Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

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Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Kyanite » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:31 am

Hello all! I am a newbie to these fourms and to Burning Man in general. My name is Kye and I'm a senior finishing up my anthropology thesis on Burning Man this year, which means I will finally be able to attend this August! (Burning Man always overlapped with school before). I was hoping to gather some ethnographic data from anyone who would be willing to share their experiences concerning spirituality and/or religion at Burning Man in years past.

The argument I'm trying to make in my paper goes something like this: Burning Man provides a spiritual outlet for our growing secular/ non-religiously affiliated society. Festivals like Burning Man have and will continue to flourish as American society becomes less religious.

So let's hear it! Do you agree or disagree? Have you had a spiritual awakening at Burning man? If so, what contributed to that? If not, why not? There are no wrong answers here, I am very interested in everyone's subjective take on the topic. I hope you all have an awesome day! :) See you on the Playa!
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:48 am

Just one man's opinion, but I completely disagree. To me spirituality has ZERO, and I mean ZERO to do with it.
It's just an art festival, with parties, mutant vehicles, music, fun theme camps, etc.
I've forgotten who the quote belongs to, but I always liked it: "It's just a fucking camping trip"!
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:08 pm

That may be a misquote of something Bob said...
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Kyanite » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:08 pm

Sweet! I need to address opinions like this in my paper, obviously not everyone has a spiritual experience at Burning Man. Would you mind telling me how you define spirituality so I can get a better sense of the meaning behind your comment?
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Simon of the Playa » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:11 pm

Would you mind telling me how you define spirituality




teabagging an anthropology student...





you asked.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Rice » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:18 pm

If you want it to, it will be...

Seriously, people who expect something to be spiritual will (not surprisingly) have a spiritual experience. The same goes with religious experiences...

Maybe the difference depends on one's taking of drugs or something.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Simon of the Playa » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:21 pm

Rice wrote:If you want it to, it will be...



no, it is....

especially if they have cute little braided pigtails to grab onto like pippi longstocking meets deep throat...


actually, thats almost a religious experience i suppose...
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby ygmir » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:21 pm

welcome Kye.

so, can you (in no less than 4, no more than 26, single spaced, size 12 font (of your choice), pages) give a succinct synopsis of your inspiration for said thesis, what brought you to this particular field of study, your family history (including predispositions to specific fetish behavior), personal description (photos for bonus points), state of residency, and paypal account?
Essay form is also acceptable.

Upon reviewing said document, I (an maybe others), would be happy to participate in your quest for knowledge.


I'm thinking, we should make a thread, with a questionnaire and essay as above, for all folks coming in with thesis participation requests
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Rice » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:22 pm

Simon of the Playa wrote:
Rice wrote:If you want it to, it will be...



no, it is....

especially if they have cute little braided pigtails to grab onto like pippi longstocking meets deep throat...


actually, thats almost a religious experience i suppose...

If that is what you are into, awesome.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby H.G.Crosby » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:24 pm

I'm thinking, we should make a thread, with a questionnaire and essay as above, for all folks coming in with thesis participation requests



ya THINK?


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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:25 pm

Why don't you write a thesis on the way the eplaya community reacts to people when who have never been to the burn ask this on-line community for information so they can write a thesis on the event? You might want to spend some time exploring how the idea "no spectators" plays into this.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Simon of the Playa » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:28 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:Why don't you write a thesis on the way the eplaya community reacts to people when who have never been to the burn ask this on-line community for information so they can write a thesis on the event? You might want to spend some time exploring how the idea "no spectators" plays into this.



thats actually an interesting concept....as opposed to, um, yeah....anyway....


i got your theory right HERE bayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyybeeee....
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Kyanite » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:32 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:Why don't you write a thesis on the way the eplaya community reacts to people when who have never been to the burn ask this on-line community for information so they can write a thesis on the event? You might want to spend some time exploring how the idea "no spectators" plays into this.


I'm sensing a bit of hostility here...which is interesting. I'm not forcing anyone here to answer my questions, you all have free will, if you don't like the thread continue on. I do not want you to write my paper for me, I'm just hoping to gather some ethnographic data and quotes from participants that may be useful to my paper and/or that make me think about my topic in a new way. I'm not trying to be disrespectful in any way and I apologize if I came off as such. As I previously stated, I was unable to attend Burning Man in the past since it has always conflicted with my school schedule. I have every intention of being a full participant once I am at the event, but there's really not much I can do now to participate besides chat with all of you.

You might want to spend some time exploring why you enjoy putting down other people behind the protection of the internet.
Last edited by Kyanite on Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:32 pm

And the basic research can be done by looking through the site instead of posting and asking, looking at threads, counting responses, does this change over time, maybe not as big a subject as "burningman" but sometimes those college papers that choose too big of subjects just end up being messes, because there's no way to do them justice in teh alloted room.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Kyanite » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:34 pm

Wow, I really thought the Burner community would be more welcoming. I'll leave this thread up for another hour, but if I keep getting jerky responses I'll just delete it. Sorry for asking....
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Rice » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:40 pm

Kyanite wrote:Wow, I really thought the Burner community would be more welcoming. I'll leave this thread up for another hour, but if I keep getting jerky responses I'll just delete it. Sorry for asking....


If you really want to know how I feel, come find me on the playa and we can talk. Some things are not discussed in a public forum.

Every year we see people ask these exact questions, and mostly they get a similar response...
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:41 pm

Ooh, ooh! The old "burners are saints who will love me just as I am and shower me with whatever I ask for" misapprehension.
Don't these colleges ever tell their anthro students that groups that don't have some sort of standards for entry are simply random amalgamations without internal adhesion?

Or that many people don't want to be the subject of an anthro paper?
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:43 pm

Kyanite wrote:I'm sensing a bit of hostility here...which is interesting.
*snip*
You might want to spend some time exploring why you enjoy putting down other people behind the protection of the internet.

What kind of screenwriter who never could sell Hollywood his b-movie about a freudian analyst is writing your lines?
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Kyanite » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:51 pm

I didn't realize this was such a common occurrence, although maybe I should have. I apologize, I'll just continue to work on my paper without your input. But I hope you know that you seriously just made me feel like complete dog shit and I am now crying. I didn't mean to offend anyone or cross any boundaries. I'm sorry. But maybe in the future you guys should consider being a bit nicer. I didn't have any malicious intent here and I feel attacked.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Simon of the Playa » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:57 pm

if you are crying over this shit, you should NOT be going to burning man.


just sayin'.


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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Rice » Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:05 pm

Kyanite wrote:I didn't realize this was such a common occurrence, although maybe I should have. I apologize, I'll just continue to work on my paper without your input. But I hope you know that you seriously just made me feel like complete dog shit and I am now crying. I didn't mean to offend anyone or cross any boundaries. I'm sorry. But maybe in the future you guys should consider being a bit nicer. I didn't have any malicious intent here and I feel attacked.

This does happen on the internet, and it certainly happens here.

You can choose to ignore the "jerk" responses (mine as well, since I feel I have been a bit of a jerk)...

If you like, you can even "plonk" certain eplayans and completely ignore them. Certain posters on this site cannot say anything positive on any subject, you probably have figured out who they are.

My offer to discuss is open (more than happy to have a private discussion on this subject, from my point of view), perhaps a PM conversation is in order?? ....
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:15 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:That may be a misquote of something Bob said...

I think you're right, the " it's just a fucking camping trip" line was Bob's.
One of the best lines ever.

Back to the subject, don't feel like dog shit or cry, it's just a message board.
The nerve you hit was writing a paper on Burning Man without really knowing what it is, which makes burners groan because the public's conception of it is so messed up already.

We give each other flak all the time, don't sweat it.
Message boards are like that, everyone is an a-hole behind the keyboard but they're all super cool when you meet in person.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Elorrum » Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:18 pm

Kyanite, I suggest you take this opportunity to post a hearty "Fuck yer day!" to eplaya. It's a turning point where you can show your metal. Don't turn tail and run. Start being a burner today. Since you have yet to attend, it sounds a wrong note here that you want to prove something you think might be happening there. I for one don't feel like writing a primary source essay for you, but if I saw you on the playa I'd be interested in listening to what you have to say about this. You will have an experience there, and it will be filtered through your expectations, you may see what you want to see. When you least expect it you will see what you do not expect as well. Talk to people there, ask questions about what they are experiencing and ask yourself the same. Read the posts here and mine them for data. I remember a fine recovery post by an original poster who felt particularly beat up by responses when she said that she had indeed just found the thing she had been asking about by reaching up her own asshole. I'm sure I paraphrased this, but It just struck me as so ballsy a response. Have a good experience there.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Roberto Dobbisano » Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:43 pm

yeah, i'm a fucko.

there are whole villages of us.

get used to it.

now with that said, sorry if you're knickers are in a twist, but as the buddhists like to say around here, thats YOUR reaction, not our replies that are the issue here.

now, can we see your tits.






kidding KIDDING!


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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby CornMan » Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:53 pm

The truth is that writing about Burning Man without ever actually attending it is like writing a paper describing the pleasures of sex without actually experiencing it. That said, I do get a sense of some shared spirituality when I spend time at the temple. This idea that it's just a camping trip and not an inroad to anything spiritual is a bit short sighted. A solo kayak trip in the Alaskan wilderness, while mainly a just camping trip, can indeed be a spiritually awakening experience. The use of some of the drugs that some people use at Burning Man could itself prompt a spiritual experience even if taken while sitting alone on an easy chair in your front room. Some people have been living a life so devoid of spirituality that any new setting such as the surreal environs of a counterculture desert festival or the personal growth gained in the struggle to persevere in such a rugged environment could prompt one to feel spiritually stimulated. Myself, at Burning Man, my senses are usually so dulled by all the alcohol that I seldom get around to thinking of my own spirituality because to me, it's mainly just a multi-day party.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby CornMan » Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:03 pm

And to add to that, the first time I went to Burning Man, I did feel some neat feelings inside. After my second visit, I got more jaded about it.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby lemur » Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:44 pm

ive uploaded this video from i think, 2008... when a BBC tv crew camped with us in Lamplighter Village.

they were doing one episode of a series called 'around the world in 80 faiths' ..this episode was about american stuff.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Around_the ... _80_Faiths

The series was presented by the Anglican vicar, Pete Owen-Jones, who was researching the various faiths from around the world.


theres about 3 mins of intro stuff, i cut out a lot of other junk. .. burning man junk happens in there, they talk about the temple .. i think its neat.

it was just fine to have them in the camp to, decent folks!

maybe this video will give you something?

[media]
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Savannah » Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:53 pm

Don't cry, Kyanite. We get many, many requests for this every year. The reaction is the same virtually every time. If you look at the very recent threads under yours, called "Share short stories for my project, please?" and "Please contribute!!! Personal research/survey" you will note the ePlaya subculture's clear reluctance to be quizzed and categorized and have their stories mined for theses.

It's not personal--we don't know you. But that's also one reason some of us don't want to answer you. It's an intimate question from a total stranger. (If Kinsey had sat down next to me at random in a coffee shop, I wouldn't have told him about my sex life). Most of us don't care to be studied, or to recount a spiritual moment at random. Spirituality is fraught. It can be serious, or embarrassing, or private. Some of us just bare our souls only to friends. But we'll talk about swamp coolers and monkey huts all day. :)

People may be more willing to answer these types of questions in person on the playa. Chill some champagne and invite the neighbors in.

ePlaya THE playa.

Let go of your assumptions about Burners (there are angels and asshats alike) and release your expectations of the event. Focus on your physical & logistical preparations. Heck, maybe you'll get some good PMs anyway.

Good luck!
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby ygmir » Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:57 pm

thanks lemur.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby CornMan » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:32 pm

Savannah wrote:

ePlaya THE playa.



That is a very profound quote.
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