Sunday, March 29, 2015

Modern Primitives and Burning Man

We continued to talking about modern primitives in class, and the more we touch on the subject, the less unusual or out-of-the-norm it becomes. Online sources describe modern primitives as people in developed nations who engage in body modification rituals and practices while making reference or homage to the rite of passage practices in primitive cultures. The people in this culture tend to have some practices that many find disapproving and are often judged or misinterpreted by what they do rather than by who they are.For example, when I first heard of suspensions (as a body modification practice) several years ago, I thought it was a horrific and painful practice that only brought immense pain and uncomfort, but after all the readings, videos, and discussions in class, I can look at it with a different perspective. I now see that suspensions, or any other practice done by modern primitives, can be as liberating and satisfying to some people as some practices that the majority would considered more common or usual such as meditating, working out, or even having sex can be to others. We touched upon the Burning Man festival, which from my perspective seems like an ideal place for modern primitives to show their real identity since absolutely everyone is welcomed to the event. I think the importance of rituals practiced at Burning Man, also known as the ten principles, shapes reasoning for having the event and who attempts to it. Although the event welcomes and encourages everyone to participate, we discussed in class that Burning Man tends to be more favorable for wealthy people. Even though the tickets can be a little expensive, they can still be affordable, but the fact that you must stay and live in the middle of the desert for a full week is probably what makes it more preferable for people with a stronger financial status since they’ll be able to bring adequate and sufficient supplies to last and enjoy the whole week. I have nothing against wealthy people having an advantage in attending the event, but I also think that it limits the attendance by a vast number and people who have much to offer and contribute (not materialistic) towards the event might not have the opportunity to do so. We also talked about the drug culture for a little bit, and after reading a few articles on drug consumption at Burning Man, I was actually surprised with the results. At large festivals you often expect the good majority of people to be under some sort of substance in order to “enjoy” the moment a little bit more. However, according to the articles I’ve read, not too many drugs, are consumed at Burning Man. One of the articles, Drugs At Burning Man?, even stated that Burning Man is possibly the best place to avoid drugs altogether. Another article, The Truth About Burning Man, quotes, “Coated in gypsum dust, and still high not on drugs but on the altered consciousness of radical creativity and community, I had just tried to describe what Burning Man is, somehow”. The articles describe the event and people (at the event) incredible and thus they do not find the need to consume drugs to enhance their experience. I do think some of what I’ve read from these blogs are true, but I also believe that the event is not completely drug free and you will be able to find certain people under the influence of some sort of substance, especially in today’s society where drugs are very common and encouraged.

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