The individual vs. the community... complementary or not?

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The individual vs. the community... complementary or not?

Post by fosho5 » Mon Oct 27, 2003 4:32 pm

I am still struggling with this issue of whether BM has changed for the worse, and whether it has lost personal meaning. One of the main themes/ complaints I hear other people voicing, (largely from discussion thread titled ‘Negativity Abounds at This Years Burning Man’), is the evolution of the participant body not only in numbers but in overall attitude. The title and topic make reference to a ‘negative energy’ that may be increasing in progressive years of the event. What is most perplexing to me about this topic and its responses, is a certain paradox or inherent contradiction that runs through it. It is a contradiction that acknowledges the crossing of individual and collective domains. People always talk about BM as an avenue of self-expression, a way of finding oneself, and a means of shedding the rest of the social bullshit they usually have to deal with. They often blame a negative experience on baggage they have personally carried into the event, and insist that only the individual attitude can make or break the experience. At the same time, the ideals of BM seem to be largely constructed around the concept of ‘community’. Many people seem to define their experience through the people they interacted with (both good and bad). I can see that BM clearly speaks to both these domains, and I suspect that this may be part of what makes the event so attractive and meaningful to many. It is true that one can fully realize their individual potential for contribution to a community. But it would seem to me that the two domains of individuality and community at BM are starting to butt heads. For this special event, is one more important than the other? Can or should one overpower the other? Can problems related to this apparent paradox account for feelings of negativity towards BM in its more recent years as it has grown? Does this make sense to anybody, or am i just rambling? Please reply...

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Post by Chai Guy » Mon Oct 27, 2003 4:56 pm

You're rambling.

It's puff, puff, pass!
Last edited by Chai Guy on Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by stuart » Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:03 pm

BM is changing, you are changing, BM is changing you. Imagine your change as a line. Imagine Bm change as a line. At one point, you and BM intersected in a way that was pleasurable for you. Depending on the two vectors, that coincidence can last a long time or a short time or it may never happen. Everything else is a matter of one man's perception. Enjoy your memories and move on.

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Post by Isotopia » Mon Oct 27, 2003 6:19 pm

I don't know if its quite as simple as that Stuart - although I'd sure as hell be the first to admit that your words certainly highlight a (possible) part of the equation.

I'm somewhat reticent to dive right into this conversation if only because i relaize that much of what I have to say is reinforced by many, many experiences on the playa so I don't want to come across as the salty "back in my day.." sort of crumudgeon(sp?).

I will say that I think part of my own more negative experinces as of late (2002, 2003) has something to do with the sheer number of people who come to the Burn as first timers that have this head full of ideas that first and foremost this BM gig is just about a big party.

I need to think on this one before it go wading into the mire that such a broad question might turn into. Still, I'm glad the question has been asked.

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Post by unjonharley » Mon Oct 27, 2003 7:04 pm

I don't know who I am. I have changed so manny times today, said Alice. Whom whom!! are, said the catapiller. And I say:"put the pipe down and back away". I'll be damned if I'd pay good money to go some where I didn't like.
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

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Post by Flux » Mon Oct 27, 2003 7:24 pm

unjonharley wrote:I'll be damned if I'd pay good money to go some where I didn't like.

Well, that certainly distills it down beautifully, unjonharley! Well said.

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Re: The individual vs. the community... complementary or not

Post by PetsUntilEaten » Tue Oct 28, 2003 12:30 am

fosho5 wrote:Please reply...

UM - we responded to your first thread.
to which you reply with nothing
but you add this new thread.
you come up with your personal quandry
then end with a sort of professor-like "please discuss".
how about you pitch in?

so now i'm thinking you're just a stupid troll who's added the gag of trying to sound earnest.

if you have a real point I'd love to hear it.

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Post by stuart » Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:59 am


in my experience it is the 'salty' ones who want me to believe that it is just a big party. I don't personally buy it. Still, I look forward to your ruminations. I suspect we are not much in disagreement.

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