Larry Harvey — American Celebrity

Larry Harvey is the main co-founder of the Burning Man festival, along with his friend Jerry James. What started in 1986 as a summer solstice evening ritual burning of their artistic creation of an effigy of a man with a group of just a dozen people at San Francisco's Baker Beach soon became an annual event that over 4 years grew to more than 800 people. In 1990, in collaboration with the SF Cacophony Society, the event moved to Labor Day weekend in the Black Rock Desert, where it has grown precipitously from a 3 day, 80 persons "zone trip," to an 8 day festival with over 50,000 participants... (wikipedia)

I grew up on a farm in Oregon, an adopted child, with one sibling, and parents the age of all my peers' grandparents. We lived in isolation from the people around us, and it was always a struggle to cope with as a child. The heart can really expire under those conditions. I always felt like I was looking at the world from the outside.
Well it seems to me, that all real communities grow out of a shared confrontation with survival. Communities are not produced by sentiment or mere goodwill. They grow out of a shared struggle. Our situation in the desert is an incubator for community.
They become the keepers of the mystery. They place themselves between the communicants of the religion, and the immediate experience. And then they dictate the terms on which you can have contact with this wonderful mystery. We don't dictate those terms.
I've learned never to expect people to be better than they are, but to always have faith that they can be more.
It avoids a self-conscious relationship to the act. We live in the most self-conscious society in the history of mankind. There are good things in that, but there are also terrible things. The worst of it is, that we find it hard to give ourselves to the cultural process.

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