Will Burningman become a religion?

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
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Will Burningman become a religion?

Post by Guest » Sun Oct 05, 2003 11:20 am

Does anyway feel the way I do that Burningman will become a religion in the future. Its all there; the spirituality, the idol, the gathering of the beleivers, the pilgramage to scared ground.

What does anyone else think?

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Isotopia
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Post by Isotopia » Sun Oct 05, 2003 11:25 am

I think if someone wants a religion they're gonna have to look somewhere else.

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Post by dragonflyannie » Sun Oct 05, 2003 11:49 am

I think it can be like a religion. Some people make it their lives and it holds a spiritually important place in their soul for them. What it means, or what we are worshiping is unclear, but, I think it can be compared to religion. For some, we don't go to church, or have a god, but Burning Man is as close to a spiritual following as we can get...
I suppose I'm speaking for myself here, but I have a feeling that others feel the same.

Kinetic

Post by Kinetic » Sun Oct 05, 2003 11:49 am

A way of life? Yes
A political movement? Yes (See Larry's Stage 3 and 4 plans for the event)
An ever more expensive desert odyssey? Yes

A religion? Imho, no. not without radical changes first. We are talking about BM, anything is possible. But I don't see it becoming one of the 73,000 +/- other religions in the world.

Even though my loyalties are to the Goddess Kali, on religion I try and keep an open mind....and I just can't see the event becoming religious. This year's "religious" theme was interesting but I think it's all part of a grand scheme that Larry has to get participants to question the world around them a bit more, and to push another side of the envelope out that people like to avoid. Religion makes some uncomfortable...and he decided to take advantage of that. It was too good of a theme to ignore!

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Post by Ivy » Sun Oct 05, 2003 12:09 pm

What's this "will"?

I think it already has.

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Post by antron » Sun Oct 05, 2003 12:34 pm

i agree with ivy.

i think the question is how long can it endure, and can it outlast its founder?

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Post by Angry Butterfly » Sun Oct 05, 2003 12:40 pm

I really want to chime in on this because I saw this lecture that really changed the way i veiwed the word "Religion" that specifily mentioned Burning Man. In many ways, Burning Man is ALREADY a religion. It is just that many people have a negitive view of the word 'religion' because they confuse religion with DOGMA. I thought it was hilarious the the porta potties were on "DOGMA", I laughed out loud every time I saw the street sign and the porta potties together! Did anybody else think that was funny?
I took the road less traveled, and now I would like to go back and find the paved one.

Kinetic

Post by Kinetic » Sun Oct 05, 2003 12:52 pm

Is that lecture available on line where others can take a look at it? I'm curious why everybody feels differently than I do.

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THE ORIGINAL DIGIMAN
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Post by THE ORIGINAL DIGIMAN » Sun Oct 05, 2003 1:02 pm

in order for burningman to become a religion as in all religions is a undefiable leader and extreemly naive followers. need not more will i say.

(politics is no diffrent.)
Last edited by THE ORIGINAL DIGIMAN on Sun Oct 05, 2003 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
http://pages.sbcglobal.net/edwardgevans/desktops/index.htm

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Post by Badger » Sun Oct 05, 2003 1:03 pm

Just looking at it in a general way I think if you sketch out the general tenets of what actually (or usually) constitutes a religion that Burning Man doesn't quite measure up. For instance, most religions subscibe to an idea or a belief in the existence of some spiritual power or powers, good or bad, superior to man and able to affect his present and future life. I'd argue that nothing in my experience on the playa indicates any belief or practice that comes anywhere near adhering to this particular tenet. There are indeed a few folks who come out and practice their particular faith while attending the event but to suggest that collectively all (or even a slight majority) buy into a single, particular idea or belief in what the event represents or what the Man stands for doesn't hold water.

Another tenet which is probably even more universal as far as defining a religion is the idea/belief that there is an afterlife of some sort, with happiness or misery often regarded as in some measure dependent upon conduct or upon the observance of certain rites here. Again, nowhere in my experience has such an idea in any way ever been injected or introduced into the event either by the organizers or any of the participants that I know of. I think its to the Hatted One's credit that he makes quite the effort to dismiss at almost every opportunity the idea that there is any meaning in the Man or that it represents or stands for anything other than what individuals attach to it. I might add that I don't think that's by accident.
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THE ORIGINAL DIGIMAN
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Post by THE ORIGINAL DIGIMAN » Sun Oct 05, 2003 1:09 pm

Badger wrote:Just looking at it in a general way I think if you sketch out the general tenets of what actually (or usually) constitutes a religion that Burning Man doesn't quite measure up. For instance, most religions subscibe to an idea or a belief in the existence of some spiritual power or powers, good or bad, superior to man and able to affect his present and future life.

here yee here yee!
http://pages.sbcglobal.net/edwardgevans/desktops/index.htm

Kinetic

Post by Kinetic » Sun Oct 05, 2003 1:24 pm

Sorry...this was a classic fucked up post, I removed it as all it did was quote Badger...which is not a bad thing as I totally agreed with him. I just love Sprint's screwed up internal networks! We can't even keep our network stable and yet we try to provide PCS service coast to coast.
Last edited by Kinetic on Sun Oct 05, 2003 4:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Angry Butterfly » Sun Oct 05, 2003 2:04 pm

(In answer to Kinetic's post, posting to the entire thered for anyone else who wants the link.)
I helped organize the conference, so i am on the mailing list, raw tape exists, but I dont think there is a tape availible for the public although there was a lot of discussion to that effect, so there will be either a tape or transcript eventualy. the link for the conference is http://www.assacon.com/
I will let you know when It becomes available, we will be doing the conference again next year, so you might want to keep an eye on this link and False Profit ( Who put on Monkey vs Robot at burning man) if this sort of thing interests you.
I took the road less traveled, and now I would like to go back and find the paved one.

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Post by Alpha » Sun Oct 05, 2003 2:55 pm

asscon? I must be missing some really great conventions....

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Post by Angry Butterfly » Sun Oct 05, 2003 3:57 pm

Ok, I know it is an extremely unfortunate acronym. Particularly in San Francisco. it stands for ALTERED STATES AND THE SPIRITUAL AWAKENING.

My dog is licking me toe.
I took the road less traveled, and now I would like to go back and find the paved one.

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Post by J » Sun Oct 05, 2003 4:13 pm

quite frankly anything can become a religion, if I spend my days and energy on the pursuit of chocolate, devote my every instance to chocolate. In effect I have made it an idol, my new God.

It's a poor analogy, I realise that. Anything has the potential to be a "religion" or at least a cult.

J
Please forget the words that I just blurted out
It wasn't me, it was my strange and creeping doubt

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Post by Ivy » Sun Oct 05, 2003 4:38 pm

From www.m-w.com:
Main Entry: re·li·gion
Pronunciation: ri-'li-j&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back -- more at RELY
Date: 13th century
1 a : the state of a religious <a nun in her 20th year of religion> b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
- re·li·gion·less adjective
I was thinking of #4.

Kinetic

Post by Kinetic » Sun Oct 05, 2003 4:54 pm

Hmmmm...that throws a monkey wrench into the mix for me. It would qualify under that description. It certainly gives me something to think about.

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Post by Raheer » Mon Oct 06, 2003 2:57 am

I am currently writing my dissertation on the United States Government's rubric for determining what is and is not a religion, and have noticed a serious problem with the rubric in question. In short, my dissertation proves that, although according to the rubric Wicca, Hinduism, and Shinto are not religions, the Chicago Cubs are. Now, I may be (and am!) a huge Cubs fan, but I see a rather massive problem with that!

Raheer

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Re: Will Burningman become a religion?

Post by joel the ornery » Mon Oct 06, 2003 3:08 am

chengwahkuo wrote:Does anyway feel the way I do that Burningman will become a religion in the future. Its all there; the spirituality, the idol, the gathering of the beleivers, the pilgramage to scared ground.

What does anyone else think?
I will pass on the kool-aid, Jim.

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Post by Isotopia » Mon Oct 06, 2003 8:21 am

In short, my dissertation proves that, although according to the rubric Wicca, Hinduism, and Shinto are not religions, the Chicago Cubs are. Now, I may be (and am!) a huge Cubs fan, but I see a rather massive problem with that!
If this is a joke then I'm laughing with you.

If you're serious then I'd be inclined to fail you or recuse myself were I your advisor.

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Post by blyslv » Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:29 am

Raheer wrote:I am currently writing my dissertation on the United States Government's rubric for determining what is and is not a religion, and have noticed a serious problem with the rubric in question. In short, my dissertation proves that, although according to the rubric Wicca, Hinduism, and Shinto are not religions, the Chicago Cubs are. Now, I may be (and am!) a huge Cubs fan, but I see a rather massive problem with that!

Raheer
That's why the Supreme Court does everything it can not to have to try and define a religious belief. Look at the contortions the govt. is going through trying to define and regulate the Native american churches that used banned substances as a sacrement.
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Post by blyslv » Mon Oct 06, 2003 10:55 am

“Religion” is especially tricky, because despite a concise dictionary definition, it still means many things to different people. I think of religion as a collection of rituals, observances and most importantly a worldview that is intended to help a person make sense of a chaotic and violent world. The world’s “great” religions sprang out of a desire to alleviate human suffering and to bring some sense to life. Faith is essential to religion, a belief in something greater then humanity. I’m not an historian or whatnot, but I posit that religions that survive more then several generations were created to deal with problems caused by human nature. Problems of lust, greed, anxiety and all those other unpleasant emotions that keep us from realizing “the better angels of our nature.”

I think of “burningman” as an invitation, and as something that extends far beyond a one-week bacchanal in the desert. Burningman can help with solving the problems of human nature, not by proscribing “right thought” or “right action” but by extending an invitation to create your own world and life. Many people, myself included, are intent on taking this lesson to other aspects of life beyond a weeklong event. And I think burningman, or at least a lot of the people who participate, are motivated by much the same. Look at one of the “creation myths” for the event – trying to get over a bad break-up – and how it was intended to alleviate the suffering of the Hatted One. It has evolved since then as a response to what many see as shortcomings in the capitalist democracy that America has become. These shortcomings are well described elsewhere – lack of community, lots of violence, environmental degradation, spiritual emptiness and emotional chaos.

There are some common elements shared by religion and burningman, but it doesn’t mean that burningman is a religion. Both are conscious attempts to channel human energy into creating what most people would think of as the common good. Both have pomp and circumstance, ritual and heresy, but at this point I don’t think “burningman” is a religion, for most of the reasons that Badger listed. And burners are a little like Groucho Marx, in that we’d never join a religion that would have us as a member. But wouldn’t it be interesting to speak with Jesus Christ and ask what his intent was when he preached, and to compare it with Constantine’s intent behind the creation of the catholic church? And while we’re at it wouldn’t it be fun to count the angels on a pinhead and burn at the stake those who disagreed with our answer?

I started this little essay pretty sure of what I thought. Now it’s all mushed up.
Fight for the fifth freedom!

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Post by Bob » Mon Oct 06, 2003 11:28 am

Yet another topic for the newbieplaya FAQ.

"Holy Mother of Dogma, Larry, this Burning Man thing sure quacks like a duck.

"What's your advice about preparing for the afterlife?"

"Leave no trace."
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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Post by antron » Mon Oct 06, 2003 3:52 pm

Angry Butterfly wrote: My dog is licking me toe.
it's nice when god licks you toe

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Post by dragonflyannie » Tue Oct 07, 2003 6:07 pm

I randomly stumbled upon this when looking for bm pics on websites...
thought it applied nicely to this thread:

http://www.unm.edu/~hockettj/New%20Reli ... vement.htm

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Apollonaris Zeus
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On no! Not another fucking religion!

Post by Apollonaris Zeus » Sat Dec 27, 2003 2:42 pm

!!!!!!!

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Silver
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More of a nationwide community

Post by Silver » Sat Dec 27, 2003 4:44 pm

More of a nationwide community to the point of being in some instances a synthetic family. I don't deny or belittle the spirtual overtones that are evident both at Burning Man and to a lesser extent the local/regional burns. I know several people in the local group who have been to BM and the local burns and who seem to have not had nor placed any particular emotional or spirtual signifiance to the experience. But the community that we have developed is a large part of their lives (mine as well). On Christmas about 20 of us got together for dinner; one toast was to friends and family, someone down the table from me said "To the family we choose". As I spend more and more time in the community that is what I see; community and family.

On a lighter side, one of the guys, generally when we are being roudy and attracting attention will say in a loud voice "Best damn cult I ever belonged to".

Oh and since no one else has posted it, the following explains the we are a bunch of pagans and possibly in cahoots with the Masons.

http://poweredbychrist.homestead.com/BurningMan.html

s
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Post by BlueBirdPoof » Mon Dec 29, 2003 1:14 pm

Angry Butterfly wrote:I thought it was hilarious the the porta potties were on "DOGMA", I laughed out loud every time I saw the street sign and the porta potties together! Did anybody else think that was funny?
Oh I had a great time telling people that "The shitters are on Dogma and the half hour.

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Post by drowned_saved » Mon Dec 29, 2003 4:50 pm

i don't know...
has anyone killed in the name of the ORG yet?

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