I am posting this as a new topic because both the commentary on Barlow's essay ( http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?t=2221
) and Mark Pesce's essay ( http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?t=2163
) seem to have wandered far from the original posts.
To recap, the Barlow essay is at http://www.wf.net/~aardvark/ee/000hold/barlow01.htm
and the Pesce piece is at http://www.tripzine.com/articles.asp?id=mcburners
Barlow is the founder of the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) and Pesce is the creator of VRML, a regular at the Mind States psychedelic conference and all around visionary.
Here is what Barlow and Pesce seem to have in common. They seem to feel that going to Burning Man has to cost thousands of dollars. That we have to get sucked into theme camps and expensive costumes and months of preparation, and saying "Welcome home" and such.
I am aware there is a natural human tendency to want peer approval. But that doesn't mean we have to give into what some may feel as pressure to compete with the other primates who attend Burning Man. Maybe because both Barlow and Pesce are alpha males in their own worlds, they cannot handle going to an event where they are no longer alphas.
For me Burning Man has been about networking with other true individualists and cultural creatives. The pagan festivals and things like that don't do it for me, because of the uniformity of thought at many of these events. At Burning Man, if you just take the time to walk around, you can meet every kind of person. I like walking around and talking to people. I am not into preening and showing off.
I also don't have the time or money to compete with others. But nobody is forcing you to come up with the best camp, best costume. If Pesce and Barlow could just go to Burning Man and be normal, anonymous individuals, they might discover the real reason Burning Man needs to exist and serves a critical role. But I suspect Pesce and Barlow are probably the type of successful men who feel the need to be at the middle of the herd at anything they attend, which means that unless they can successfully compete with the BM silverbacks, they want nothing to do with it.
For me Burning Man is an idea of community which only starts with the northern Nevada event. Anybody can do anything they want at Burning Man, including ignoring the competition for attention from other primates, and avoiding the psychedelics and anything else that might trouble you. Nobody is forcing Barlow and Pesce to do these things that bother them so.
And if a greeter says "welcome home" you can say as Pesce says he wants to say, "Get away from me, you hippies, do you think you’re at Rainbow Gathering?"
If Pesce wanted to say that, then why didn't he just say it? That is what troubles me about the Pesce essay - why didn't he just follow his true impulse? If you're not following your own intuitive sense, then I don't think you're getting what Burning Man is. Or can be.