Monday, June 8, 2020

The Scene That Became Cities: What Burning Man Philosophy can Teach Us About Building Better Communities, by Caveat Magister (Benjamin Wachs). North Atlantic Books, 2019

Burning Man has gone from two families on a beach to a huge annual gathering of artists, spiritual seekers, partiers, sex-positive groups, volunteers, and much, much more. I don’t think you could possibly call it any one thing; it contains multitudes. I wanted to know more about it, so when this book was offered, I grabbed at it.

Sadly, I was disappointed. I figured that anything about an event that sounds as fascinating as Burning Man does would be extremely interesting, but I didn’t find this book to be interesting at all. It was not totally uninteresting; I did learn some things, but I suspect that it’s one of those things that is hard to describe.

The philosophy of Burning Man could help us build better communities, where everyone can follow their passion- but they also have to help pick up the trash. It requires some really heavy volunteerism and participation. Which is really how I wish the world was run. But I suspect that the event has to be experienced, not described.  I had to force myself to finish the book.

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