Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Share your pictures and video. Tell us about the sights, sounds, and scents, as well as the rumors and truths found at Burning Man.

Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Elliot » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:34 pm

:D
Hey Kyanite, welcome to ePlaya. You are discovering that many of us on this board feel that no useful paper can be written about the inner workings of a complex phenomenon from outside the storefront window.

I for one feel your concept has merit, at least for further study. Though I cannot imagine to what purpose (other than earn your degree, of course).

We get a lot of such requests, and we tend to doubt that superficial analysis is beneficial.

No hiding behind the interweb here. Elliot Naess, P.O. Box 2825, Clearlake, CA 95422.

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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby knowmad » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:07 pm

Kyanite wrote:I'm sensing a bit of hostility here...which is interesting.

Was going to give you props for being perceptive. But then you dissapointed me by overlooking the scope of the Statements of Ethics adopted by the Council of the American Anthropological Association [1971]. In research, anthropologists' paramount responsibility is to those they study. When there is a conflict of interest, these individuals must come first. Anthropologists must do everything in their power to protect the physical, social, and psychological welfare and to honor the dignity and privacy of those studied. Where research involves the acquisition of material and information transferred on the assumption of trust between persons, it is axiomatic that the rights, interests, and sensitivities of those studied must be safeguarded.

You see, Some of us Natives Know all about your, "Academia"; that doesn't teach. And your Preconceived notions of how and who we are. And some of us think that the wall between "Us" and "You" is really only there because you bring it with you. To us you are us, but to you, we are they. You wanna learn? Quit asking questions and start observing.

Kyanite wrote:You might want to spend some time exploring why you enjoy putting down other people behind the protection of the internet.


I'm not certain if I speak for the others on this, but I pretty much do this internet thing to stay in practice so when I meet real life Idiots in the flesh I can deal with their retardum without losing forward momentum.

BTW There is no more spiritual or religious significance in this camping trip anymore than there is in any other camping trip. Burning Man is not Outward Bound for e-tard-vegan-crystyal rubbing-wishywashy-new ageist-hippie-fucks!
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby knowmad » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:09 pm

doof!
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Kyanite » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:17 pm

Thank you to everyone who responded! This thread has actually been really useful because now I am going to make sure that I include a section in my thesis that explains how impossible it is to write a full, complete and accurate depiction of Burning Man without having experienced it first hand. This is a very important bias in my paper that I had already planned on addressing but I'm glad that you all brought it up (some in nicer ways than others) and explained just how important it truly is.

Just to clarify, I am only writing my thesis on this topic because I find it incredibly interesting and have wanted to go to Burning Man since I first heard about it. I figured if I'm going to have to spend countless hours reading about, researching and generally becoming obsessed with a certain topic, it might as well be something I like and am interested in. My paper is not going to get published and I have no plans to pursue this research any further.

I don't want any of you to write my paper for me or even give me straight up answers to my question. I was hoping to start a discussion on the topic of spirituality just to see people's points of view. Perhaps it was wrong of me to ask for specific experiences that you may have had. I really just wanted to observe eplaya's discourse on the topic.

I'm also not trying to make overall statements about Burning Man, in fact one of the main points of my paper is that Burning Man is completely subjective and that each person has a different experience there. I cannot tell you how much I wish that I had been to the event, but it has not been possible for me until the up coming year. I'm really excited to meet some of you and perhaps continue this discussion in person.

Thanks again for all the input, it really did make a difference.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby lemur » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:29 pm

FAKE.

i am convinced


this is fake.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Kyanite » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:37 pm

lemur wrote:FAKE.

i am convinced


this is fake.


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This is my kitchen table right now. Not fake. I'm just trying to be nice, appreciative and learn as much as I can.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby lemur » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:56 pm

TRIBES OF BURNING MAN?!


o god no.

youre doomed.


that book is shite... and maybe the best example of how even people whove been can produce the most silly work in relation to the event.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Kyanite » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:03 pm

I didn't actually end up using that one. It's more of a story of Jones' experience than a collection of other people's experiences. I really like Gilmore's stuff though. What do you think of her?
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby lemur » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:09 pm

afterburn is the only book worth a damn of any of them that ive seen

even the photography books are largely shit.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby tamarakay » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:11 pm

My spirituality is a part of my being. I can not separate any experience I have from my spiritual self. It all feeds each other. Having said that, I get alarmed by the people who appear to be trying to turn burning man into some sort of religion. Rules at the temple piss me off, all the crap about we are one in the flame. So much bullshit. I am respectful of people in the temple but it's a complete turn off to me to see fake weeping and wailing and nashing of teeth. I was trying to appreciate the temple for the incredible piece of art that it was and it seemed every time I took a step there was another goofball throwing themselves on the ground in the depths of despair and grief. It all felt so fake.

The more religious you try and make it, the more rules written and unwritten start to be enforced. What I love about burning man is that there are no rules. There are a few principles and then you take it from there. Start applying dogma and you screw it all up.

Now, as far as a spiritual experience... The first year I went to burning man my husband and I had just become empty nesters. We had devoted the past 26 years of our lives raising our six kids. Scout meetings to attend, football games, plays and concerts. All of our creative energy had been put into the children. We were so busy with them that we forgot how to be our own selves. Then, here we were, just the two of us all alone in this big ole house. As I turned 50 it hit me that my life was already over 1/2 way over.

Then we went to the burn. We rode our bikes out every night into the deep playa and watched art grow. We reveled in each others bodies like teenagers. We discovered that we could create art. We laughed loud and long. We hugged strangers and made lifelong friends. And then we figured out that we could bring all of that home with us and live it year round. We found our joy again. Disrupted our routine and expanded what we thought possible.

Today I spent the bulk of my day dyeing silk. Something I never thought myself capable of doing. As the colors blend and merge and the beauty emerges, I feel God.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby SaritaSyrah » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:12 pm

lemur wrote:afterburn is the only book worth a damn of any of them that ive seen

even the photography books are largely shit.


Oh, but I love the photography books. There are some really interesting photographs!
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby SaritaSyrah » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:19 pm

tamarakay wrote:My spirituality is a part of my being. I can not separate any experience I have from my spiritual self. It all feeds each other. Having said that, I get alarmed by the people who appear to be trying to turn burning man into some sort of religion. Rules at the temple piss me off, all the crap about we are one in the flame. So much bullshit. I am respectful of people in the temple but it's a complete turn off to me to see fake weeping and wailing and nashing of teeth. I was trying to appreciate the temple for the incredible piece of art that it was and it seemed every time I took a step there was another goofball throwing themselves on the ground in the depths of despair and grief. It all felt so fake.

The more religious you try and make it, the more rules written and unwritten start to be enforced. What I love about burning man is that there are no rules. There are a few principles and then you take it from there. Start applying dogma and you screw it all up.

Now, as far as a spiritual experience... The first year I went to burning man my husband and I had just become empty nesters. We had devoted the past 26 years of our lives raising our six kids. Scout meetings to attend, football games, plays and concerts. All of our creative energy had been put into the children. We were so busy with them that we forgot how to be our own selves. Then, here we were, just the two of us all alone in this big ole house. As I turned 50 it hit me that my life was already over 1/2 way over.

Then we went to the burn. We rode our bikes out every night into the deep playa and watched art grow. We reveled in each others bodies like teenagers. We discovered that we could create art. We laughed loud and long. We hugged strangers and made lifelong friends. And then we figured out that we could bring all of that home with us and live it year round. We found our joy again. Disrupted our routine and expanded what we thought possible.

Today I spent the bulk of my day dyeing silk. Something I never thought myself capable of doing. As the colors blend and merge and the beauty emerges, I feel God.


I love this woman. As one of the six kids she raised, it has been a joy to watch her find herself again. She's pretty freaking fantastic.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby ygmir » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:04 pm

SaritaSyrah wrote:
tamarakay wrote:My spirituality is a part of my being. I can not separate any experience I have from my spiritual self. It all feeds each other. Having said that, I get alarmed by the people who appear to be trying to turn burning man into some sort of religion. Rules at the temple piss me off, all the crap about we are one in the flame. So much bullshit. I am respectful of people in the temple but it's a complete turn off to me to see fake weeping and wailing and nashing of teeth. I was trying to appreciate the temple for the incredible piece of art that it was and it seemed every time I took a step there was another goofball throwing themselves on the ground in the depths of despair and grief. It all felt so fake.

The more religious you try and make it, the more rules written and unwritten start to be enforced. What I love about burning man is that there are no rules. There are a few principles and then you take it from there. Start applying dogma and you screw it all up.

Now, as far as a spiritual experience... The first year I went to burning man my husband and I had just become empty nesters. We had devoted the past 26 years of our lives raising our six kids. Scout meetings to attend, football games, plays and concerts. All of our creative energy had been put into the children. We were so busy with them that we forgot how to be our own selves. Then, here we were, just the two of us all alone in this big ole house. As I turned 50 it hit me that my life was already over 1/2 way over.

Then we went to the burn. We rode our bikes out every night into the deep playa and watched art grow. We reveled in each others bodies like teenagers. We discovered that we could create art. We laughed loud and long. We hugged strangers and made lifelong friends. And then we figured out that we could bring all of that home with us and live it year round. We found our joy again. Disrupted our routine and expanded what we thought possible.

Today I spent the bulk of my day dyeing silk. Something I never thought myself capable of doing. As the colors blend and merge and the beauty emerges, I feel God.


I love this woman. As one of the six kids she raised, it has been a joy to watch her find herself again. She's pretty freaking fantastic.

*jumps on soap box*


SOMEBODY GIVE ME AN AHMEN AND THANK YA BABY JEEBUS!!!


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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby TomServo » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:21 pm

For me, personally, BM was an accident waiting to happen. As a devout Agnostic, I refuse to put any religious/spiritual label on it. Maybe it's the dehydration, maybe it's just being totally isolated, but it does something to a person...Plus, being surrounded by strange fuckers...
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:51 pm

So, next time someone wants to write a burning man anthro paper, lets play a round of Somoans and Mead...
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby tummler » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:54 pm

Write what you know.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Elorrum » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:57 pm

The list of slam-dunk refutations could go on and on.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Savannah » Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:08 pm

Kyanite wrote:Thank you to everyone who responded! This thread has actually been really useful because now I am going to make sure that I include a section in my thesis that explains how impossible it is to write a full, complete and accurate depiction of Burning Man without having experienced it first hand. This is a very important bias in my paper that I had already planned on addressing but I'm glad that you all brought it up (some in nicer ways than others) and explained just how important it truly is.

Just to clarify, I am only writing my thesis on this topic because I find it incredibly interesting and have wanted to go to Burning Man since I first heard about it. I figured if I'm going to have to spend countless hours reading about, researching and generally becoming obsessed with a certain topic, it might as well be something I like and am interested in. My paper is not going to get published and I have no plans to pursue this research any further.

I don't want any of you to write my paper for me or even give me straight up answers to my question. I was hoping to start a discussion on the topic of spirituality just to see people's points of view. Perhaps it was wrong of me to ask for specific experiences that you may have had. I really just wanted to observe eplaya's discourse on the topic.


Something else that I should've said: the very act of trying to write or explain an experience one has had @ the Burn can fill a person with anxiety. What if something that happened to you doesn't translate? What if you try to explain something that markedly changed your life, and no one understands? What if some spiritual realization or change that blew the top of your head off with it's profundity, some 10-out-of-10 realization, only comes out of your mouth as a 4 out of 10, because the person listening has no frame of reference, or doesn't know you, or is really really different from you? The disconnect one might feel at that point--the abject disappointment--might be painful. I can only speak for myself, but it would really bother me. And for what? To entertain someone else, or provide fodder for their studies? Not worth it to me. This is not to say that I don't share stories. I do! But they usually come out for a reason, and to close friends or fellow Burners. Folks who either 1) know me, or 2) know the Burn sufficiently to have a head start at understanding.

I've suddenly got an analogy about this that amuses me. I once torqued my left knee trying to show "pigeon pose" to someone before my muscles were warm. In the act of trying to show off--which is SO not what yoga is supposed to be about--I fucked myself up, and the injury lingered for a long time. :lol: In doing something for the wrong reasons, I got hurt, and I only had myself to blame.

I'm also not trying to make overall statements about Burning Man, in fact one of the main points of my paper is that Burning Man is completely subjective and that each person has a different experience there. I cannot tell you how much I wish that I had been to the event, but it has not been possible for me until the up coming year. I'm really excited to meet some of you and perhaps continue this discussion in person.

Thanks again for all the input, it really did make a difference.


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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby BBadger » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:33 pm

Sometimes it's like trying to explain a funny joke you saw on The Simpsons... you've just gotta be there to understand why it's funny.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby ranger magnum » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:44 pm

Religion is for those seeking a reward.

Spirituality is for those seeking understanding.

I am surprised that the replies to your post made you realize that you cannot write a paper about burningman without having been. I would think that should have been a standard assumption on you part.

I am in the automotive tire manufacturing business. The amount of things I have learned in the 3.5 years I have been making tires are staggering. If I had I written a paper about it before I actually started the business, everything in it would be wrong.

You may feel the same way about your paper. Or maybe write it now, basing it on what you think know, and another after you attend. I for one would be curious to read the difference between the two.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Elliot » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:03 pm

ranger magnum wrote:Religion is for those seeking a reward.

Spirituality is for those seeking understanding.

Hear, hear! Well put.


Yeah, me too.... Early in my journalism career I was invited to do a story on an auto racing school, including driving a race car. In my excitement I wrote a good bit of the manuscript before the event, using what I already knew about the sport. After the event, of course, I tossed it all out and wrote the real story as I had learned it first hand.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby TomServo » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:30 pm

ranger magnum wrote:Religion is for those seeking a reward.

Spirituality is for those seeking understanding.

I am surprised that the replies to your post made you realize that you cannot write a paper about burningman without having been. I would think that should have been a standard assumption on you part.

I am in the automotive tire manufacturing business. The amount of things I have learned in the 3.5 years I have been making tires are staggering. If I had I written a paper about it before I actually started the business, everything in it would be wrong.

You may feel the same way about your paper. Or maybe write it now, basing it on what you think know, and another after you attend. I for one would be curious to read the difference between the two.


A before and after paper would be more interesting.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Simon of the Playa » Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:55 am

ok, everyone has been exceptionally nice because you pulled the "cry" card.


it's page fucking two, lets see some tits.


then i'll get all spiritual.


and i dont hide behind the internet either, toots.


we are not a "cult" we are not a "sub-culture", there is no way to lump us all together into a neat little package, so try if you must, but you will fail.

where you will succeed, is the process of getting to this conclusion.


thicken your skin a bit, please, the eplaya is not the playa, this is correct, however, the banter and "lively" conversation is quite indicative of what you MIGHT find out there so be prepared for shit heads like me...

also be prepared to find out that what you think is true is not.

not THATS a religious experience.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby aserendipity » Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:45 am

and then when you become the party you want
and you are still smelling it in your hair
enjoy the toon that Yggy sent
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby AntiM » Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:52 am

Howdy.

I'm not religious, nor particularly spiritual, and many of my daily routines revolve around burning. Checking eplaya, making art, planning, taking stock of the camp gear, upgrading, weeding out, making desert clothes. Downright obsessive, just like daily prayer and bible reading is for other people. Do I worship the playa? Nope. But I could do worse.

Yes, do come to the meet and greet. We aren't internet strangers to each other, for the most part, but you are. Ah ha!

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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby some seeing eye » Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:48 am

To your original query.
Will festivals continue to flourish as American society becomes less religious?

Festivals will continue to flourish as individuals employ them to create the positive psychic rewards of the ideal family. So maybe the cause is the fraying of the traditional family. BM though, as opposed to say a small yoga festival, has participants with much more varied motivations than new family. Side note: we have the Internet and social web to construct spirituality that previous generations depended on religious institutions to construct and preserve. I continually see DIY spirituality that is a mashup of sources.

Have you had a spiritual awakening at Burning man? No. But my personality has become much more open, expressive and less judgmental. Much better analytic-intuition integration.

If so, what contributed to that? If not, why not? I think many other festivals (West Coast, my experience) provide the same potential. But the preparation, intensity, exhaustion and the environment of BM along with the rituals make it more a person-changing experience. There are fire festivals around the world and we have campfires and fireplaces for a reason, maybe because the early ancestors who didn't like fire died off?

<irony>By the way, we in the cult of BM are trying not to use festival for the event, because in our minds it is unique, and festival has baggage like on site vending. What festival has principles (commandments?) and a god-like Larry </irony>.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby ygmir » Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:02 am

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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Simon of the Playa » Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:05 am

yes and "Festival" puts us in a whole 'Nother Tax Bracket, which is why we're

NOT GOING TO RELEASE THE SUPERSTAR DJ LINE-UPS BEFORE THE EVENT.


seriously, if i go on one burning crusade this "season" it is this....

can we go back to "Random" before the state of Nevada decides that we are a "Music Festival" and should be taxed as an entertainment venue?

sorry to side track here, but the word "Festival" sticks in my craw, too.
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby some seeing eye » Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:21 am

Awesome Simon! I hadn't thought of that. There's wisdom on them thar ePlaya. Don't release the lineup!! (of DJ preachers)
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion
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some seeing eye
 
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Re: Spirituality vs. Religion at Burning Man

Postby Roberto Dobbisano » Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:53 am

yeah, kate the librarian is not going to be happy with me, or any of the Large Sound Camps for that matter.





tough titties, you gotta do what you gotta do.
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