The first reason is simple, to step outside your cultural, societal, and personal narratives

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Human beings live inside narratives. We have cultural narratives such as, “It’s normal to work 40 hours per week, Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and to eat three meals per day.” We have societal narratives like, “We elect political representatives to make decisions about regional, national, and international policies and infrastructure.” And, we have personal narratives. For example, “I’m a father, a businessman, and an athlete. I don’t like to dance, to sleep past 8:00 AM, and I struggle with drawing.”

Oftentimes, these narratives dictate our lives without us giving them much thought. We wake up each morning and live our lives within these lines because that’s just how things are. But what if none of these narratives are objectively right? What if none of these narratives are actually in our best interest?

Burning Man gives you the opportunity to step into a world so radically different from default reality that it halts your narratives and allows you to see the world and your life from more of a blank slate perspective. From this empty perspective, you can imagine yourself however you choose. You can build yourself however you choose. The experience is akin to being a child again, and with that comes a sense of freedom you might have forgotten along the way.

Temple-of-Transition

2) To Experience the Manifestation of Human Potential

While some might see Burning Man as merely a celebration, I see it as the manifestation of human potential. Burning Man is largely a place beyond expectations, a place where people are free to express themselves however they choose (so long as they’re not harming others). This freedom yields the most inspiring art you’ll ever see, the grooviest music you’ll ever hear, the most elaborate structures on Earth, the most evocative conversations you’ll ever have, and the most transformative experiences you can imagine.

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The environment lends itself to experiences typically inaccessible in regular waking life — experiences many people think are impossible. For example, telepathic communication: conversations beyond language and without words where nothing is lost in translation, and only thoughts and feelings are communicated and understood via direct impartation. Or, instant manifestation of people or objects into three-dimensional reality: you want to see your best friend? Just think of them and they’ll appear. Would you like a frozen coconut? Speak your desire and one will arrive next to you, probably within seconds. Interested in living in a world of infinite abundance? Well, that brings me to my next point . . .

burn1

3) The Gifting Economy

Nothing is for sale on the playa[1] and your money is no good there. Bartering isn’t the name of the game either. Rather, Burning Man relies on a gifting economy: to give without expecting anything in return. Everyone brings what they’ll need to survive in the desert for a week, and they also bring gifts. The gifts can be anything. If you’re a massage therapist, you might gift massages.

Or, you might handcraft jewelry to give to people walking by. You might bring 20 copies of your favourite book to hand out to new friends. Or, you might combine forces with your friends to build a camp with magical musical performances and transformative workshops for absolutely everyone on playa to enjoy. It doesn’t matter if your gift is big or small. What’s important is the compounding effect of 70,000 people trying to enhance one another’s experiences. It’s an effect that’ll leave you feeling like the entire universe is a place of infinite love and miracles, and it’s likely an effect that’ll inspire you to share that love and those miracles with the rest of the world.

[1] Playa is a word Burners lovingly use to refer to the desert at Burning Man


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