What is the meaning of Burning Man? According to Dr. Peter Jones of truthXchange it “seems to be impermanence (as the 70 foot “Man” being burned at the end of the week seems to suggest), a principle deeply entwined with Buddhism. Impermanence becomes for burners an annual reminder of the transience of life, the eternal return of Osiris.” The festival is supposed to be about “love, happiness, sharing, giving and appreciating.” But as Dr. Jones reveals, not everyone who attends is all that “loving.” In fact, some burners are vandals. He writes:
When his ship, The Beagle, docked in Southern Australia in 1831 on the way to the Galapagos Islands, Charles Darwin, one of the leading intellectual skeptics of his day, witnessed naked Aboriginal natives dancing themselves into delirium all night long. In his diary, Darwin wrote that he found this animistic display “a most rude, barbarous scene.”
Times have changed. This year 70,000 people have thronged to the annual countercultural Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert. Leading hi-tech worthies like Google founders Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and chairman Eric Schmidt, and Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, along with celebrity visitors like Katy Perry (31), socialite Paris Hilton (35), and British actress and model Cara Delevingne (24) now find such “rude, barbarous scene[s]” totally normal and perfectly cool. These contemporary definers of popular culture have thrown off even the outward standards of public decency dear to Charles Darwin. Burning Man sets the agenda for popular culture. In acts of shameless self-expression, they abandon all inhibition and wander around naked in the desert doing ecstasy and acid, visiting the anonymous-sex-orgy dome (open 24/7), joining in fire dancing, yoga, and meditation. No one is allowed a hint of judgmentalism.