world saw to it that this message got out.

After LSD was made illegal, the Merry Pranksters threw the “acid test graduation party”

The MKULTRA program was officially shut down in 1973, but in reality just continued under other names. Never trust a Prankster! LSD was made illegal in 1966, which led to manufacturing being set up in the Bay Area under Bear Owsley, Nick Sand and Tim Scully – all under the tutelage of Bohemian Grove saxophonist-chemist, Burner Sasha Shulgin. The distribution of acid was controlled via various cultural “scenes”. Three of the biggest distribution networks were Timothy Leary’s Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the aptly named Hell’s Angels and the Grateful Dead.

From the FBI Vault

Source: FBI Vault

Banning acid – something CIA agent Timothy Leary advocated in the 1966 Senate Narcotics Hearings – certainly did nothing to stop its production. It just made it easier for the guys at the top to control the distribution of their technology.

After becoming illegal in 6/66, LSD was then studied by the CIA, DARPA, the Navy, the Army Chemical Warfare division, the Stanford Research Institute, the Church of Scientology, big pharma, and 44 Universities – just to name a few. Nobody thought to inform the government that illegal activity was going on in the many research projects they were funding.

Operation Midnight Climax was active in Greenwich Village as well as San Francisco. Beautiful prostitutes would meet men in bars, bring them back to their specially equipped fancy pads nearby, and dose them with LSD before having their way with them. Video cameras behind 2-way mirrors would record the action. Maybe this was for acid tests deemed too juicy for the “Free Love” students of the Sixties; more likely, CIA agent George Hunter White was gathering HUMINT for blackmail purposes. Whatever the (still classified) purpose of these XXX Acid Tests, follow the money: the Federal Government was paying for drugs and hookers.

CIA Director Richard Helms destroyed most of the MKULTRA documents when the project was exposed. Some survived and are in the public domain thanks to FOIA requests.


Conclusion

Daniel Pinchbeck is right that there are a lot of connections between New York, San Francisco, Burning Man, the Beats, the Merry Pranksters, the Great Work, and the Ancient Mysteries.

It seems now the Burning Man machine is to be aimed at the art world. It’s not fine art, it’s not street art, it’s not modern art.

Is this art?

Image: SFist, Big Imagination (Facebook)

Image: SFist, Big Imagination (Facebook)

It’s certainly a form of movement!

Are the Regionals still Burning Man if they don’t have this sort of thing? If the art makes Burning Man the Greatest Cultural Movement Of Our Time, then what sort of cultural movement is there without the art?

Burning Man art cars roam the streets of Art Basel Miami, and many jet-setting Burners attend both events. But it’s not easy to buy the art you see at Burning Man, and I have yet to hear of any profits being made from re-sale. BMorg wants their cut. The artists behind the La Contessa pirate ship art car valued it at more than $1 million. They lost their lawsuit against the landowner who burned it down on his ranch; the judge agreed with him that it was abandoned junk.

So: is Burning Man “the greatest cultural movement of our time”?

I’m not sold. The global rave scene is a much larger and more powerful movement than Burners. The parties are bigger, there are more of them, the music is everywhere. Electronic Dance Music has changed the world much more since 1986 than Burning Man. So has the Internet. Molly and LSD have changed the world – including the art world – much more than Burning Man has. Where did they come from? Where does it all come from now? Why is all this going on at the largest event on Federal Land?

Founded On Fire Magick

Fest300 has just published a lengthy interview with Burning Man Founder Crimson Rose. Are they the new Voices of Burning Man?

The article is very interesting and I encourage you to read it in its entirety at Fest300. I want to highlight in particular the occult and marketing aspects of this. The emphasis is ours:

Every year, hundreds of accomplished fire performers throughout the world wipe sweat from their brows, cross their fingers and submit an audition reel for the experience of a lifetime. If accepted, these “conclaves” are granted exclusive access to the Holy of Holies at the godfather of transformational festivals: the Great Circle at Burning Man . They’ll be among the select few taking part in a ritualized fire dance as a gift to all the fest’s participants, and as tribute to the epic burning of “the Man.”

Out of all the myriad forms of artistic expression found at festivals today, many are grandiose achievements by incredible men. But the hearty warmth, nurturing, and acceptance that pervade these places are divinely feminine. Perhaps the archetype who best captures this quality is Crimson Rose , the fire performance community’s celebrated heroine and a founding board member at Burning Man.

Often hailed as “the godmother of fire arts” (she was the first-ever fire dancer on the playa), Crimson reviews conclave auditions with a panel of legends to select the crème de la crème for the ceremony. Year after year, fire performers strive just to be a part of her continued legacy by pouring their souls into their Burning Man performances so the tradition is passed with grace on to the next generation.

To learn more about this sacred art, we caught up with Crimson Rose, who graciously took some time with us to talk about the origins of fire performance, the history of fire dance at Burning Man and the future of man’s first invention in the festival community.

Before joining the Burning Man community in her current role, Crimson was a fine art model and dancer for 27 years. In the 80s, a good friend passed along the art of fire dancing. Coming from a background in theater and dance she took to it quickly and fostered an intimate relationship with flames.

And when they say “intimate relationship” in this puff piece glowing tribute, they’re not kidding:

“…to me, that was really the journey of magic that I discovered not only within myself, but in fire dance itself.”

In those days, everybody danced but nobody danced with fire. What Burners now enjoy out on the esplanade is an evolution of many ancient dancing-based traditions – which only became more tribal once flames were introduced. “I don’t do poi and I don’t do staff,” she said. “My dancing is really handling torches and a bowl of fire, dipping them into the fire and laying that on my body.

Sometimes called fleshing, this technique has been passed down through tribal civilizations for generations. It’s sensual and intimate, and sparks a very special rapport with fire, both for the viewer and the performer.

Righty-ho. Nothing too occult about that is there, worshipping fire so intimately that you want it laying on your body, “sensually”. Perfectly normal behavior, everyone does it, Marge Simpson‘ll be into next.

When we asked about her first-ever dance, she said, “I discovered things about myself because I felt like the fire was a sort of essence of all life. Although, it really is more a phenomena in some sense because there’s a magic to it…That magic, for a lot of fire performers, is the hottest part of the flame…“It was also as if the fire was sort of leading me on its own journey. Sort of provoking me to bring it to life.””

Burning Man Darren Keith Processional

In this photo by Darren Keith, note the Devil Horns on all the keepers of the sacred flame, who stride like giants above us in their Procession to The Man

Without question, this person believes that this is a magick ritual she is performing, in the much larger magick ritual of Burning Man. She was recruited into the Organization Project in 1990 – 7 years before Harry Potter came out – specifically to perform this magickal role.

The Man looked a little different back in 1986

The Man looked a little different back in the early days

We asked how she got involved with this desert social experiment in the first place. She thought for a bit, and took us back to a time before that first dance, to an email and a phone call with the man often accredited with launching Burning Man, Larry Harvey himself. “In 1990, I had a conversation with Larry Harvey and he talked about a thing they were doing. He had sent me a video of what they did the year before. It was really dark. It was a lot of fire and I couldn’t figure out what the hell they were doing.”

…she said to herself sarcastically. “I’m gonna be really cool because I don’t know what the hell these people are doing. They started pulling and a man raised up, and something clicked in me.” Crimson explained. “I didn’t know what it was. But I knew that I had to go to the desert.” Footage from the prior year continued to beckon her to visit. Seeing a man in the film breath the fire that ignited the effigy was enough to inspire the trip.

Igniting the effigy, from the magickal cauldron called El Diabla. Inside the pentagram and the 0.666% circle.

“I always felt like I was sort of a freak. You know, that I never fit in. Not with my family. Not with the school. And all of a sudden I felt like I was among my family in the desert.”

Yep, that’s the marketing pitch. Play to the social element, give the reason why all the freaks should buy tickets to this transformational festival. They don’t have to look beautiful and glamorous and cool like the people at other festivals. But maybe once they spend $400 and brainwash themselves at the self-service cult, they will walk away feeling Burnier-Than-Those People.

Back to the occult bits:

At the center of her magnetic attraction this new subculture was this effigy, over which Crimson grew protective. In one of her first encounters with it, “one of the very first things I did is I had these 16-foot-wide silk wings that I wore as I climbed the Man.” People were astonished to look up and see what looked like a fairy climbing to the top of the figure’s shoulder. “I felt like that at that point, I was the protector for the Man. If the man was going to be released we had to do it in the best way that we could, so that year I got a chance to actually help set him on fire.” For the first time, the magic of dance kicked off the legendary ceremony.

Dance, magic dance.

We must all worship the fire. Like Druids.

Despite an urge to push the envelope every year, rules now exist with a sort of informal reverence for the Great Circle. The fire is hallowed and respected

…Fire dancing at Burning Man spawned greater mysticism and creative energy, along with an appreciation for the accompanying rituals and traditions from which fire dancing came.

The flame that Burns the man is lit in a magickal cauldron named El Diabla. Image: Dust to Ashes/Flickr

The flame that Burns the man is lit in a magickal cauldron named El Diabla. Image: Dust to Ashes/Flickr

Image: Blip.TV documentary on Helco

Image: Blip.TV documentary on Helco

“Spawning greater mysticism” is presented here as a positive. Is this black magick, or white magick? It happens at night in a pentagram with people wearing devil horns and a fire lit from a cauldron named El Diabla; the corporation they started around it chose to launch with Helco parties where they got a lawyer to draw up contracts for people to sell their souls to the Devil. It seems pretty obvious to me which side we’re talking about, but your mileage may vary.

The suggestion that Crimson Rose invented incorporating  fire dancing in sacred rituals at Burning Man in 1991 is ridiculous, as anyone who has been to a South Pacific island could tell you.  

Back to the sales pitch:

One of the great joys of Burning Man is that it provides a space for us to go and learn about one another and ourselves through such rituals. Those who travel to the playa often report feeling more distant from what is familiar. Many, like Crimson Rose, find deeper connection. This will be her 24th Burn on the playa, and she told me, “Every time I go I feel I’m coming back to a place I’ve always been. You know, it sort of reminds me of home.” [Source: Fest300]

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Image: Geek Times

Even in the sales pitch there are quite strong occult and psychological elements.

I’m not sure how things could be made more clear to you, people. This is one of the Founders of Burning Man laying out for you specifically what goes on, what she was recruited into the organization to add to their Project.

An occult black magick ritual ceremony of fire dance. It’s more than just a rave in the desert…


 

We have published quite a few articles on the spiritual and occult side of Burning Man in the past. We have a lot of new readers now who probably have never seen some of our earlier work, I would encourage you to check these out: and think for yourself.

2014:

 The Magickal Symbols Are Displayed, The Occult Ritual Can Commence

Brainwashing: the New Billionaire Obsession

Creating God in the Digital Age

Satanists With Guns

2013:

Magic On A Grand Scale

2012:

Seeking Divine Truth at Burning Man

Finding Jesus at Burning Man – a Christian perspective

“Theater in a Crowded Fire” – Spirituality, Burning Man, and the Apocalypse – Neo-Paganism

Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow – Paganism, Wicca, Druids, Lucifer

Ghost Trancing on Sacred Lands – Native American

Burner Principles vs the 10 Native American Commandments – Native American

Burner Fundamentalism – Burning Man’s own religion

Looking for the Next Evolutionary Step – Buddhism and consciousness

 

 

The Magickal Symbols Have Been Displayed. The Occult Ritual Can Commence [Update]

photo: Eric Zumstein/Flickr

photo: Eric Zumstein/Flickr

Embrace went up yesterday in a ceremony rich with transhumanist symbolism. Humanity got to witness fire start in their eyes, explode into their brains, then blow a hole through the top of their heads before the two figures – man, woman, trans, whatever Alpha and Omega symbolized to you – were gone completely in about 20 minutes. More than a quarter of a million dollars, 170,000 lbs of timber, just incinerated. Sacrificed, in the name of Big Art.

Today’s a new day. The big one. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 8, with a ritual procession. Then, at 8:45 Fire Conclave will present a spellbinding performance of twirling fire, hot dancers, and thumping primal drums. At 9:15, the Man burns.

The video feed this year is being brought to us in mobile HD by the Desert Wizards of Mars. Yes, really.

2013 final web

The whole concept of Burning Man is modelled on Ancient Babylonian Magick called the Rites of Eleusis. Using a combination of magic mushrooms and LSD, which was synthesized from a bread fungus, the wealthy elites of olden times were able to control the entire population of their cities. This stuff has worked for thousands of years, and Burning Man is the latest and greatest incantation and incarnation of it.

Don’t believe me? Read below for some of Larry Harvey’s writing about all of this.

From CEO Maid Marian’s public profile:

Her first love and escape from work is her two sweet-tempered kitties, and her second is her level 80 fire-specced Blood Elf Mage.

Familiars and avatars. Fire and blood are the elements of her Mage.

The producer of this bewitching event loves cats. Her art car is a cat.

marian cat-car

This Skull and Bones tree has been on display all week in front of First Camp:

bone tree burning manIt spends the rest of the year at their work ranch, next to a giant occult mask.

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Here the Magickal Symbols are today, all wheeled out and symbolically presented for the world on the HD UStream feed. This is what we get to see before darkness falls and the warm-up starts.

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The Familiar (L, art car), the Witching Tree (C, white sculpture), and the Magic Wand (R, Control Tower)

 

The camera pulls back just wide enough to get all 3 symbols in. The Control Tower to the right, much loved last year, has been all gussied up this year. People are climbing in it and looking out from the platform at the top. It looks like a Shake Weight with a rapier stuck on the end, but it also looks like a magic wand.

The symbols have been displayed, the ritual can commence, the ceremonies can begin.

Remember, good people. Harmony is stronger. Black magic thrives on chaos, it loves to breed discord and mistrust. White magic is unity, truth, love. Connection to source, Universal Infinite Love is our power. We don’t need no magic ritual connection to artificially intelligent False Idols in a re-creation of ancient rites of death, rebirth, and control.

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The Cremation of the Crop

 

“By the power of your fellowship…Dull Care is SLAIN!” – from the Bohemian Grove Cremation of Care ceremonial effigy burn. The crowd cheers “Murder! Murder! Bring fire!”

 

In the Year 2000, Internet counter-culture personality Alex Jones, who broadcasts his show Infowars.com with the tag line “if you are receiving this transmission, you ARE the resistance” – crashed Bohemian Grove. After doing some on-site reconnaissance, he decided to just walk through the gates and bluff his way past any security. In conjunction with UK filmmaker Jon Ronson, he got some never before seen footage of the Bohemian Grove’s Cremation of Care ceremony.

His associate was quite disturbed after the experience. “When you’re in the patriot movement, you hear rumors about stuff like this going around. You don’t know whether it is true, well it is. I saw it.”

Jones broke it down in his usual succinct manner: “you’ve got death on this black boat bringing a pallet with a papier mache person, they take it over and they burn it for some idol, some Owl god, it looks more like a demon, it’s got horns up there and they just call it an Owl… We’re not supposed to worship Jesus or anything…it’s worship the Owl God”.

Robed lamplighters conduct a ceremony, leading up to the lighting of the effigy. It is the high point of the Bohemian Grove’s midsummer encampment, occuring half way between its “Low Jinks” opening and “Hi Jinks” afterparty. Jinx is a word from witchcraft, a jinx is a spell. To “jinx” something is normally interpreted to mean to put a curse on it that will make it radiate bad luck. A fundamental principle of magic that is agreed upon by both sides, light and dark, is karma – if you curse something, you curse yourself. That is why white magicians say prayers and cast positive spells – the only consequence of their goodwill is more luck and happiness and goodwill in their own lives. White magic leans more toward the acquisition of wisdom and a general feeling of faith and trust in the universe. The Black form is concerned more with the acquisition of power and is reflective of a basic faith in oneself. Black magicians revel in pain, and torment, and suffering. In evil. That is why their occult rituals always happen in secret, and why they organize themselves in secret societies, often quite literally under ground in caves.

Everything is permitted, and nothing is true, said the Magicians of Chaos.

The lamplighters are commanded, “Bring fire! “

 The Owl Moloch responds, in a voice recorded for the event by famous broadcaster Walter Cronkite:

BohemianGrove5 buddha

I prefer Buddha to Molech. The Grove has both

 Fools! Fools! Fools!

When will ye learn..

That me ye cannot slay?

Year after year ye burn me in this Grove

Lifting your puny shouts of triumph to the stars

But when again ye turn your faces to the marketplace

Do ye not find me waiting as of old?

Fools. Fools. Fools to dream ye conquer Care 

Year after year within this happy grove. Our fellowshiop bans thee for a space,. So shall we burn thee once again this night,

And with the flames that eat thine effigy, we shall read the sign

Midsummer sets us free!

Ye shall burn me once again? Laughter

Not with these flames

Begone dull care. Fire shall have its will of thee!

Once again, mid summer sets us free!

 

Midsummer is the ancient Druidic term for the Summer Solstice, the same Pagan and astrological event that Burning Man was started to celebrate.

The use of wording is interesting. “Fellowship” has Masonic overtones, and brings to mind Lord of the Rings, a book most certainly based on knowledge of the inner workings of The Man, the secret society networks of the Round Table groups. Larry Harvey’s father was a Freemason, and his brother was in their DeMolay youth lodge.

“Ban” means to cast out, to forbid; but there is another sense of the word. “bann”, like Banner, is a flag that would be used on the battlefield by Celtic soldiers of the Robert the Bruce Braveheart type.

“The banns” is a term for a proclamation of an alliance, a partnership such as marriage. It is seen as a celebration in Pagan culture.

a notice read out on three successive Sundays in a parish church, announcing an intended marriage and giving the opportunity for objections

“Care”, the effigy of Molech, their god of wisdom and blood sacrifice, calls out three times that they are FOOLS. No-one objects. This is the bann, between the Grovers and The Man. Their effigy, their giant statute.

So “our fellowship banns thee for a space” is saying “our fraternity is proclaiming our partnership with you for this event, we will be joined together in this celebration”. When they burn Care, they are becoming one with it.

When you burn The Man, you don’t become one with it, anymore than burning an Owl at Bohemian Grove removes care from the world – or from these participants. It’s an excuse for a party, but it’s also a mass ceremonial ritual, symbolizing The Man as being between the people suffering physically in the dust, and The Gods, towering above them with the power of shock and awe. We look up to it on a pedestal, with a fire so hot capturing all our energies, that if we get too close to it we could burn. The power to kill, and we are powerless against that. The only thing we can do is respect its power, and be humbled by how great The Man is. Before everyone goes back to their lives, working for The Man. Obeying all the rules of The Man.

Why can they burn Care at the Grove? Because they are the owners of The Man. The ones building the hives to control us like to go to Burning Man. Bohemian Grove is for the owners of the hives like Google and Facebook and Apple that we’re all glued into – and the ancient bloodline families that own them. Many Grovers also attend Burning Man, and have from very early on in the event’s history.

satan man 1986 baker beach

The first Burning Man effigy on Baker Beach, 1986. Note the horns and the flared hips, giving it the appearance of Cernunnos, Baphomet, or Pan.

The conceptual structure of the Burning Man is ritual. Rather than “Dull Care”, their idol is called “The Man”. When they burn the Man at Burning Man, they are celebrating their freedom and independence. Free to be who they want to be and do what they want, without the expectations and pressures and responsibilities of “The Default World”. In fact, The Man is reprogramming their minds with lessons and impressions that it wants them to return to the Default World with, and spread out to those around them.

At Bohemian Grove, when they burn Care, the captains of industry and government and academia and the arts, the Generals of The Man, can forget about their responsibilities and just party for a bit. This occult ritual goes back to the Cult of Dionysus, also known as Bacchus. The Dionysian mysteries combined ritual, costume, repetition of phrases, rhythmic beats and music, smoke, lighting effects, fire, intoxication, hallucination. The whole society were expected to participate in the Mysteries at some point, even slaves. Over time, as religious oppression pushed the so-called “Pagan” religions underground into secret societies, the selection of candidates to indoctrinate became more strategic. Over time, the ancient orders became more exclusive and powerful. Their focus on being male-only removed them from the need to deal with issues of primogeniture – hereditary title. A Man would be chosen based on the judgement of other men. The Society would hold the wealth and continue the man’s power after he died, because by replacing a Man’s place within the secret society, replacing his larger position in the outside world became a fait accompli.

At Burning Man, when they burn The Man, the elements are all the same as Bohemian Grove, because they are the same as the Dionysian Mysteries. Fire and darkness. Lamplighters, costumes, masks, symbols, robes, ritual. Rhythms, dancing, lights, drugs…an entrancing and intoxicating spectacle. The feeling of being part of something exclusive and special, not available to “regular” people in the outside world. At Bohemian Grove, The Man gets to burn Care, then party without it; at Burning Man, We The Burners get to burn The Man: for one night, anyway.

There is only one remotely similar event to Bohemian Grove and Burning Man in the US, the Pagan ritual burn called Zozobra. It started shortly after Bohemian Grove. The idol they burn is called Anxiety rather than Care. Almost all the other pagan effigy burns in the country are related to Burning Man as regional events, or spun out from Burning Man’s networks. It is only Burning Man and Bohemian Grove that share so closely the concepts of theme camps, alternate names, a ban on commerce, emphasis on theater and lectures, ritualizing of the effigy burn, and extreme decadence.

Both events were modeled on, and inspired by, the Rites of Eleusis. Gordon Wasson was Vice President of Public Relations for JP Morgan. In the official story, he “discovered” magic mushrooms, and got them on the cover of Life magazine through a chance meeting at the Century Club, the East coast version of Bohemian Grove. In the less widely publicized version, which comes with FOIA-requests and other evidence, Wasson’s expeditions were financed by the CIA’s MKULTRA program. Wasson wrote a book with Albert Hoffman, the “inventor” of LSD, called The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries.

Thomas Hardy wrote in The Cutting Edge Magazine:

“Burning Man offers a no-holds-barred “Woodstock” style festival where neo-pagans, wiccans, transvestite entertainers, curiosity seekers, and old hippies can go to trance, perform rituals, burn sacrifices to deities, fornicate, and otherwise ‘express’ themselves freely.”

Brian Doherty is a historian who has studied Burning Man for a long time, and wrote a book on it, “This is Burning Man”. Writing in Reason magazine in 2000, he said:


outhtere in here
To many long-time attendees, the festival has turned away from its promise as what underground social theorist Hakim Bey calls a “temporary autonomous zone”-a place where a chosen few could create a new, free social order outside the purview of dominant authority… The agencies that sign off on Burning Man’s permits have come to see the festival more as an opportunity than as a problem and have thus forged a relatively easygoing relationship with the openly danger- and drug-filled event.

To Harvey, Burning Man is more than just a party. But he’s vague about exactly what it represents. Harvey talks a lot about the meaning of the event – the word sacred comes up often-and he once wrote an article in the neo-mystic magazine Gnosis in which he compared Burning Man to Rome’s ancient mystery religions. But it’s hard to be sure what he wants to come out of the event. In fact, he’s proud that the event’s central symbol-the Man-is enigmatic. “We never say what the Man means,” he points out. “He’s just there to provide a unified focus for the community. It could become a wonderfully coercive tool politically-like, ‘The Man doesn’t like that, the Man says …… We could make The Man The Man, right? But he stands beyond the social circle, like a god or the prospect of war, something that unifies everyone.”

The mystery religions are linked to the Cult of Dionysus, and can be traced back to the even more ancient rituals of Mithras. Bacchanalian revelry outdoors is a big part of it.

The path of paganism goes back to the same theology that the ruling elites have been following, worshipping, in secret rituals for centuries.  “Man is God” is the occult belief behind the New Age movement, Paganism, Luciferianism and Satanism. The Church of Satan was founded in San Francisco, next to the Presidio Military Base – just like Burning Man. Satanists do not worship the Devil as a separate being that gives them orders. Rather, They themselves are the God. Satanism is the true essence of the Mystery Religion, the religion of no religion. There’s nothing at its core, just an Abyss. An empty void of nothingness, in which nothing is real and everything is one.  Similarly, Pagans and Burners do not directly worship the devil as their Lord and savior. “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing us he doesn’t exist”, says Kaiser Soze in the movie The Usual Suspects. That is the Devil’s goal, to make man believe that neither god nor the devil exist. The core belief of the New Age, that you will find to be widely held at Burning Man, is Self is God. The belief that Man is God transforms people into a vehicle by which They can drive humans into perpetual conflict under the guise of “saving the world”.

In 2014 Burning Man published a “book club” cultural discussion series on their official blog. The entire basis of the series was “The Death of God”.

If Burning Man is more than just a party, like Larry says, then what is it exactly? What experiments are going on, socially and spiritually, within this pentagon-shaped petri dish?

In the summer of 1995, as the tenth effigy burn was approaching, Larry Harvey reflected on the rituals in the magazine Gnosis. He published the story under the name of Darrel van Rhey, but later admitted on his own web site that he wrote the article. In the past Burning Man have always denied having any awareness of the movie “The Wicker Man”, but that is not the same as denying any awareness of Druids and their rituals. This article clearly exposes that not only were the founders aware of the occult, it is a fundamental element in this fire magic event which takes place inside a Pentagon, with a .666% circle touching the edges of the pentagram within it.

Although Darryl van Rhey is beleived to be a pseudonym for Larry Harvey, he interviewed Darryl in 1999 and 2000 – according to official Burning Man blog. He was photographed with him in 2004  – again, according to Burning Man, since this photo is from Danger Ranger’s Flickr. In 1995, he wrote in Gnosis magazine. If this didn’t come straight from Harvey himself using DVR as a pseudonym, then it was certainly straight from the horse’s mouth to Darryl’s pen. Rearrange the letters of “Darryl Van Rhey” and you get “ND Larry Harvey” (ND presumably stands for nom de’plume). In his 2000 Reason article, Doherty attributes Larry Harvey as the author. Erik Davis also attributes the article to Harvey.

Larry Harvey himself, writing on his own web site, claimed he was the author of the story – obviously oblivious to the other articles there where he had therefore interviewed himself:

We concentrated on the desert, instead. We no longer needed to publicize ourselves in San Francisco and could now rely on ticket revenue from the Burning Man event. The title of our performance that year was Mysterium. It was subtitled The Secret Rites of Burning Man. This was accompanied by a memorable motto: “Let’s put the cult back into culture!” It focused on the idea of fertility…I had been reading literature about the many Mystery religions of the ancient Greco-Roman world. The participatory character of these ancient religious movements intrigued me. Earlier in the year, I’d written an article for Gnosis, a San Francisco-based magazine.

The Revelation of the Method serves to make the magic more powerful. The true meaning of the event has been deliberately obscured from those who willingly participate in its rituals – which is the way of the dark wizard. Harvey tells us that this amibguity is not by accident, but rather has been very carefully calculated. A smoke screen, smoke and mirrors. A glamor.

 


 

In the following story from Gnosis Magazine 20 years ago, the emphasis is our commentary. The article is presented in its entirety, so that no-one can claim the author is being quoted out of context. On the contrary, Mr Harvey references this piece in his own writings on his company web site.

 

The Burning Man: A Modern Mystery

by Darryl van Rhey [aka Larry Harvey]

Gnosis Magazine Summer 1995

On Labor Day weekend in early September, thousands of people will converge in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Somewhere near the center of this awesome space – reputedly the largest flat expanse of land in North America – they will erect a giant effigy. The Burning Man, as it is called, will tower over a spontaneous community, a miniature civilization complete with clubs and cabarets, several radio stations, and a daily newspaper, The Black Rock Gazette. The masthead motto of this journal sets the tone of the ensuing weekend. “Welcome to Nowhere”, it reads, “Its name is whatever you name it. Its wealth is whatever you bring it. Next week it will be gone, but next week might as well be never. You are here now”.

Throughout the festival that follows, people indulge their whims and creative impulses. However they choose to express themselves – through costumes, dance, sculpture, or the construction of elaborate theme camps – they are encouraged to do so in an environment where distinctions like “professional” and “amateur” or “audience” and “spectator” soon become meaningless. By day the campground is a colorful community of tents and fantastic shelters with flags and banners flying in the wind. By night it is transformed into a dreamscape as artists craft light, sound, neon, and the primal element of fire into luminous spectacles.

On the final evening of the festival, participants join in a grand promenade. Dancers bearing torches lead them to the Burning Man along a pathway flanked by monumental spires. Clamor, cries, and high pitched ululations are succeeded by a hush as the four-story figure is ignited. Then a wild pandemonium ensues as lapping flames engulf the torso in a solid sheath of fire. Mounting upward, they ignite a fuse: fountains of fireworks spew out of the giant’s head. Most animate now, at the moment of his demise, he soon shudders, and the three-quarter ton figure comes crashing to the ground.

Organizers shroud the meaning of this celebration in a cloud of calculated ambiguity.

Pressed to explain their intentions, they cite a simple doctrine. “The Project never interferes with anyone’s immediate experience”. Participants are urged to create their own interpretations.

The weekend might be described as an avant-garde art festival, a ritual enactment of creation and destruction, or an exotic free-wheeling party.

Yet, to the student of religion, these rites suggest a time, a place, and a social setting that has precedents in ancient history.

Throughout the classic period of Western civilization, there existed a diverse spiritual movement that is known as mystery religion. The mystery cults, as they were called, arose within a new world order. The conquests of Alexander and the subsequent spread of Roman rule throughout the Mediterranean world had greatly expanded the scope of classical civilization. Stretching from the shores of the Atlantic to the Caspioan Sea, it occupied a vast cosmopolitan domain, teeming with commerce and hosting the ideas of many cultures . Immense allocations of men and monies had displaced entire populations. The citizenry of the empire, uprooted and heterogeneous, now congregated in large urban centers. Within this sophisticated and self-conscious milieu, huge societal gaps separated rich from poor and urban from rural populations, and intense economic specialization further divided the classes. It was a world, in other worlds, remarkably like our own.

Arising from this complex milieu, the mysteries derived from diverse sources. Traditions drawn from many cultures flowed like tributary streams into the great Mediterranean basin, bringing with them the worship of Isis and Osiris of Egypt, Mithra of Persia, and the Anatolian Great Mother. Yet the mystery cults had much in common. All were grafted onto the stock of agrarian fertility festivals – relics of a prehistoric past – yet were essentially urban in character. They typically employed theatrical parades and pageants to attract a pool of individuals who might share little else in common, and they were organized as lodges. Membership within a cult implied broad equality with fellow mystai or initiates.

Ceremonies often took the form of pilgrimages. Participants removed themselves to sacred sites. Mystai sang and danced to flutes and cymbals, others wore masks and sported strange attire. Such celebrations might take many days, and while they lasted, class distinctions were dissolved. “Persons who are being initiated into the mysteries throng together at the outset amid tumult and shouting”, wrote Plutarch of the Eleusinian mysteries celebrated near Athens, “but when the holy rites are being disclosed and performed, the people are immediately attentive in awe and silence.

Such initiations were performed by firelight at night in enactment of a central myth of death and rebirth. They were often highly theatrical performances, and, unlike the tribal traditions from which they sprang, placed a unique emphasis on personal choice.

Many people probably attended the festivals simply to have fun. Intense, ecstatic and immediate, the rites did not stress doctrinal belief, but valued toward show and inward feeling. Artistotle states the mysteries weren’t about a teaching, they were initiations focused on direct experience.

The mystery cults, long a dominant form of idol worship in the late classical world, perished with the fall of Greco-Roman civilization. Yet the modern immolation of the Burning Man, surrounded by impromptu rites of celebration, forms an arresting analogy. The parallels are striking, fire, sacrifice, pilgrimage, visionary spectacle, egalitarianism, revelry, recruitment from an urban population, direct experience opposed to doctrinal belief, and central to it all, a myth of death and rebirth.

Organizers of this modern mystery disclaim any conscious plan to reproduce the past. Yet it might be that culture itself, is responding to the changing needs of our society. As students of ritual understand, the past and present rotate on a single wheel of time.

 


See Live-Blogging the Burn for all the occult references that happened at this year’s re-enactment of the Magickal Mystery Rituals.

[Update 8/31/14 2:22pm]

Thanks to Curt.Net for sharing these images he created.

virtuvius curt

the man pentagram curt

 

The description of Bohemian Grove ceremonies is from the recording in this documentary, filmed secretly at their annual event.

 

Why We Prank

by Whatsblem the Pro

In the wee hours of the morning on April 1st, while it was still dark out, my housemate and I were taping garbage bags to the frame of someone else’s bedroom door and filling the space between the bags and the door with balloons. When we’d stuffed enough balloons into the gap to bury a person opening the door from inside the room in inflated rubber, we high-fived and went to bed wreathed in smiles. Many of the balloons were long sausage-like cylinders; some had been twisted into more explicitly suggestive shapes and decorated or written on with a Sharpie; they bore slogans like “Your Magic Friend While He’s Away,” and “ASS-2-ASS! ASS-2-ASS!

Around dawn, a tiny hullabaloo of confusion, cursing, laughter, and savage balloon-popping took place in the hall outside my door. I woke up long enough to have a good haw-haw, and went back to bed to finish sleeping.

By the time the morning had progressed to a fit hour for decent people, my co-conspirator and I were the only ones home, and retribution was in full effect. I got out of bed first; there were notes taped to the walls over the kitchen and bathroom sinks: “LANDLORD CALLED, WATER OFF UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.” I turned the taps; nothing. I knew the landlord would call my landline in the event of a real outage, so of course I simply turned them on at the wall and did my business. . . and since my accomplice – still new in our house – had no idea, I turned the toilet and sink off again after using them, and played dumb when she got up. Fifteen minutes later she was fleeing to a friend’s place to use the bathroom.

The next day, like a Third World child stepping on an unexploded land mine long after the war has ended, she dipped a spoon into a container marked ‘SUGAR,’ and stirred a heaping helping of salt into her coffee.

Some people decry pranks as unnecessary, disrespectful cruelties, but pranks among friends – especially friends who live together harmoniously – are often sources of bonding and group history-building. They serve as test of and testimony to our confidence in each other as intimates, and give us something to laugh about together weeks, months, and years later.

There’s a similar phenomenon to be found in the way Australians are prone to casually referring to their nearest and dearest as ‘cunts,’ a practice which never fails to horrify uninitiated Septics (aka Americans), who typically wither or bristle at the drop of the dreaded ‘C’ word. The first time I got the C-bomb dropped on me by an Aussie, he was smiling warmly and handing me a free beer with a “welcome home” twinkle in his eye, and I still stopped jaw-slung in my tracks, thinking did he really just call me a cunt? Once I got over the initial shock, though, I realized that I was being welcomed into the fold and hailed as a brother. It was only up to me to pass the test by not being offended. Not a prank per se, but a cultural marker that acts a lot like one.

Psychologists have been studying pranks for some time, usually in the very negative light of malice, bigotry, and exclusion, but anthropologists have found that practical jokes are far more commonly an effort to bring a person into a group rather than drive or keep them out. The kind of frat-boy hazing that sociologist Erving Goffman characterized as ceremonial degradation turns out to be an integral part of rituals in human cultures throughout the globe, serving to temper the initiate’s sense of success at gaining entrée in a splash of cold humility. Being duped and brought low even for a moment can prompt a powerful self-reflection and a new alertness to the world; this may in fact be the looked-for metamorphosis that the hazing is meant to induce in the neophyte.

In other words, the difference between what goes on during Rush Week on Fraternity Row, and what goes on in the course of ten thousand other prankish social gluing rites all over the globe, is mainly a matter of form and not function. The dangerously drunk college boy getting paddled and peed on is being ushered into a society and acknowledged as having a place there in a more aggressive, juvenile, irresponsible, and homoerotic manner than a newlywed couple getting a shivaree, but the idea is the same. . . and in both cases the victims are being put through a positive metamorphic process that draws them closer to the culture administering it, rather than simply being embarrassed, inconvenienced, victimized, and/or degraded for its own sake.Image

Dr. Jonathan Wynn, a cultural sociologist and lecturer at Smith College, says these kinds of induction-into-the-culture pranks help elevate the victim even as they seemingly demean and degrade. “You gain status by being picked on in some ways. It can be a kind of flattery, if you’re being brought in.” According to Wynn, the vast majority of ritualistic pranks played on newcomers are sending a message – that the pranksters like you and want to recognize you as one of them – and are demanding a response in the form of good-natured acceptance.

Hazing rituals have another effect that they share with one-on-one pranks – and outright scams – that have nothing to do with being welcomed into a new circle of people; they can trigger a feedback and correction mechanism for the victim’s own defense instincts. The shock and embarrassment of being the patsy leads to a self-evaluation and adjustment of our vigilance against the depredations of others; it may heighten our paranoia, but paradoxically, being duped can also prompt us to be less vigilant than before.

“As humans, we develop this notion of fairness as a part of our self-concept, and of course it’s extremely important in exchange relationships,” says consumer psychologist Kathleen D. Vohs, co-author of Feeling Duped: Emotional, Motivational, and Cognitive Aspects of Being Exploited by Others.

Take off my pants too, get a free cup of coffee

Take off my pants too, get a free cup of coffee

“Being duped holds up this mirror to people,” says Dr. Vohs, “and may in fact show them where they are on the scale” between total obliviousness and hyper-vigilance, thus helping them to form a more realistic view of themselves and adjust their defense mechanisms to be more effective in exchange relationships.

The mirror Dr. Vohs refers to is something psychologists call “counterfactual thinking,” in which the duped victim goes over and over the events that led to them being duped, playing the scenario out in their heads in different ways in an attempt to figure out where they went wrong. The intense self-examination often leads to better perspective and even full-blown epiphanies that improve the victim’s skill at dealing with others and successfully distinguishing good information from bad information, and good deals from not-so-good deals.

“There appears to be stable individual differences in the motivation (called sugrophobia) to avoid being a sucker,” says Dr. Vohs. “High sugrophobes will be vigilant and skeptical of potential deals. Low sugrophobes may not even realize in some instances that they were duped. The aversive reaction to feeling duped stimulates counterfactual ruminations that may intensify sugrophobia but also aids in extracting useful lessons.”

Other researchers have offered evidence that the insights gleaned from counterfactual thinking can have a major positive impact on behavior that enhances our social interactions.

Now consider Burning Man. In the absence of commerce, in an environment of abundance in which everything (or nearly everything) is given freely, the motivations for duping others become less obvious. With no money or trade goods in play, decommodification allows us the luxury – or possibly creates the dire hazard – of pranking and being pranked with only our bodies, our preconceptions, our ingrained habits, and our personal pride at stake.

Transformative experience, anyone? Just let go. Black Rock City is a place where you can willingly suspend your disbelief and judiciously allow yourself to be delightfully misdirected, bamboozled, flim-flammed, monkey-talked, and played in a thousand different ways. Be alert for the lessons you might learn thereby. . . and pass them on to others.

Hey, what’s that on your shirt?