Burning Man and the Disappointment of Progress.

The Festival in the Nevada desert called Burning Man can present us with an example of what occurs of the human being, as a general category, and history. It is an overt example of how Zizek’s ‘changing of the past’ can be viewed. So we might see also, of course, that we should note within this explication is a kind of privilege. Because what may be of some past essence is not necessarily converted, translated, transposed, or otherwise communicated directly into the present situation, to speak of such a past often defies the present understanding as it indeed works in the unreflected mind to establish the past as indeed true origins and ground. Of course, there are many such examples, but this just cam to mind, as you will read below.

Also; the incident at Burning Man that just happened this past Labor Day should not be understood to necessarily indicate anything significant so far meaning that we have turned some sort of page in the event. I myself have witnessed many tragic occasions within contexts of partying, being free, festivals and such ‘go crazy’ events.

While the origination of post below appears oddly discordant with the leading topic of Burning Man, I think the reader will understand the analogy in the end (hopefully). Perhaps where my argument leads, I retread backwards, retrograde, to make the point more resonant.

*

The question on the table is:

Is there anywhere on the “alternate” spectrum where the meaning in The Bible will have been lost, disregarded, or denied?

This question comes up against my proposal of two routes, two orientations upon objects. In particular, I feel that the story of the Bible is about a few people who have had a significant experience who are attempting to communicate this experience to those  who are likewise having that experience, but also the Bible is the story about how people who have not had that experience deal with and make meaning of that communication. I present the explication and aspects of the situation in my book “The Moment of Decisive Significance“.

The implication is that not everyone has access to all information in the condition of potential; that the category of ‘human being’, while referring to a common sort, actual contains or upholds a definition that does not reflect the actual truth of the situation: This is not a statement upon the general ‘subjective experience’ of opinions and perspectives; the situation is not common, cannot be learned or taught through the banking model of education. but also similarly and most controversial, likewise cannot be conveyed through a critical method based in the ability of terms to convey definite and particular data-knowledge. The category “human being” does not convey a common truth across its condition; the condition whereby the category of human does communicate accrues a commonality we term (as a mark of reference) ‘reality’. In short: A knowledge may occur that one and more people may understand that cannot be conveyed to another persons (as a category group)  so that they also know, even while there may be some for whom such knowledge can be conveyed. This situation also contributes to a rebuttal of the fear based proposals that assert an eventual extinction of the human being in favor of Artificial Intelligence; that is, in order for there to be a (human made, computer type) Artificial Intelligence that occurs after the ‘human’ stage of existence, there first must have been an essential Being that is human. This approach brings into question the critical method as likewise involved in a common method by which intelligence is discerned, even while it does not critique that ability for human beings to create such effective, real and actual categories which extend in to and from the object in-itself. We are thus permitted to begin to formulate what exactly knowledge in-itself may be. Of course, though, we should see that this effort is not involved with ideal turns that might occur in one’s life time, but more with the science of being human.

1409008920999_wps_9_the_man_burns_during_the_

On a sidetone; as Jean-Francois Lyotard added a finality to the issue, one the situations that Alain Badiou deals with in his book “Being and Event” as logical proof, is the issue of communication.

*

In particular to the situation I present, we have the Bible: I do not propose that there might be all sorts of interpretations of the Bible, such an argument is near meaningless; of course there are a multitude of interpretations. My point is that there is exactly 2 routes upon objects; these routes are irreconcilable and neither is reducible to the other, which by this I mean that there is no logical segue between these routes. My suggestion is that the Bible tells of these two routes.

jesus_on_the_cross_04

Be as it may, for the question on the table, we will leave it as the possibility that there may be a number of true interpretations of the Bible, and so Dave is asking by that question if indeed there is a singular true message of the Bible that may be getting lost in all these various interpretations.

As an answer to this question I am giving an anecdote, a kind of parable that suggests a reasonable answer for his question.

hi-eavesdrop-852-istock-000-8col*
The latest Burning Man event. spawned a conversation between my wife and I. We were talking about how we both remember when burning man started, which was about 30 years ago. Personally I remember hearing about burning man but it was just another party in the desert; people on the West Coast we’re realizing that they could go out into the middle of the desert and have these crazy parties and do whatever they want.

My wife conveyed the story that she was sitting at a coffee place in San Francisco and it just so happened that she was overhearing a conversation between the man, or one of the people, who started it and some San Francisco magazine reporter who was doing a story on this Burning Man thing. She sat there dropping in on the conversation that was next to her. The man was conveying a kind of mixed feelings about what burning man had become already in about 1992 or 3; it was an “event” now out in the Nevada desert. The origin of the burning Man festival was really just a group of friends who would get together once a year on one of the beaches near San Francisco and they would hang out and the climax of which they would make a wicker figure in Burn it. The idea behind it was that they would get together and there would be no pretences just a space to kind of be free to do whatever you want and hang out.

Again this is just a paraphrase of what my wife told me and whatever actuality he may have been present for that moment or what the guy said may have been lost or altered over 25 years of memory.

For my part, I remember burning man in hearing of burning man and it was free, I mean it didn’t cost any money to attend, and it was cool because it was like crazy space, where everyone did whatever they wanted, like a big artist free space love-in. But then I remember distinctly,  I think it was around 1998, my roommate and his girlfriend were planning on going and they were talking about how it was $350 for the three days, and I remember thinking how ridiculous it was that they actually had to buy tickets for it.

My wife and I continued on our discussion and she even expressed to me how nowadays there is a “millionaires Row” (I don’t really know if this is true, but it sounds plausible just because rich people want to fuck around also, and they have lots of money to do it with), where people with tons of money go there and bring there like $5000 tents and all the modern luxurious accoutrements including servants and just hang out and have people wait on them in the middle of the desert at this burning Man festival thing. My wife and I, you see, are somewhat of idealists and from an outside view the Burning Man thing has become something that completely defies the spirit of what we always understood Burning Man was. What started as a group of people getting together to escape all the conventions of society has become another societal convention. My wife and I thought that if the people that are going to burning man are really going there to be free and express themselves and kick back and dance and do whatever, then why don’t they just go out in the desert with a bunch of friends and do that? Why are they paying $1000 $2000 for tickets to go out and stay in a desert where there is security that is hired etc.?

Anyways.

Thats the changing of the past thing. People who attend probably don’t know what the hell I am talking about. To my mind, if the Burning Man thing is what you want, I mean ‘the spirit’ of it (The site mantra caption is : “Welcome Home: A city in the desert. A culture of possibility. A network of dreamers and doers.”), first of all, I don’t know what a city has to do with it, and second, why not just get a bunch of friends and go out into the desert (Burning Man was not unique in its original idea), and third, it sounds like an empty creed that people ‘believe in’. But the Burning Man thing has grown beyond its origins and now is something different –has been something different since it moved to the desert.

Anyways again.

Thats just me. And don’t get me wrong: I can understand the lure of the huge festival thing even if we set aside the ‘free’ pretense; I just am not into it anymore. If I critique it, it is only because I am a crotchety old man now– LOL

Anyways again and again… back to the point.

If one looks at the origins of Christianity and how it developed, it is difficult not to be struck by not only the centuries that elapsed before we got certain dogmas that we now take as sacrosanct and obvious, but also the haziness of what actually occurred in that moment that we call “Jesus Christ”.

What we have evidence of with the Burning Man thing is what we could call “conceptual drift”. Less a conflation of memories that don’t quite get it right, it is more an actual moment of history. If it were merely some ‘memory distortion’ then people would not be paying crazy money to attend. The people who attend now believe it’s been the same event the whole time, albeit with empirical changes. Nevertheless, The Burning Man has changed its own past by virtue of the present it enacts. Just look at the site again: It is Disneyland for grown people who want to get high without being bothered. It has nothing to do with ‘free expression’; the “free expression” is already denied in the fact that it is coordinated, regulated and indeed is a commercial product for people to consume their ‘freedom’. It has become the exact opposite of the event that it was (except maybe the getting high part; why else would you run into the burning wicker man that is burning?) The ideal appears the same, but the actuality of the two events, the origin and what it is, are in actual practical terms, mutually exclusive. The ‘changing of the past’ occurs in the congregants of the event itself: They most likely will express little concern due to the fact that it is an event at which everyone gets to “be free”. It even rings eerily similar to the early discussion that argues the Christian context of freedom as the act or the thought: Do we want to be able to act as we want or think what we want? Even if I am caged in by an institution, maybe my ‘free thinking’ is what does it for me. 

holycouncilofnicea

Think about The Council of Nicaea, the meeting of early Christian leaders where they decided which books would be accepted as True to the Faith. Think about how much time elapsed and how many individual events occurred in the development of Christianity to arrive at this council. If we look at the first 300- hundred years around the Jesus Christ issue, we find that there was no one string of thought from Christ to now, but the opposite. We find that there was a number of competing ideas about what had occurred and that these has been streamlined, narrowed, reduced, and not necessarily by some obvious sensibility or course, but often, and arguably most noticeably by cunning and deceptive ploys of argument and manipulations of power. Of course, it is possible to conflate all this history into a significance of God’s unfolding plan, and this may indeed be the case, God’s plan may be unfolding as planned; but the significant question after we grant that possibility is: How does God break through the facade of history to have a personal relationship with people? How are we to determine which individuals have ascertained what the Truth of God’s Plan might be? How would we know who to listen to? It would seem to me that in order to discern such people, we would first have to believe that the council itself developed an outcome from an exclusive small group of divinely inspired and God chosen people, and that because of their decision, individuals there after have a language of the sort by which to determine who is indeed inspired by God’s True Plan as it then is a message to convey to others. The contradiction and basic supernatural and uncritical thinking that must go into this kind of faith, indeed serves to validate to those believers the truth of the religion, which then works to further centralize, consolidate  and radicalize True Believers to the message that inevitably comes true in one form or another, due to its self-fulfilling prophetic property that is and has been invested in the method of knowing God and Christ.

Is there a better description of how religions develop by negating the past that is informing belief of the present Truth? But keep in mind that I am not pointing this out as some sort of anti-religious argument, on the contrary; This is what occurs everywhere. It is a real operation that no (banking) move of discourse can alleviate.

Perhaps we have found something. The ideal behind Burning Man was freedom, free expression, and dismissal of societal norms. It developed into a social institution. Christ was first about freedom of spirit, and it has developed into a truth about the rules of how to be free.

Strangely enough, if we look at the evidence, it appears that if there is an essential Truth of any event or situation that is contained or promulgated through time, then I doubt that any institution has access to it or is able to convey it in its truth.

 

17 thoughts on “Burning Man and the Disappointment of Progress.

  1. The Council of Nicea , the meeting of early Christian leader where they decided which books would be accepted as True to the Faith. ??

    1. “This ecumenical council was the first effort to attain consensus in the Church through an assembly representing all of Christendom. Hosius of Corduba, who was probably one of the Papal legates, may have presided over its deliberations.[5][6]

      Its main accomplishments were settlement of the Christological issue of the divine nature of God the Son and his relationship to God the Father,[3] the construction of the first part of the Nicene Creed, establishing uniform observance of the date of Easter,[7] and promulgation of early canon law.[4][8]

      Yes ?

      1. No, I wouldn’t characterize the Council of Nicaea as “the meeting of early Christian leader where they decided which books would be accepted as True to the Faith.”

        Anyway, I suppose your more important point has to do with the institutionalization of a movement started by a man who “was first about freedom of spirit.”

      2. I’m not sure if I will be able to argue whether the council was God ordained or not.

        I think a main issue I have is between the “world history plan” and “personal relationship”. If there is a plan then I think everyone is part of it. Some appear like God is injecting his plan in them, like moving or nudging time or history in a particular way.

        Is there a possibility of it all going wrong? Of Gods plan not going as planned?

        I’d say No. there is no possibility that Gods pan will go any other way than God planned it.

        So where do I choose in this plan?

        And I do really want to know why, if God is moving every choice I make as part of his plan. Then how do I choose against it?

        Perhaps the difference between you and I is just that you care about being part of the Big plan. Honestly; I would like to be motivated to care about ‘winning’ but no one as yet has convinced me that being on the winning team is better that what I already got going with, what apparently must be, a different God that the One Christian God.

      3. The Council of Nicaea is generally seen as being significant for the way it dealt with conflict about Jesus’ identity, specifically addressing the teaching of Arius.

        ***

        It depends on what you mean when you say that everything is a part of God’s plan. I don’t think our lives are determined to the degree that you seem to see our lives determined. So, while there is a sense in which everything that happens is a part of God’s plan, I think it’s also true that God has given human beings real responsibility and a high degree of choice. . . .

        . . . . All of a sudden I’m seeing different comments showing up in different places, a link to something. . . . A little hard to manage.

        But. . . . You said that I have a big story, and you said, “I have the same going on with me.” (!)

        I don’t think that’s the case — you just told me it isn’t. In another comment, somewhere in our tangled threads, you just asked me what it means to me that you don’t see Christ in the way I do, or in a way that is consistent with The Bible.

        I don’t see how it’s possible — and I think this is at the heart of the matter — for us to be telling the same essential Big Story when you say that Jesus did not die physically and rise from the dead, and that it doesn’t matter if He did or not.

      4. In the creation account of Genesis 1, it says, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

        Something has gone profoundly wrong in God’s creation. But, God’s plan is to make creation new (from Revelation 21):

        “Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’

        “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’

        “He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.’”

      5. It might be. That if the Plan is going as planned, then human beings (the vulgar, not Christian ones) as a whole must get to a point where God and His world is most thoroughly debunked, where every argument that can be formulated for any proof or knowledge that has any relation to God having any truth whatsoever ever, must be found totally true. Then, it would seem, God Christ will return.

        Presently. We would be still in the ‘middle of the end times’ the period where people are still debating. God as a reasoning must be removed , so then Christ can come back

      6. http://thewaasblog.com/2017/09/13/trust-him-091217/

        Here is a blog I follow. Though I have done very little investigation into the author of this blog, it appears to me that he is coming from quite a compromised life situation. And that despite this hardship he has a certain faith and hope and his outlook in general is quite positive. If he is not Christian I feel that he has some sort of Christian like faith.

        No I’m not going to argue about or with this guy about whether or not Christ can save him or whether or not God is actually going to bring him into wealth and abundance. It seems to me that this might be what he actually believes but I am not going to engage with him as to why this might or might not be the case.

        The functioning of his faith is sufficient for me. His happiness and contentment is good enough; I do not feel compelled to tell him about whatever may be the truth of the matter. He could be Hindu or Islam or New Age 80s spiritual guy, I don’t really know.

        But I’m just giving you an actual tangible concrete occurring right at this moment example of a situation that I don’t need to intrude upon to assert what I think is true.

        And because of this fact there must be at least two truths. Because if there was only one underlying truth of the situation then I should have some ethical obligation to move into his life to tell him this “good news”.

        You may feel that you should and you may want to and that’s why I’m kind of giving you the link to his blog. Maybe you can help him. You may not want to but maybe you will. And maybe you guys have a similar such faith that you can help each other strengthening that faith that is ultimately true.

        It is not true and a relative sense; I am not patronizing you by saying that your faith is true; I am saying that your faith is true, with no qualifications, no hidden agenda except to be helpful and to promote a general human well-being hope and happiness. There is no underlying truth that I have that is somehow more true then what might be occurring for you or what might be occurring for this guy on the was blog, or what U2 might find if you actually begin to communicate.

      7. You asked me what God’s plan is. I sent you a short reply with my understanding of what God’s plan is.

        So, you respond with a link to someone else’s blog because I might feel like I should, and feel like I want to, tell him the good news.

        Shouldn’t you at least give this guy a heads-up and tell him something like, “I do not feel compelled to tell you about whatever may be the truth of the matter. I don’t know if you’re interested in the truth of the matter, and I suspect you don’t need to have such a conversation. But, I have a friend who might want to tell you about the truth of the matter. Can I connect you with him?”

        Is there anything you wanted to say about God’s plan?

      8. Sorry.The link didn’t have anything to do with our conversion at that moment.
        🙂
        No. I don’t know the guy. You could just follow his blog And put some comments if you wanted to.

    2. There is a wives tale of how the books of the Bible became The books of the Bible:

      They preists of the council went into the room where all the hundreds of scrolls that the various sects ascribed as valid had been brought. And they set them on end and left and waited for like 6 days and then came back in and the ones that were still standing were the ones they put together and called The Bible. 😜

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