If Freedom Exists…

Posted by on Sep 5, 2010 in 2010, Choken Word, Featured, Philosophy, Truth


I was there last night.
I watched the burning man take flight.
Go up in fire and fall.

I watched the crowds and all.
The fireworks as the burners rejoiced.
Feeling the connectivity and one voice

Heard over the desert.
If freedom exists it is in the twist
Of the match that sparked the man.

Created him in the sand.
Thousands gather yearly for this tower.
Dancing and reflecting on life at his feet.

The Burning Man does not retreat.
With hands held high in the air
Pushes his body towards despair.

Like a virgin sacrifice he dies.
While birthing so many new lives.
As their sins are wiped away.

A new, New Years day has come.
In the middle of the desert for some.
Who prepare for this day with vigor.

To feel this energy with rigor.
And embrace their place
In this universe, in this space.

I watched as the man burned.
He sat on my laptop being streamed.
2000 miles away he gleamed.

I watched the sunrise this morning.
Felt connected to this new dawning.
Of an age where I am part of

Some invisible cosmic plan.
Feeling the burners are my friends.
Knowing deeply that I am one of them.


The Principles

Like George Orwell’s Animal Farm, there are ten principles around which Burning Man Festival is based.

Radical Inclusion: A veritable ‘celebration of the stranger’, anyone with a ticket is gladly welcomed. Forget stereotypes and prejudices – they don’t play a role here.

Gifting: Leave wallets at home because gifting is the economy of Burning Man. Remember, this is not an exchange – the giving of a gift is considered to be unconditional.

Decommodification: To preserve the spirit of giving and protect from the banes of consumption, no cash transactions are allowed. While there are one or two exceptions to this rule, it’s best to steer clear of dollars and cents.

Radical Self-reliance: Considering the event’s harsh environment, individuals must be prepared to rely on inner resources and be responsible for their own subsistence.

Radical Self-expression: Whether it be through artistic installations, community projects, radical outfits or nudity, participants are encouraged to express themselves and explore their unique talents in any number of ways.

Communal Effort: Cooperation and collaboration are key components, with all working together in their quest for artistic freedom.

Civic Responsibility: Burning Man values civil society, and encourages participants to act in accordance with federal, state and local laws.

Leaving No Trace: Come 7 September, there is to be ‘no trace’ left of Burning Man. In a demonstrated commitment to the environment, participants aim to leave Black Rock in a better state than it was when they came.

Participation: Radical participation is non-negotiable. Forget rocking up in jeans and a T-shirt, getting intimately involved in the artistic expression is a requirement for all.

Immediacy: Participants aim to be forever in the moment, overcoming barriers that stand between their everyday persona and the exploration of their inner souls. This is perhaps the most essential tenet of the Burning Man Festival.



  1. universaltron
    September 5, 2010

    I couldn’t be there but now I could at least watch it streaming. I watched the man burn last night at 1am EST and the sunrise this morning in Black Rock Desert 2000 miles away in bed with my laptop. I felt a connection to these people who seemed nearly ant-like on my monitor. To be there would have been magical I’m sure. Maybe in 2011 I can actually be there not only in spirit but in body as well.

  2. universaltron
    September 6, 2010

    i felt a bit depressed today realizing that i’ll probably never be able to go to Burning Man. My many obligations will most likely keep me away. Money is scarce. Time off is not happening. I have children to take care of and my health to be concerned with. I do wonder who is able to take off to these wild hedonistic events. maybe in another life I’ll be able to attend at least one of these. But in this life it will exist only as poetry.

  3. Akbar Lightning
    September 6, 2010

    logos and i are considering going next year…is it really that impossible to escape for a week?

  4. universaltron
    September 6, 2010

    yes, unfortunately it is. the only vacation we take is up to Johns Hopkins for doctor visits each year. i see all my friends and family going on vacations and i just don’t understand how they go through with it. i take vacations in my mind each day though so i feel pretty well traveled.

    by the way check this out….


  5. crystl37
    September 9, 2010

    Don’t feel bad Byron, I can’t ever get anywhere either anymore. I wonder sometimes where that place is in myself that I used to hit the road without thinking twice, I followed the dead for years, not worrying about money or where to stay, it always worked out, or it didnt, but obviously it didnt kill me. It is beyond me how I used to do it, I am like you, it seems impossible now.

    As for burning man, were I to pull off an actual vacation which did not involve a funeral or a wedding etc., it would definitely not be to camp in 100 degree heat in the dirt for a week. I don’t think there is enough drugs in the world to make me enjoy that experience at this point in my life. You probably wouldnt enjoy it too much either in all reality, or maybe you would, at least for the novelty. Dont be depressed about it, enjoy it vicariously from the comfort of home with out the sand in your shorts. And NEVER say NEVER!

  6. universaltron
    September 9, 2010

    Thanks Angie for sharing. I feel for you but I’m glad I’m not the only one who is seemingly trapped in one place unless there is a family funeral or medical appointment to go to. Following the Dead must have been amazing. That should be a chapter in your book you are going to write for sure.

    I think I would enjoy Burning Man though just by being a fly on the wall. I’d love to be an observer and soak it all in. But yeah the weather must always be horrible. I could make art for months after being there it would seem. I would think it would be such a creative inspiration.

    I’ve found it recently to accept some Nevers in my life. It seems to help with reality and when a never turns into something more I’m happily surprised.


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