Burning Man: More Relevant Than Ever Burning Man: More Relevant Than Ever
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Burning Man: More Relevant Than Ever

by Wylie Overstreet

September 14, 2012

Six hours ago, the sun was up and I was sober. It was dark now, and I was not sober. A middle-aged man with a waxed moustache, monocle, and bowler hat was standing in front of me, looking me in the eye. “You have an excellent hug,” he said, adding, “shall we do a shot?”

Earlier in the week my friend Ramsey and I had set up camp next to a nice older couple, Stacy and Bertrand. Within seconds of our arrival they beckoned us over for sangria. A man with a purple beard across the way shouted over that his bar would soon be built, along with his bowling lane, and we should come by for drinks. These were people with whom we’d never normally fraternize, but there we were, sipping sangria, learning about their lives. No one checked their cellphone in distraction—we were 30 miles from the nearest signal. Everyone was present and engaged. 

Properly executed, a Burning Man experience can shift the paradigm of what is important, even what makes a meaningful life. It will bring into sharp focus just how myopic we can be with our judgment of others, and it can profoundly alter one’s perspective of humanity’s potential. This is why, year after year, people of all ages from every walk of life make the trip, and it is also why, as our lives become increasingly atomized, Burning Man becomes increasingly relevant. 

Burners always speak of the post-partum melancholy that descends the day they arrive back to their quotidian lives. Friends and family will ask with cocked eyebrow, “so how was it?” to which they should simply reply, “come with me next year.”

Images courtesy of Wylie Overstreet

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Burning Man: More Relevant Than Ever